Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages

Stanford University

October 26th and 27th, 2012

From philosophical musings on city-states to literature set in modern day ghettos, the idea of the city and one's place within it has always held a fascination. The relationship of individuals and communities to the "wilderness" - be it desert, forest, or jungle - is often described as the site of the abandoned origins and the outermost limits of urban civilization. This conference seeks to look more closely at individuals and cultures within these structures, as well as cultural mediation within and between the city and the jungle. Some of the questions we seek to answer are: How do humans, as both animals and philosophical beings, culturally navigate the urban jungle - as pioneers, flâneurs, naturalists, cyborgs? How do we understand mobility and movement within the urban jungle, be it physical, literary, cinematic, or theoretical?

We invite readings of cultural objects that emerge from these environments, or mediate between "the urban" and "the jungle." We seek presentations that explore the representation of urban/jungles through multiple forms of media (i.e. literature, film, the visual arts, television, and theater) and through a variety of approaches (literary or cultural studies, historiography, sociology, ethnology, philosophy, and anthropology).

We encourage scholars working in all time periods to consider the existence of the urban jungle in all epochs, from the pre-modern divide between wilderness and city-state in the Epic of Gilgamesh to the jungle of 16th-century Paris to the implications of current urban "Occupy" movements.

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Please email submissions to
by July 2nd, 2012