The loss of cosmopolitanism

Olga Demetriou (University of Durham)
Julie Scott
Laurie Kain Hart, Costas Costantinou
Wills M
Start time:
19 September, 2006 at 11:30
Session slots:

Short abstract:

The workshop will discuss the past of cosmopolitan cities, and theorise the destruction and deconstruction of cosmopolitanism.

Long abstract:

Cities around the world, from the shores of the Mediterranean to the heartlands of empires, whether nodes of trade routes or centres of learning, have laid claim to a cosmopolitan identity. With the rise of nation states and the collapse of empires, this cosmopolitanism has become part of the cities' 'heritage', and relegated firmly to the past. The workshop seeks to explore the current manifestations of such cosmopolitan pasts: to ask what it means, to current city dwellers, to experience a city's claim to fame as loss. Papers are invited that seek to address the following questions in particular: 1. How are such cosmopolitan pasts to be theorised in light of recent work on cosmopolitanism as an effect of globalisation? *Are there definitive differences between past and present cosmopolitanisms? *Which features of cosmopolitanism are being evoked in discourses about the past of such cities? *How is the moment, or process, of destruction, articulated? *What is the political significance of such discourses? 2. What kind of power relations were involved in the experience of this cosmopolitanism? *In what ways might the concept of European-ness be involved in these relations? *And what kind of power relations are involved in its contemporary invocation and attempts at reconstruction? *To what extent are transience, permanency, change or loss, structuring features of discourses on cosmopolitanism? 3. What is there to be learned from the analysis of the past of cosmopolitan cities for thinking about cosmopolitanism in the post-9/11 world? Having considered these questions, the workshop will then discuss anthropology's intervention in academic discussions about cosmopolitanism and possibilities for future work.