CFP-edited book on Marxism and Urban Culture

CFP-edited book on Marxism and Urban Culture

Submissions are invited for an edited book on Marxism and Urban Culture that has received initial interest from an international publisher known for their strength in Marxian-themed series and titles.

While all abstracts using a Marxian framework to approach culture in urban contexts are welcome, it is anticipated that submissions will conform to one of two subtypes reflecting the division of the book into Continue reading

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CFP–new Journal of Urban Cultural Studies launched

Visit the new Journal of Urban Cultural Studies site here.

Call for Papers

The Journal of Urban Cultural Studies is a new peer-reviewed publication cutting across both the humanities and the social sciences in order to better understand the culture(s) of cities. The journal is open to studies that deal with culture, urban spaces and forms of urbanized consciousness the world over.

Although we embrace a broad definition of urban cultural studies, we are particularly interested in submissions that give equal weight to: a) one or more aspects of urban studies (everyday life, built environment, architecture, city planning, identity formation, transportation…) and b) analysis of one or more specific forms of cultural/textual production (literature, film, graphic novels, music, art, graffiti, videogames, online or virtual space…) in relation to a given urban space or spaces.

Essays of 7,000-10,000 words (including works cited and notes) should be sent by attachment to the Editor at urbanculturalstudies@gmail.com. JUCS is also open to proposals of special issues by guest editors working individually or in teams of two. All citations in other languages should be translated into English for the journal’s international reading public, in addition to including the original text.

While the journal does not publish book reviews, we do publish review essays—which should discuss 3-5 recent books on a shared topic or theme (or place) and run from 2,500 to 4,000 words. Review essays of urban-themed installations or other works of art are also welcome. These essays will be reviewed in house. Given our visual focus, we are interested in original, unpublished artwork on the topic of cities and in publishing articles accompanied by images where appropriate.

We encourage a variety of approaches to the urban phenomenon—the strengths of the editorial board run from urban geography to literature and film, photography and videogames, gender and sexuality, creative economy, popular music, Marxist approaches, fashion, urban planning, anthropology, sociology, Deaf culture, built environment, philosophy, architecture, detective fiction and noir, and more…

Review of 2 Books on Urban Culture in China

In volume 3 issue 1 of Reviews in Cultural Theory, Joshua Neves has reviewed these two books:

Yomi Braester. Painting the City Red: Chinese Cinema and the Urban Contract. Duke University Press, 2010. 405 pp.

Robin Visser. Cities Surround the Countryside: Urban Aesthetics in Postsocialist China. Duke University Press, 2010. 362 pp.

Read the review in the original context here

and click here for youtube discussion by the authors of those books.

 

 

Encountering Urbanization

An estimated 65 Million apartments sit empty in Chinese cities while millions of China’s urban residents live in overcrowded, rented apartments.  The scale of  China’s housing overstock is like nothing ever seen before.

Many stories and reports have emerged in the past few weeks about China’s scary housing bubble after Moody’s downgraded China’s property sector from ‘stable’ to ‘negative.’  Although it is difficult to understand the scale of how empty parts of urban China really are without traveling there, I found this Australian documentary by Dateline to be particularly illuminating.  It provides an accurate idea of the scale of this massive development overstock by walking through a few ghost cities, malls and highrises. Boing Boing describes it below:

It’s symptomatic of the growing divide between China’s rich and poor, which has left many Chinese without adequate housing. Unlike the US bubble, the Chinese property bubble isn’t founded on cheap credit…

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Conference (Oct 2012)–XJTLU University in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, China

This just in:
International conference in XJTLU university in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province in China on 18/19 October 2012
It’s a dual ‘academic conference‘ and ‘public round-table debate‘ festival. See: www.masterplanningthefuture.org
The UK ambassador and the Irish consul will be opening the event and a full list of speakers is listed here:
The academic conference includes 75 participants from the following countries: Spain, France, Mexico, UK, US, Germany, Portugal, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Afghanistan, Egypt, China, Hawaii, Japan, Australia, India, Nepal and Ukraine.
The Architectural Review – the world’s oldest architecture magazine – is hosting the drinks reception. We are guest editing their September edition which is ALL about Chinese architecture.
_________________________________________________
Austin Williams
organiser, MasterplanningtheFuture.org
guest editor, Architectural Review
lecturer in architecture, XJTLU, Suzhou
author, The Lure of the City: From Slums to Suburbs

Lebbeus Woods: Architect of Spaces in Crisis

I first saw Lebbeus Woods’ science fiction inspired architectural drawings at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, PA. I was immediately drawn to his dystopian cityscapes overcome by buildings resembling machines and monsters. According to Woods, the spaces he designs are intentionally uncomfortable and aimed at disrupting bourgeoisie practices, “You can’t bring your old habits here. If you want to participate, you will have to reinvent yourself” (qtd in Ouroussoff, Nicolai. New York Times, August 2th, 2008). Primarily seen as an architect who is revolutionary but who ultimately designs the impossible, he theorizes places in crisis, re-designing buildings and structures such as the site of the former Berlin wall, war zones in Bosnia, and the Korean De-militarized zone. Described on his faculty webpage at The European Graduate School, Woods “holds the position that architecture and war are in a certain sense identical, and that architecture is inherently political. An explicitly political goal of his highly conceptual work is the instantiation of the conflict between past and future in shared spaces” (For his bio, click here).

It will be exciting to see one of Woods’ buildings leave the purely visual and be completed in real space. Set for completion in 2013 in Chengdu, China,  the structure that Woods, in collaboration with Christoph a. Kumpusch, designed is “a riot of angled steel beams housed in polycarbonate sleeves containing LEDs” (Fred Bernstein, Architectural Record. March 26, 2012). I love the disjunction of the word “riot” to describe what Woods envisioned as a sanctuary among the urban sprawl. Surely, its effect on the space and the experience of space will be interesting to follow. For more info click here.

Notes from Chinese Urban Cultural Studies

This just in from Robin Visser at the U of North Carolina, Chapel HIll:

As for upcoming events and resources in Chinese urban cultural studies I can tell you about the following:

Urban China listserv: URBAN-CHINA@jiscmail.ac.uk

Mar 30, 2012
Workshop on “Cosmology, Isomorphism, and Sustainability in Chinese Urban Forms” (organized by UNC-Chapel Hill for the China Triangle Forum): contact Stephanie Nelson, Carolina Asia Center, nelsonsc@email.unc.edu

Environmental Narratives and Urban Change in China
Piper Gaubatz, Professor of Geography, University of Massachusetts Amherst
“New Cities” and the “Virtual Rural” in Twenty-first Century China
Robin Visser, Associate Professor of Asian Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The “New Socialist Countryside”: A Case Study in Sichuan Province
Yan Song, Associate Professor of Urban Planning, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

May 11-12, 2012
Workshop (organized by Duke University) and Forthcoming Publication:
Development and Displacement: China and its Global Footprint, Carlos Rojas and Ralph Litzinger, eds.

Forthcoming Publication:
New book: The Chinese City
By Weiping Wu<http://www.routledge.com/books/search/author/weiping_wu/>, Piper Gaubatz<http://www.routledge.com/books/search/author/piper_gaubatz/>
To Be Published July 30th 2012 by Routledge
http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415575751/

China’s cities are home to 10 per cent of the world’s population today. They display unprecedented dynamism under the country’s surging economic power, and they challenge conventional urban theories and experiences of cities elsewhere. Their remarkable transformation builds on immense traditions, having lived through feudal dynasties, semi-colonialism, and socialist commands. Studying them offers a lens into both the complex character of the changing city and the Chinese economy, society, and environment.

This text is anchored in the spatial sciences to offer a comprehensive survey of the evolving urban landscape in China. It is divided into four parts with 13 chapters that can be read together or as stand alone material. Part I sets the context, describing the geographical setting, China’s historical urban system, and traditional urban forms. Part II covers the urban system since 1949, the rural-urban divide and migration, and interactions with the global economy. Part III outlines the specific sectors of urban development, including economic restructuring, social-spatial transformation, urban infrastructure, and urban land and housing. Finally, Part IV showcases urbanism through the lens of the urban environment, lifestyle and social change, and urban governance.

The Chinese City offers a critical understanding of China’s urbanization. This comprehensive book contains a wealth of up to date statistical information, case studies, and suggested further reading to demonstrate the diversity of urban life in China.