Station to Station:
An International & Nomadic Conference
- 1-3 December 2011 –
International conference organized by the research groups
ILLE and CRESAT (UHA, Mulhouse)
and the international doctoral programme
Cultural Studies in Literary Interzones (coord. Bergamo,Italy).
Call for papers.
“Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my life, or whether that station
Will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.”
Charles Dickens, David Copperfield
Are we entirely ourselves or entirely somebody else as we take our seat on a
train or stroll into the station? Don’t these actions and environments produce
in us a feeling of artificiality brought about by the overconsumption of
worn-out romantic and modernist myths? These places, relatively tight and stable
spaces, tend to exist because they are out of time though would be senseless
without the speed and trajectories crossing through them and which carry them
along. Do they have a singular power over individual’s behaviour and
imagination? A short epistemological examination would doubtlessly permit
philosophers and historians to position—or question the positioning of—such
spaces in urban life. In more general terms, this is about considering the value
of witness, of urban trace, but also of studying the immaterial heritage they
help construct. Are the station, the wagon, and the train architectonic?
Leaving aside a little of the seriousness that weighs us down, be that in
currenthigh tech virtual
reality, David Bowie’s songs, or the pre-mechanical age (didn’t Milton say “The
planets in their station list'ning
stood.”? Paradise Lost, VII,
563), the station like the train is an invitation to decelerate. It becomes a
place of flux and transit, of memory and forgetting, point of flight from or
point of entry into the city, place of displacement—that of individuals,
merchandise, and populations—an archive, traces of our fleeting rages.
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