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Chemnitz Professor to Lead the ALUS

Prof. Dr. Cecile Sandten has been elected President of the Association for Literary Urban Studies

Cecile Sandten, Professor of English Literatures at Chemnitz University of Technology since 2008, has been elected President of the Association for Literary Urban Studies at this year's General Assembly on January 22, 2024. The new Vice President is Liam Lanigan, Associate Professor of British and European Literature at Governors State University, Chicago, USA.

Sandten has been a member of this relatively young literary association since 2021, serving on the Advisory Board from 2022 to 2024. As president, she aims to further the successful work of the association with a goal of even greater internationalization, while continuing to build on her own research interests, which are primarily centred around postcolonial studies with a particular emphasis on literary urban studies. Sandten has already written widely on this area, including the anthology “Die Stadt: Eine gebaute Lebensform zwischen Vergangenheit und Zukunft” published jointly with other colleagues in 2022. This particular research interest also encompasses her works on the topic of "palimpsestic spaces", which shares its name with one of the three research network initiatives at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, of which Sandten has been the spokesperson since 2019.

Background: Association for Literary Urban Studies

The Association for Literary Urban Studies (ALUS) currently has around 230 mainly international members. The association was founded in Helsinki in 2013 by Dr. Lieven Ameel, University Lecturer in Comparative Literature at Tampere University, Finland, in response to the growing interest in the topic of the city in literature. "The question of how urban characteristics are reflected in literary texts is by no means new," Sandten states, "but the idea of establishing a separate field of research from this, especially since the so-called 'spatial turn' is". "Lieven Ameel has had remarkable success in this field", says Sandten about her predecessor, who was also a guest at the conference "Making the City: Transformative Processes in (Post)Industrial Urban Spaces" organised by her at the Chemnitz University of Technology in 2023.

The aim of the Association for Literary Urban Studies is to provide an international and interdisciplinary platform for academics working on the topic of the city in literature. The ALUS promotes research approaches that examine city narratives in a broad understanding, including approaches that combine urban studies, cultural geography, urban planning, future studies, and other relevant fields with the examination of narratives of cities.  As such, ALUS supports interdisciplinary research on city narratives, including literature written in languages other than English and from all historical periods.

The Association for Literary Urban Studies organizes a symposium for its members twice a year and an international conference every two years, both of which can also be arranged as cooperative events with the respective organizing members. "The next international conference," Sandten happily announces "will take place from February 22 - 23, 2024 at the Department of Liberal Arts, Indian Institute of Technology Bhilai, on the theme of 'Experiencing Home Domestic Architecture in Urban Writing', for which I have been invited to deliver a keynote lecture. This is the first time that the ALUS conference will be held in India."

Sandten is also interested in collaborating with other international organizations to co-organize international seminars, conferences and events, as a representative of the ALUS. Membership is free, and scholars working on literary urban studies are welcome to join the association.

Contact: Prof. Dr. Cecile Sandten, e-mail cecile.sandten@phil.tu-chemnitz.de, telephone +49 (0)371 531-37353.

Further information on ALUS: https://alus.hypotheses.org/

Mario Steinebach

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