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Culture, Space, & The City: Berlin/Prague/Vienna
Berlin, August/September 2000


"European Cities: Networks and Crossroads"
Fifth International Conference on Urban History, Berlin

Specialist Session:
"Culture, Space and the City: Simmel at the Crossroads of Modernity" 

Conveners: Dr Dorothy Rowe and Dr Janet Stewart 

Taking David Frisby's initial discussion of Georg Simmel's analysis of
social space, the city and modernity (Frisby, 1992) as its point of
departure, this session will explore the unique contribution made to a
cultural history of urban modernity during the Imperial era.  Simmel's
analysis of the metropolis doesn't focus on the city as the national
centre and place of political decision-making; instead, it is concerned
with the city as the place where a new kind of consciousness and a new
rhythm of 'sensual-intellectual life' emerged (Korff, 1987). The focal
point of a culture of things, Simmel viewed the metropolis as a vast nexus
in which both social networks and indefinite collectivities such as crowds
are located. In his formal, aesthetic and social analysis of urban
modernity, Simmel's aim was to reveal the forms of social interaction
characteristic of the metropolis. 

This session seeks proposals from papers that will focus on mapping
aspects of Simmel's thought onto wider cultural phenomena of the period,
exploring interactions between Simmel and the social networks through
which he circulated. The central European contexts of Berlin, Prague and
Vienna and the patterns of sociability located in the metropoles will be
considered as pivotal to the functioning of cross-cultural influences and
the dissemination of ideas in the late nineteenth and early twentieth

Proposals should reach both of the session chairs by 1st October 1999. For
further details please contact: 

Dr Dorothy Rowe 
Department of Art
Froebel College
Roehampton Institute London
Roehampton Lane
London SW15 5PJ
Tel: +44-(0)181 392 3388 or e-mail :


Dr Janet Stewart
Department of German
University of Aberdeen
Taylor Building
Aberdeen AB24 3UB
Tel: +44-(0)1224 272488 or e-mail: