Christian v. Wissel
What is it about?
The world is turning urban, and every day, both in everyday life and through the media, we experience the breadth and depth of the changes this transformation brings with it and will continue to do so in future – climate change and migration, the loss of biodiversity or the handling of social pluralisation... In several respects, these and other major issues of our time are essentially also urban issues.
It is with this in mind that the conference Latin American Urban Research in Dialogue invites scholars to exchange views on the potential of Latin American urban research to contribute with its concepts, theories and/or methods to an urban knowledge production that is both sensitive to place and local context while all the same speaking to issues of shared international relevance. In other words, the conference aims to expound on an urban theory that is rooted in “ordinary” Latin American urban experiences while speaking to global concerns (cf. Robinson 2006, Robinson and Roy 2016).
Two assumptions underlie the conception of the conference. Firstly, urban theory is still primarily, and often unreflectedly, based on a store of European and American urban experiences. Despite a growing concern with truly global theory formation, ‘theory’ is still conceived largely on the basis of the framework conditions applying to the global North, while the global South is merely allowed to provide examples of urban ‘problem situations’ and their ‘development’ (according to models of the North) (cf. Robinson 2002).
Secondly, in many ways Latin American urban research offers manifold points of reference for developing significant contributions to international theory building in the field of urban studies. The history of urbanisation in Latin America can serve in a variety of ways to build bridges of understanding or, via its concepts, promote clarity in the dialogue surrounding comparative urban research (for an anthology that points in this direction see e.g. Huffschmid and Wildner 2013). Unfortunately, however, much of this Latin American urban knowledge production receives only little attention outside the region.
Accordingly, this two-day international conference to be held on October 19th/20th, 2020, at the School of Architecture Bremen (HSB) seeks contributions to the following questions:
(a) What can we learn globally from Latin American everyday urban experiences?
(b) What are the concepts, theories and/or models that are, or can be, developed from these experiences (and/or what methods are particular responsive to their study)?
Here, special focus lies on, but is not limited to, the following sub-themes:
a. Informality, informalisation and its critiques
b. Dwelling as urban practice / cities and citizenship
c. Public space, commons and new collectivities
d. Territory, landscape and process
e. The state, local institutions and urban governance
(c) How have these concepts/approaches/etc. been received internationally in recent years with regard to the development of an ‘ordinary’ and at the same time ‘global’ urban theory?
Who are we looking for?
We are looking for renown and early career scholars as well as postgraduate students of Latin American and cultural studies, urban anthropology, sociology and history, urban/human geography as well as spatial planning and architecture (and the histories thereof) who are interested in contributing to this dialogical encounter on global urban knowledge production from experiences made in Latin American cities.
Confirmed speakers/participants include: Angela Giglia (UAM-I Mexico City), Ann Varley (UCL London) and Kathrin Wildner (HCU Hamburg).
In order to emphasise conversation and discussion among participants we envision a conference that reaches also beyond traditional, long-paper focused panels. Therefore, we wish to include alternative, dynamic, and innovative forms of presentation (e.g. roundtables, workshop formats, visual engagements etc.).
The conference will be held in English, yet we emphasise the importance to reflect on the transformation of concepts when translated from one language into another. Participants who want to present in Spanish or German are therefore encouraged to do so and to contact us in order to find individual solutions regarding translation.
Some travel funding will be available for attendees based on need and availability of other funding. The conference proceedings will be published.
Thanks to the support by the Fritz-Thyssen-Foundation we are happy to be able to offer free childcare to all participants for the duration of the conference. If you wish to take advantage of this, please contact us in advance.
Please apply with an abstract (and suggested presentation mode) of 300-500 words before April 15th, 2020,
Robinson, Jennifer: Ordinary Cities: Between Modernity and Development, London: Routledge 2006.
Robinson, Jennifer and Ananya Roy: ‘Global Urbanisms and the Nature of Urban Theory’, IJURR 40/1
(2016), pp. 181-186.
Robinson, Jennifer: ‘Global and World Cities: A View from off the Map’,IJURR 26/3 (2002), S. 531-54.
Huffschmid, Anne and Kathrin Wildner (Eds.): Stadtforschung aus Lateinamerika. Neue urbane Szenarien: Öffentlichkeit, Territorialität, Imaginarios, Bielefeld: transcript 2013.