Archiving the City/ The City as Archive

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Registration is now open for this event in the UK, co-organised by Gareth Millington (University of York) who is also an assistant editor of JUCS:

Archiving the City/ The City as Archive

Thursday 16 March 2017, University of York, UK 10.00am-6.00pm

Confirmed keynote speakers: Sharon Macdonald (Humboldt), Paul Jones (Liverpool), Rebecca Madgin (Glasgow) and Graeme Gilloch (Lancaster).

This event, hosted by the Centre for Modern Studies and supported by the Department of History and Department of Sociology at University of York, considers the cultural forms through which the modern city is archived. It critically examines the different ways—via institutions, public art, collective practice, and more—in which urban history and memory are organised and presented in contemporary culture. It also engages with how the spaces and architecture of the city may themselves present as an archive, offering up reminders of social and cultural processes, imaginaries, struggles and events.

The symposium engages with Henri Lefebvre’s (2014) argument that the reign of the city is ending; that the city now only exists as an image and an idea. In addition, the importance of heritage in gentrification processes and the museification of the historic urban core reveals, at least in part, the sense of loss through which that the modern metropolis is remembered. This connects more broadly with Derrida’s (1996) notion of ‘archive fever’, which, he understands, is part of a compulsive, repetitive culture; a ‘homesickness’ born of a ‘nostalgic desire to return to the origin’ (ibid: 167). Through keynote speakers and panels the symposium will explore perspectives that make links between contemporary archiving processes, city museums, visual culture, heritage urbanism, ‘authenticity’ and the cultural regeneration of historic urban spaces.

Registration costs £10.00. You can book your place here: http://store.york.ac.uk/product-catalogue/centre-for-modern-studies/conferences
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‘Urban society is the battle ground for new forms of radical and progressive politics: it has to be’: Andy Merrifield on fifty years of the right to the city

Andy Merrifield is one of most cogent and absorbing writers on the French sociologist and philosopher Henri Lefebvre. I have fond memories of reading his chapter on Lefebvre in the excellent collection of essays on Marxist thinkers on the city that Merrifield published in 2002, MetroMarxism.51c1w4lefel__sx335_bo1204203200_

I was coming towards the end of my PhD thesis at the time–in which I’d drawn upon Lefebvre a great deal–but I was still unsure whether my interpretation was ‘correct’ or whether it had any place at all in a thesis about racism on the periphery of the city and how some of the answers to overcoming this lie in urban space itself. Andy’s chapter provided the reassurance I needed. He is that kind of writer.

Just a few days ago Andy published another excellent piece on Lefebvre, this time celebrating (and commiserating) the 50th anniversary of the publishing of Right to the City. It’s an insightful and hopeful read in these worrying times and you can find it here:

https://andymerrifield.org/2017/01/22/fifty-years-on-the-right-to-the-city/

Another new JUCS assistant editor: Introducing Gareth Millington

Hello, I’m Gareth Millington, another of the new assistant editors on Journal of Urban Cultural Studies. I’m a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at University of York, UK. An urban sociologist ‘by trade’, I’m a member of CURB, University of York’s Centre for Urban Research and I also co-convene a research stream with David Huyssen in the University’s Centre for Modern Studies called Archiving the City.

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My work thus far has focused on ‘race’, racism, migration and urbanization. This culminated in my 2011 book ‘Race’, Culture and the Right to the City (Palgrave Macmillan). I have also written about urban protest and resistance, notably papers on the 2011 London riots (see ‘I Found the Truth in Foot Locker’ in Antipode last year) and a paper on resistance to territorial stigmatisation in a Parisian banlieue (co-authored with David Garbin and published in Urban Studies in 2012).

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My theoretical inspirations have tended to be authors such as Henri Lefebvre, Marshall Berman, Iris Marion Young and Paul Gilroy although more recently I have engaged considerably with the work of Jacques Rancière on the relationship between politics and aesthetics. (A short article on Berman, titled Right to the City (if you want it) was published in JUCS in 2015.)

In recent work I have attempted to examine some of the neglected cultural dimensions of so-called ‘planetary urbanization’. A paper from 2016 (published in IJURR) considers the clash of city images found at a recent L.S. Lowry exhibition at Tate Britain. My most recent book, published late in 2016, is the most significant product of this work. Titled Urbanization and the Migrant in British Cinema: Spectres of the City, the book closely examines the urban ‘content’ of a series of independent films made about migration during the late 1990s and early 2000s, arguing that together they comprise an incipient aesthetics of expansive urbanization; a mondialising aesthetic that differs radically from and counters that of the ‘classic’ mid-century metropolitan way of seeing the city.

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My current projects include a study of urban aesthetics in interior design magazines during the ‘long’ pre-Crash decade of 1997-2008 (using a cultural political economy approach) and a revisit of the territorial stigma study in La Courneuve, Paris with David Garbin, taking into consideration recent developments such as urban renewal, increased Islamophobia and the resurgence of Le Pen’s far right.

Anyway, that’s a quick-ish introduction. More from me soon!