Key Thinkers on Cities (Sage, Oxford)

KTOC book

A new addition to the Sage’s Key Thinkers range focuses on Cities and thinkers who are at the vanguard of contemporary scholarship that helps to shape our understanding of what city life is like. Key Thinkers on Cities presents the work of 40 innovative scholars who underscore the breadth and depth of urban research. These are writers whose ideas have sculpted how cities around the world are comprehended, researched, debated, and acted upon. Impressively, the book is not restricted to narrowly defined writers of ‘the urban’. The book contains fields as diverse as art, architecture, computer modelling, ethnography, public health, and post-colonial theory. In doing so, the book provides space for a group of thinkers who have started to shape knowledge of cities through these different disciplinary guises.  The range of 40 thinkers include; Ash Amin, Jason Corburn, Natalie Jeremijenko, Enrique Peñalosa, Jennifer Robinson, Karen C. Seto, Abdumaliq Simone, and Mariana Valverde. Key Thinkers on Cities foregrounds writers who have strived to engender a concern for the life of, and within, cities to a wider audience.

 

The book introduces a way to think about cities that provides a mapping of the current transdisciplinary field as well as disposition for the enquiry of all sorts of different cities. The authors have explained that “Key Thinkers on Cities is book that promises to be an essential text for anyone interested in the study of cities and urban life. It will be of use to those in the fields of anthropology, economics, geography, sociology and urban planning”. Key Thinkers on Cities is sure to be an essential tool in the urban scholar’s arsenal for many years to come.

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2010 Student Protests in London: photography and oral history

By Gareth Millington

A fascinating photo diary from the 2010 London student protests has recently been posted on the Pluto Press website https://www.plutobooks.com/blog/student-revolt-photo-diary/. The photos, all taken by Patrick O’Brien, depict remarkable scenes from a protest which is now being recognised as pivotal in the resurgence of the left in Britain. Demonstrations were organised to oppose the tripling of student tuition fees and cuts to Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA).

The photo diary appears as an accompaniment to a new oral history book on the protests, published by Pluto and written by Matt Myers, titled Student Revolt: Voices of the Austerity Movement https://www.plutobooks.com/9780745337340/student-revolt/. I’ve only just received my copy and haven’t had a chance to read the book in its entirety but I am very impressed with what I have read so far. One aspect that interests me is how some protestors viewed the events as a turning or starting point in their political lives. The protests were a Year Zero. For some it was about excitement of emerging from individual isolation and feeling like you were part of something new:

For me, Millbank was about collective power. I had never felt more empowered in my life. When you’re atomised and festering away in your room, thinking about things like climate change or capitalism, and suddenly you find yourself in a group of four thousand people all as angry as you are, taking genuine action, it’s seriously empowering. (Natalie, p. 41)

Others were ‘caught up’ by the times in an event that would have a deep impact on how they came to view their personal relation to politics,

It was a bit surreal as it was my first major protest. That’s the irony of it. The moment had no context for me, because nothing for me had happened before it […] I’d just landed there. Right place, right time, right way sort of thing. It was so profound, radicalising, unifying and formative. It was one of the most important experiences of my life. (Charlotte, p.51)

Some report how friends who had no real understanding of politics felt drawn to the protests because of a gut feeling of injustice that their EMA was to be withdrawn:

My sixth form friends weren’t heavily political. They were deprived people from very mixed areas. They didn’t understand it from the ‘left-right-centre’ political spectrum […] It was an anti-government and anti-police perspective: a street politics perspective. (Arnie, p. 43)

It makes you wonder if (and how) such a street politics developed developed in the years that followed. Were these sixth-form kids also drawn into the 2011 riots? In my view, the book is original and welcome for two main reasons. First, even though the students ostensibly ‘lost’ the battle—i.e. they didn’t manage to successfully halt the Coalition government’s plans to triple fees—Myers’ book does not inhabit that all-too-familiar register of leftish nostalgia or melancholy. Rather, as Myers explains (p.189), ‘[f]ollowing the French socialist Jean Jaurès, tradition should not be viewed as the worship of ashes, but as the preservation of fire’. And the book achieves this, without recourse to sentimentality. As such, it is the after-life of the protests, the radical germ that now gestates way beyond those individuals involved in November 2010, that may be seen as the true measure of their success. Second, and this is a related point, the book doesn’t treat the 2010 protest as a singular event with a neatly demarcated beginning and end. It strikes me that it is ludicrous to judge protests or uprisings in this way (both the Right and Left are susceptible to do this), ignoring the origins and legacy of events and measuring their impact in terms of whether they initiated decisive change within a limited time frame.

myers

Amin and Thrift’s Seeing Like a City reviewed at Society and Space

PHILOSOPHY IN A TIME OF ERROR

By Michele Lancione here. She writes:

Amin and Thrift’s contribution is an important one because it pushes urban scholars out of their comfort zones, even more so than their 2002 Cities did. Seeing Like a City invites the reader to tackle fundamental urban questions—of epistemology, economy, and marginality—from a radically new perspective: one attentive to the (un)makings of infrastructural life and its immanent potential. The book is not easily digested nor comfortable, but that is a small price to pay for a contribution that offers a rare opportunity to reimagine what urban studies and politics can and should be.

Source: SEEING LIKE A CITY BY ASH AMIN AND NIGEL THRIFT – Society & Space

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CFP: European Association of Urban History (Rome 2018)

Papers are invited for the session “Urban Gardening: a Historical Perspective, c. 1700 – 2000” of the European Association of Urban History’s conference, to be held in Rome between 29 August and 1 September 2018.

Recent interdisciplinary historical work on green spaces and food production in a number of different cities has shown that this is a rich and important area worthy of further investigation, not least because of the growing public and academic interest in urban gardening in the modern metropolis and the economically less developed societies of Europe. Today’s economically and culturally-driven urban horticulture has strong historical roots, as in the early modern kitchen gardens, 19th century market gardens of Paris, the vineyards of Vienna and the German Schrebergarten, for example.
This session will seek to compare developments in different kinds of European urban gardens and productive landscapes from the 18th century onwards and to identify ways in which they represent examples of the adaptation and resilience of individuals, associations, communities and municipalities to times of rapid urban expansion and population growth, social and economic change, crisis and hardship and the wartime disruption of food supplies, and concerns about health and food adulteration. To what extent was support for commercial and local enterprises, allotments and public and private gardens an effective strategy for increasing the resilience of urban communities to economic hardship and resource constraints, a means of guaranteeing food security and improving the general health of the population? What role did gardening in its various forms play in shaping and revitalizing urban landscapes and economies and maintaining urban-rural connections? Were there transnational influences at play? To what extent were present-day concerns about physical and mental health, the growth of leisure and tourism, sustainability, urban decay and expansion, and fears about the resilience of individuals and communities in the face of social and economic change and environmental and ecological crises foreshadowed in earlier developments?

Coordinators: Ivaylo Nachev (ivailon@abv.bg), Jill Steward (jill.steward8@gmail.com)

Please submit your paper proposal online to the EAUH2018 website: https://eauh2018.ccmgs.it/users/  

Deadline to submit an abstract is: 31 October, 2017.

Notification of paper acceptance: 1 December, 2017

Session webpage: https://eauh2018.ccmgs.it/users/index.php?pagename=cms&name=sessiontrack…

The Frontiers of Cormac McCarthy

Cormac McCarthy has been proclaimed as one of the greatest contemporary writers to herald from the United States and, also, as a writer that can be set historically alongside both John Williams (Butcher’s Crossing) and Oakley Hall (Warlock), in producing a pantheon of masterpieces addressing the borders, landscapes, and geographies of the American west. Such status could be conferred as much by Blood Meridian, marked by its twenty-fifth anniversary this year, as the novels that constitute The Border Trilogy including All the Pretty Horses, The Crossing, and Cities of the Plain.

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CFP Surveillance, Architecture and Control – Edited Collection

Call for papers; Surveillance, Architecture and Control

Call for Papers: Edited Collection
Surveillance, Architecture and Control: Discourses on Spatial Culture

As our current political and cultural climate elucidates, the modern world has become increasingly fascinated by surveillance systems. Popular television series’ such as Westworld and The Handmaid’s Tale speak of our fears of being controlled by those watching us, whilst remastered movies such as
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