School of Architecture, Planning & Landscape

Event Item

A Zero-Hour City: London’s Terminalia, or Writing in the End Times

Ed Charlton, LSE

Date/Time: Wednesday 1 May 2.30pm - 3.30pm

Venue: Private Dining Room, Courtyard Restaurant, Old Library Building, Newcastle University

London has long been represented as a city at the edge of defeat. From apocalyptic fires to dystopian decay, it is a place often imagined on the precipice. But where the end looms is often where renewal finds its greatest appeal. This paper reflects, more specifically, then, on the present correlation between this end time imaginary and neoliberalism’s cancellation of the future. Offering up the zero-hour as a referent around which to theorise London’s end time development, I think about the depressive conditions that the gig economy delivers, while also gesturing towards the aesthetic interventions that the city’s melancholy or 'no future' tradition of writing might alternately enable.

Ed Charlton is a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow at LSE Cities. His current project is entitled ‘Metropolitan Melancholia: Articulating Loss in the Contemporary City’. Comparative in its ambitions, this project will examine key sites drawn from within the deracinated inner urban centre of present-day cities. He first joined the LSE in 2015 as a Mellon Fellow in Cities and the Humanities, before spending a year as a Lecturer in Postcolonial and World Literature at Queen Mary, University of London. He holds a PhD in English Literature from the University of Cambridge, which was funded by the AHRC, and an MA from King’s College, London. He is particularly interested in non-fictional modes of representation, negative affect, and postcolonial urban culture.