Urban Spaces, Creative Places: A Blueprint for the Humanities in the City

February 14 & 15, 2020

Marquette University

Call for Papers:

“For our philosophic artists differ at once from all others in being unwilling to start work on an individual or a city, until they are given, or have made themselves, a clean canvas.” –Plato, Republic

As both physical place and ideal concept, the city has provided a space for thinkers from every age and culture to explore vital questions of human existence. The city was a key political unit in classical philosophy; particular cities are holy places for many religions; and cities have been key characters in the dramas of ancient and contemporary history. Cities are dynamic, dialogic places, meeting-places and axes of change. They are inherently creative, sources of inspiration for the artists that live in them, as well as canvases on which those artists—working in words and images, but also in laws and institutions—imagine their worlds.

To celebrate the unique relationship of the city to humanistic work, Marquette University’s Center for the Advancement of the Humanities invites presentations that explore any aspect of the city through a humanities lens. We consider the definition of “city” very broadly, and welcome submissions that consider everything from specific cities (e.g. Milwaukee, Chicago) to the polis or community as a concept. We also consider the “humanities” broadly, and welcome submissions both from affiliates of traditional humanities disciplines (e.g. Philosophy, History) and from those in other fields whose work engages humanistic questions.

The conference’s confirmed keynotes reflect the wide-ranging nature of its topic and the conference itself: Chad Bauman, Executive Director of Milwaukee’s Repertory Theater, and Dr. Amy Lippert, scholar of 19th-century American history.

Creative as well as traditional scholarly presentations are encouraged. This includes the presentation of creative work (e.g. fiction, film) as well as non-traditional panel formats (e.g. “flash” panels, working groups). Individual presentations should be no longer than 15 minutes, while panel proposals should be no longer than 1 hour.

Submissions are encouraged from faculty of all ranks, graduate students, undergraduate students, and other members of the campus community. The Center for the Advancement of the Humanities celebrates the fact that compelling humanistic work is done not just by faculty members at a university, but by the rich community of thinkers in and around it.


Please send proposals of approx. 500 words (for individual presentations and/or panel presentations) to CFAHConference1920@marquette.edu no later than:

  • November 15, 2019 (deadline extended!) for faculty, staff, and graduate students
  • December 15, 2019 for undergraduate students

Please forward any questions to brittany.pladek@marquette.edu or jeffrey.coleman@marquette.edu.