Calls for Papers : « LIVING TRAUMAS: PREDICAMENTS OF [POST]-DISASTER RECONSTRUCTION ». THE MIT ELECTRONIC JOURNAL FOR MIDDLE EAST STUDIES (MIT-EJMES). Deadline : MAY 30th, 2005.
archives , Archives.
The MIT Electronic Journal for Middle East Studies (MIT-EJMES) is seeking
papers addressing questions of post-war, post conflict reconstruction
in urban settings. The connection between cities and disaster is fast
becoming a prolific theme in development and planning discourse today.
Whether in a war context like Iraq or Palestine today, a post civil war
context like Lebanon or Bosnia or in the aftermath of terror attacks
like New York, Casablanca or Madrid the work of imagination, planning,
and intervention tries to confront the particular vulnerabilities that rip
through each of these cities. This process, generally labeled as one of
reconstruction, impacts and reshapes the relationship between urban forms,
market economies, collective memories, communal identities and political
programs and is in turn reshaped by them.
This special issue of MIT-EJMES aims to examine the theoretical and
practical discourse around post-war reconstruction and development
from a comparative perspective with a special focus on the Middle East
and Africa. Some of the questions that we would like to raise include
themes such as what idea of the city is implicit in reconstruction? Can
a post-war/post disaster situation be a source for a new interpretative
framework of city making and urban life? Do some cities have a
predilection for internal disasters? What is the role of memory and agency
in post-war/disaster reconstruction? Have changes in the scale of domestic
disasters such as the September 11th attacks in New York transformed
our understandings of the city and our concepts of reconstruction?
This issue will be focused on two specific themes:
RECONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT
The management of war and post war contexts is often geared towards the
continuation or resumption of normal life. Seldom do we ask, what does it
mean for social life to continue or resume and how do we identify these
resumptions? What notions of temporality are involved in this before
and after? What does it mean to try to build the city "as it really was"
as happened in post WWII Warsaw and what kind of ideas are reflected
in these initiatives? How does the intersection between the violence
of development and the violence of war reconstitute urban lives and
fabrics? What cultures of planning undergrid post-disaster building?
Who are the stakeholders involved in this process and what are the ideas
informing various approaches to reconstruction programs as in Iraq and
Sudan today for example?
RECONSTRUCTION AND IDENTITY
In a post war context, the city has to be thought anew - what is important
in this process is who thinks? Who acts? Who still speaks for whom?
However this thinking process also has to consider the intangible aspects
of living in a city, that is the ways in which the city is constituted
through the memories of its inhabitants and the role of those memories
in asserting diverse rights to the city both material and ephemeral.
In other words, when does reconstruction imply forgetfulness with respect
to the disaster that befell it or, alternatively, its absorption into
the imaginary of the city either physically or through fiction and film?
In the process what is the impact of large scale urban development
projects undertaken in the name of reconstruction on the reconfiguration
of cities and identities?
Please mail an abstract of 300-500 words by
If selected, final papers will be due
OCTOBER 15, 2005.