For the 2015 Annual Conference of City-Centric, we are offering a day of paper presentations, workshop discussions, art installations, and film screenings, with keynote lectures from Matthew Beaumont, Seb Franklin and Rita Chadha, covering areas relating to the theme of surveillance: on how we are surveilled, watched, witnessed, analysed and monitored, on the politics of mediation and digitization, on mass indiscriminate and illegal invasions of privacy, and on how surveillance is activated, normalised, resisted, affected and intersects with urban spatial practices.

DOWNLOAD THE PROGRAMME, HERE: City-Centric 2015 Programme


City-Centric’s Annual Symposium: Surveillance
13th July 2015

9:30 – 10:15: Registration

10:20 – Welcome from City-Centric co-convenors, Júlia Braga Neves                                    (KCL/HUB) and Penny Newell (KCL)

10:40 – Keynote: Dr. Matthew Beaumont (UCL)
Nightwalkers and Nightwatchers: Policing the Nocturnal City in the Middle
Ages and After

11:30 – Panel 1: Literature under Surveillance

  • Richard Maguire (Arcadia University) – Pink Greene:  The City and Homosexuality in the 1950s’ novels of Graham Greene
  • Penny Newell (KCL) – Fictional Form in Kafka’s The Trial
  • Júlia Braga Neves (KCL/HUB) – Panopticism and Domesticity in Sarah Waters’ Affinity

12:30 – Lunch
13:30 – Interruption: Rita Chadha (RAMFEL)
               Hyper surveillance, migration and the creation of the hostile environment

14:00 – Panel 2: Surveillance and Citizenship

  • Natália de Carli (University of Seville) and Zeno Leoni (KCL) – From stigmatization to gentrification: harnessing the right to the city in London
  • Matthew Richmond (KCL) – Double panopticism in Rio de Janeiro’s pacified favelas.

15:00 – Coffee + Artists’ Talk
16:00 – Keynote: Dr. Seb Franklin (KCL)
                The City as Medium

17:00 – Walking Tour

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

Matthew Beaumont (Department of English, UCL)

Matthew’s research interests currently centre on various aspects of the metropolitan city, especially at nighttime. His most recent book is Nightwalking: A Nocturnal History of London, Chaucer to Dickens (Verso, 2015), the first installment of an attempt to reconstruct a cultural history of the urban subject at night, from the Middle Ages to the present, in order to present an alternative to the modernist myth of the flâneur. This project, for which he was awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship in 2012-13, is linked both to Restless Cities, the collection of essays Matthew edited with Gregory Dart in 2010, and to the City Centre he set up in 2010. (UCL Urban Laboratory). He is also currently editing H.G. Wells’s The Invisible Man for Oxford World’s Classics; and beginning work on an edition of Walter Pater’s The Renaissance for OUP’s Collected Works of Walter Pater.

Seb Franklin (Digital Humanities/ Department of English, King’s College London)

Seb Franklin works on issues relating to the aesthetics and politics of the digital, with a particular focus on the ways in which digitality is represented and critiqued in literature, theory, film, and computational media.  His first monograph, titled Control: Digitality as Cultural Logic, is under contract with the MIT Press, and his writing on critical theory, literature, cybernetics, and media has appeared in CTheory, Cultural Politics, Textual Practice,Women’s Studies Quarterly, and World Picture. His research interests include: critical theory; contemporary literature; digital media; film theory; histories of science and technology, especially computation and cybernetics.

Rita Chadha (Chief Executive Officer, RAMFEL)

Rita Chadha was born in East London and has worked locally, nationally and internationally for a variety of community and voluntary organisations. Her work and practice has always been focused upon equality and cohesion issues, as well as campaigning for a vibrant and dynamic civil society. Rita was bought into RAMFEL in 2006 as interim Director to support a review of the organisation. Upon completion of a six month contract she was then appointed as Chief Executive and has since then sought to expand the organisation’s geographical remit. She is a leading voice on matters concerning social cohesion and London’s migrant population, having spoken at TEDxEastEnd on ‘The Olypmics and Cohesion.’

City-Centric is an interdisciplinary urban studies reading group based within the English Department at King’s College London. The group aims to gather together graduate students and staff from across a range of academic disciplines with a particular interest in the urban environment. The city is a space of encounter, distance, connection and absence: in the city, taxonomies of class, race, gender and sexuality, become challenged and affirmed by interplays involving human spatial practices and nonhuman things, buildings, places and spaces. The group is collaboratively run by Penny Newell (King’s College, London) and Júlia Braga Neves (King’s College, London/Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin). Please contact us for more information regarding the conference, or the City-Centric reading group. 


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