Returning from 2014 AAG

Just got back from Tampa, one of these years I will spend more than 1 full day and a half day at the AAG conference — too many interesting things going on to see in such a short time, particularly with a packed schedule of 10 presentations on Thursday including work by those from language and literature fields, architecture, history, sociology as well as geography (in two linked sessions: “Urban Cultural Studies 1: Geography and the Humanities” and “Urban Cultural Studies 2: The Culture(s) of Cities”). Looking forward to next time, perhaps 2015 in Chicago.

Thanks for all who attended the sessions for your interest, if you dropped by, remember that the first issue of the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies is available for free here (some presentations delivered reflect articles published in issue 1.1, some of the other presentations reflect work that will appear in the second issue, and still others were new faces that we were happy to hear from about their original and intriguing work –unfortunately the second issue won’t include free content, but have your library subscribe to the print or online format of the journal through Intellect).

Also note that on this very blog you can find podcast interviews with at least three of the presenters from the sessions (also available on itunes). Just follow the menu bar to listen.

H+U+D: Humanities, Urbanism, and Design Project

Originally posted on PennWIC:

H+U+D The School of Arts and Sciences, PennDesign, and the Penn Institute of Urban Research are putting forth a joint call for research proposals for the 2014-2015 academic year. The Mellon Humanities, Urbanism, and Design (H+U+D) Project is aimed at interdisciplinary design/humanities projects at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The maximum award is $2000 per proposal to be spent on travel, archival charges, and photography. The project is made possible through the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for a five-year collaborative initiative at Penn called Fulfilling and Liveable Cities: Design, Urban Life and the Humanities, as described in an Almanac article from last year. Project proposals are due by April 14, 2014, and can be submitted according to instructions on the CURF website
Fulfilling and Livable Cities: Design, Urban Life and the Humanities – See more at:

The H+U+D Project provides a rich opportunity for students…

View original 78 more words

L’abstraction géographique de Mondrian / Mondrian’s geographic abstraction

Originally posted on (e)space & fiction:


New York City I (1942). Mondrian. Paris, musée national d’Art moderne – Centre Georges Pompidou.

Piet Mondrian (1872-1944), pioneer of abstract painting, is not in theory an artist inclined to evoke real places in his works. Since 1913 and the discovery of cubism in Paris, Mondrian has made it a goal to find out a visual language for reporting the abstract reality behind the natural one and looking for the essence beyond the material and visible world (Wikipedia). This language is based on geometric rectangular shapes in primary colors crossed by black lines. His paintings have abstract titles like Composition with red, yellow and blue or Composition No. 7. After he fled from Europe to New York in 1940, he incorporated in the titles of his new pictures many real place names: New York City, Trafalgar Square, Place de la Concorde, Broadway Boogie-Woogie. Is…

View original 2,914 more words

“Getting intimate” online

Originally posted on The Wallace Post:

By Sharon Cornelissen

Most of our urban public interactions with strangers are not particularly intimate, except perhaps when being pressed way-too-intimately against anonymous bodies in the subway during rush hours. Even then we try to maximize personal space such as through the unspoken rule of maintaining distance when picking seats on transit. We also like to play with our phones, which helps us to avoid catching the eyes of others. This seems to have replaced the role that newspapers once played.


Online we relate to strangers quite differently. Consider the popular blog Humans of New York, which has over 2 million followers on Facebook alone. The blog is a collection of snapshots of urban strangers, accompanied by a short personal story or wisdom shared by the individual portrayed. Below is an example of a picture posted on January 9, 2014:


“What was the saddest moment of your life?”


View original 564 more words

Locating the Moving Image

Originally posted on Art & Cartography:

9780253011053_med The book entitled “ Locating the Moving Image: New Approaches to Film and Place ” edited by Julia Hallam and Les Roberts has just been released. It includes 11 chapters exploring the relationships between films and places through maps from a variety of perspectives. This truly interdisciplinary project provides an extensive overview of the ways scholars in film studies, geography, cartography, history, and communication studies have mapped films.

Topics include cinematic practices in rural and urban communities, development of cinema by amateur filmmakers, and use of GIS in mapping the spatial development of film production and cinema going as social practices.

View original

Introducing the blog for the new Deaf space project – and a first BSL post.

Originally posted on MIKE GULLIVER:

As you’ll know if you read this blog, I’ve recently been appointed Research Assistant (which is a slightly demeaning way of saying that I’m the main researcher!) on a three year project to research the spaces produced for Deaf people by the 19th century Church, and the spaces produced  by  Deaf people within that same Church.

That project now has a blog – at

Catchy address isn’t it? Well, the ‘sdds’ bit is ‘Scripture, Dissent, Deaf Space’ – and then the bit is the home for blogs at the University of Bristol, and somewhere where I can get technical support.

Just visit and bookmark it, and you won’t have to worry about it again. I’ll get a ‘follow’ tool up there as soon as I work out how.

Until then, I’ll post here when I update it, and you can always follow me on Twitter @mikegulliver where I’ll be…

View original 82 more words

URBAN QUESTIONS: Personal and Political Interrogations

Originally posted on Pluto Press - Independent Progressive Publishing:

By Andy Merrifield

‘In 1977, when Manuel Castells’ classic book, The Urban Question, was first put into English, I’d been a year out of secondary school, in The New Urban QuestionLiverpool. It was five years after its original French publication, four years since an OPEC oil embargo had sent advanced economies into giddy noise dives, and a year on from the Sex Pistols’ debut hit, Anarchy in the UK. These were heady times, the 1970s, full of crises and chaos, a post-1968 era of psychological alienation and economic annihilation, of Punk Rock and Disco, of Blue Mondays and Saturday Night Fever. The decade was also a great testing ground for a book bearing the subtitle, A Marxist Approach. Indeed, the same year as The Urban Question: A Marxist Approach became available to Anglophone audiences, the Sex Pistols were screaming, “THERE’S NO FUTURE, NO FUTURE FOR YOU AND ME!”


View original 3,458 more words

Mobilities in Conjunction with Universities

Originally posted on Global Cultures:

I attended a conference at the University of Alberta in Edmonton this past weekend after being invited to present by the Sociology Graduate Students Association.  The conference was Mobilities: Ruptures, Flows, Intersections with Dr. Michael Burawoy as the keynote speaker on the first evening.  Burawoy’s discussion on the “University in Crisis” analyzes third wave marketization (also known as neoliberalism) from working through The Great Transformation (1944) by Karl Polanyi.  Burawoy makes connections with fictious commodities, stating that knowledge is subject to commodification, so knowledge is now appropriated for the private.  He discusses four global (and local) crises: budgetary (selling knowledge produced); governance (corporatization, rankings, audit culture, etc.); identity (tension between producing work to tackle local problems versus global); and, legitimization (how the university is seen from outside and the value of a degree). 

I found Burawoy’s talk to be relevant to discussions about university culture, as well as my own…

View original 480 more words

New Plan Aims to Balance Urbanization of Land and People

Originally posted on A Layover in Wuhan:


On Sunday, China released a 31-point plan mapping out the next six years of the nation’s urban development. Between now and 2020, the government will take steps to modernize agriculture and transform into a consumer driven, service-based and environmentally friendly economy, all while ameliorating the various social and economic gaps between urban and rural, and coastal and inland that have widened since Deng Xiaoping opened the country to free market activity in 1978. China will also superintend the urbanization of an additional 100 million migrants into cities, while granting urban status to 100 million of 234 million total people who currently live in cities but can’t access basic services.

Social and economic imbalances featured prominently in the plan issued on Sunday. The document stated that while China’s urbanization rate has risen to 53%—lower still than nations with comparable per capita income levels—only about 36% are legal urban residents, meaning that…

View original 844 more words

The art of parkour: misuse of The Monument

Originally posted on iQ Magazine:

Misuse of The Monument: The art of parkour and the discursive limits of a disciplinary architecture
By. Matthew D. Lamb
From. Journal of Urban Cultural Studies 1.1

IQ Overview

Parkour is an art form that does not conform to social expectations. In the eyes of a traceur (a parkour practitioner) stairs, walls and rooftops are not physical boundaries but instead they offer options to the individual – options for an alternative way to travel through an urban landscape.

In Lamb’s article, he explores the misuse of public space and asks whether parkour can be a practice of empowerment that challenges spatial expectations of use.

Parkour is ‘almost exclusively an urban practice’ (Mould 2009: 739). It is a seamless, free-flowing and improvised movement that offers a new way to move through an environment. Lamb compares the movement to the flow of water, ‘as water adapts and flows so too does the…

View original 717 more words