Going Around the Wire: A Review of Beilenson’s Tapping Into the Wire

It has been 10 years since David Simon’s “The Wire” premiered on HBO.  A product of Simon’s long-time partnership with Ed Burns, a retired Baltimore City homicide detective, “The Wire” presented Baltimore through the lens of police officers, drug dealers, troubled children, educators.  A Dickensian drama-from-below, Simon’s series grew more and more complex through its five seasons.  Actively working to challenge easy interpretations of Baltimore’s problems, Simon refused to indulge in the usual media reduction of urban life to pathologized caricatures.

Over those 10 years, some anthropologists began to include “The Wire” in their courses, presumably because they found it ethnographically interesting.  And it is, but not because it offers an empirical “window” onto the lives of Baltimore’s urban poor.  Instead, “The Wire” is interesting because it presents the complexities of white, middle-class perspectives on race and social class.  It lays bare the tortured contradictions, the logical inconsistencies of dominant theoretical perspectives, from the neo-liberal, rational choice theory used to interpret some of The Wire’s more larger-than-life drug-dealers, to the structural interpretations examining the inequalities of education in the city.  Ultimately, though, the series remains trapped in the puzzle-box of Continue reading

[new book] Imagining Global Amsterdam

Imagining Global Amsterdam
History, Culture, and Geography in a World City

Edited by Marco de Waard

Imagining Global Amsterdam brings together new essays on the image of Amsterdam as articulated in film, literature, art, and urban discourse, considered within the context of globalization and its impact on urban culture.

Subjects include: Amsterdam’s place in global cultural memory; expressions of global consciousness in Amsterdam in the ‘Golden Age’; articulations of Amsterdam as a tolerant, multicultural, and permissive ‘global village’; and globalization’s impact ‘on the ground’ through city branding, the cultural heritage industry, and cultural production in the city.

Written by an interdisciplinary team of scholars, and united by a broad humanities approach, this collection forms a multifaceted inquiry into the dynamic relationship between Amsterdam, globalization, and the urban imaginary.

For more information, see the attached press release or visit www.aup.nl

AUP Press Release – Imagining Global Amsterdam

 

 

Call for Mobility Studies Syllabi

This just in from Hiroki Shin on behalf of T2M:

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Dear Colleague,

The International Association for the History of Transport, Traffic and Mobility (T2M) is currently planning to incorporate in its website a list of course syllabi/syllabuses related to the history and general studies of mobility (in this round, English syllabi only). Our aim is to publicise the teaching of mobility studies, assist in improving the standard of such studies and facilitate its introduction to a wider range of academic institutions.

We would like to request you to kindly send us a copy of your mobility history/studies course syllabi, in the form of an email attachment (MS Word or PDF format) to Hiroki Shin (hiroki.shin[at]york[dot]ac[dot]uk), if you are currently giving such courses at an academic Continue reading

stillspotting nyc (from 2011)

Last week we asked you to submit questions for David van der Leer, the Guggenheim architecture and urban studies curator behind stillspotting nyc. The two-year project calls on architects, artists, and composers to create “stillspots” throughout the five boroughs, and this time around, legendary Estonian composer Arvo Pärt has collaborated with architecture firm Snøhetta, the designers of the museum pavilion at the World Trade Center site. The current edition of stillspotting nyc runs September 15–18 and 22-25.

How does a museum step out of its iconic building for experimental, off-site urban studies projects? Isn’t stillness the antithesis of the city? And why include an improv comedy group? Read Van der Leer’s response Continue reading

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From Gillian Rose’s blog.

visual/method/culture

Here’s some information from Rachel Jones about a conference called ‘Visual Urbanism: Perspectives on Contemporary Research’, which is the inaugural conference organised by the new International Association of Visual Urbanists (iAVU).

It’s on Monday, 8 October 2012 at the British Library Conference Centre in London; tickets cost £10 including lunch, and you book online here.

The event asks: what does the emerging field of visual urbanism look like today? What is the current status of the visual within urban research? The city is a dynamic entity and the ways in which researchers visualise the urban continue to emerge and evolve alongside the shifting metropolis. This is the inaugural event of the new International Association of Visual Urbanists and is aimed at arts practitioners and researchers from the humanities and social sciences who have an interest in visual urbanism.

This interdisciplinary event will explore how urbanists use visual practice to…

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citymovement

I have finished reading Worlds Away: New Suburban Landscape, an exhibition catalogue published by the Walker Arts Center in 2008 for the exhibition Worlds Away: New Suburban Landscape. I realise that I am 4 years behind in discussing the exhibition and catalogue but I started reading Worlds Away because, as much as I deny it, I currently live in the suburbs. I would like to preface that statement by saying the small city I live in is sub-urban to Vancouver but is quite different to the many suburban communities that surround us. However, one thing that I have experienced is that the perception of where I live is suburban and along with that comes many preconceptions both good and bad. However, I have observed two stereotypes that really do seem to prevail here: 1) everyone drives a car EVERYWHERE (even if it is a 5 minute walk and it will…

View original post 477 more words