Books and the City
Maastricht University and Van Eyck Academie
22–24 June 2016

Call for Papers closed on the 1st of March. Full programme is available now.

This symposium aims to investigate the relationships between books and urban city spaces. Cities are complex networks that exist in a constant state of transformation. More than just the built environment of the metropolis, cities are constituted through a range of cultural, geographic, social, political and economic dynamics. Drawing together a range of interdisciplinary perspectives, the symposium seeks to investigate the ways in which these aspects of the city have been articulated by books: their production, distribution and collection.

Books and the City poses a number of questions: How has the city been represented in literature, travel guides, artists’ books, newspapers, prints, graphic novels or zines? How has the book been used to reflect, challenge or produce urban identities? To what extent is the book implicated in strategies of mapping, defining borders and city limits or articulating boundaries between the urban and suburban? What role have books played in constructing narratives about the history, memory or future transformations of the city? How do book collections, publishers and systems of distribution relate to notions of civic identity? How might the materiality of books and their preservation reveal the structures or concerns of city spaces and their communities? Papers exploring these questions and others are invited from artists, academics and professionals working across periods and geographies.

The symposium will be organized around sessions on:
– Book history
– Artists’ books
– Representations of the city
– Travel
– Urban centers (London, Paris, etc.)
– Conceptions of space and time
– Books and city networks
– Circulation of books and reading practices in the city
These session themes are suggestions and are not an exhaustive list.

The Books and the City symposium coincides with the Netherlands 2016 Year of the Book.

Abstracts of 300 words (max) along with a short bio should be submitted to, or by 1 March 2016. Panel proposals will also be considered.