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"Urban Representation in Popular Media
of Western Europe and China"

Conference May 24-25, 2024
University of Cologne

Since the 1970s, urbanscapes in the world have experienced significant changes brought on by neo-liberalism and globalization. The impact of these has also been significantly inflected by the technological revolutions of the digital age. Many writers, filmmakers, and artists have paid attention to the critical social issues brought by the changes, including mass migration, wealth disparity, environmental crisis, as well as data privacy and security concerns in urban space. Changes in urbanscapes around the world have been reflected, represented, and reconciled in the popular media culture, especially in the past few years of shifting geopolitics and the global public health crisis. More and more, cities are being transformed into spaces that encapsulate collective memory and trauma, sites for resistance and defiance. Once social backdrops for art, urbanscapes are increasingly the foreground for cultural productions.

During this two day conference, we invite scholars to examine new approaches and challenges in the field of urban studies, media studies and philosophy, drawing on comparative perspectives of China and Western Europe, this conference will spark discussions and thoughts on key critical questions. How is urban imagery being articulated, negotiated, and reconfigured amid rapidly changing geopolitics? What roles do states, commerce and technology play behind the scenes of cultural phenomena and social activism that give a new meaning to urban representations in popular media?

We will invite speakers representing an array of disciplines, including Sinophone literature and cultural studies, film and media studies, urban studies, philosophy, from the P.R.C., Hong Kong SAR, Germany, U.K, and the U.S. Invited speakers and participants will delve into the topics, including cities and trauma, memory, technology and precarity in media culture. In addition to the panel presentations, there will be a roundtable discussion and one workshop with graduate students.