[new book] Digital Cities: The Interdisciplinary Future of the Urban Geo-Humanities (2015)

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A mid-length Palgrave Pivot book being released here.

‘Making a strong case for interdisciplinary layering as a way to represent the many layers – physical, social, aesthetic – of the city, Fraser’s visionary book is as much a meditation on the future of the digital humanities itself as it is on the city as an object of humanistic inquiry. He cogently charts a course for how humanists will employ thick mapping as a way to practice the digital humanities.’ [–David J. Staley, Associate Professor of History and Adjunct Associate Professor of Design, Director of the Goldberg Center at The Ohio State University, USA]

Digital Cities stakes claim to an interdisciplinary terrain where the humanities and social sciences combine with digital methods. Part I: Layers of the Interdisciplinary City converts a century of urban thinking into concise insights destined for digital application. Part II: Disciplinary/Digital Debates and the Urban Phenomenon delves into the bumpy history and uneven present landscape of interdisciplinary collaboration as they relate to digital urban projects. Part III: Toward a Theory of Digital Cities harnesses Henri Lefebvre’s capacious urban thinking and articulation of urban ‘levels’ to showcase where ‘deep maps’ and ‘thick mapping’ might take us. Benjamin Fraser argues that while disciplinary frictions still condition the potential of digital projects, the nature of the urban phenomenon pushes us toward an interdisciplinary and digital future where the primacy of cities is assured.

Introduction

PART I: LAYERS OF THE INTERDISCIPLINARY CITY
1. What is the City?
2. Art and the Urban Experience

PART II: DISCIPLINARY/DIGITAL DEBATES AND THE URBAN PHENOMENON
3. The Humanities, the Social Sciences and the Digital Sciences
4. What is Urban Totality?

PART III: TOWARD A THEORY OF DIGITAL CITIES
5. What are Digital Cities?
6. Thick Mapping as Urban Metaphor

Epilogue: Bridged Cities (A Calvino-esque Tale)

Map of notable squatted social centers and houses in Europe

Squatted houses in the European Union.

 Link to zoomable Map of Squatted social centers.

This map comes courtesy of the  Squatting Europe Kollective, an international interdisciplinary research collective that seeks to “produce reliable and fine-grained knowledge” on squatting throughout the European Union. Their work–including the recent volumes Squatting in Europe: Radical Spaces, Urban Struggles (Minor Compositions: 2013) and The Squatters’ Movement in Europe: Commons and Autonomy as Alternatives to Capitalism (Pluto: 2014)–offer useful resources for scholars and activists “seeking to understand the issues associated with squats and social centres across the European Union.” The link contains a map that can users can use to search major cities or zoom in on specific locations.

[new book] Toward an Urban Cultural Studies: Henri Lefebvre and the Humanities [April 2015]

Fraser_Toward_9781137498557_EB_Cover.inddThe cover for Toward an Urban Cultural Studies: Henri Lefebvre and the Humanities, the first of many new books in Palgrave’s new HISPANIC URBAN STUDIES book series, edited by B. Fraser and S. Larson.

[click here to pre-order on Amazon]

Toward an Urban Cultural Studies is a call for a new interdisciplinary area of research and teaching. Blending Urban Studies and Cultural Studies, this book grounds readers in the extensive theory of the prolific French philosopher Henri Lefebvre. Appropriate for both beginners and specialists, the first half of this book builds from a general introduction to Lefebvre and his methodological contribution toward a focus on the concept of urban alienation and his underexplored theory of the work of art. The second half merges Lefebvrian urban thought with literary studies, film studies and popular music studies, successively, before turning to the videogame and the digital humanities.

The Cinema of Urban Crisis [new book]

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The Cinema of Urban Crisis

Seventies Film and the Reinvention of the City

By Lawrence Webb (University of Sussex)

In the 1970s, cities across the United States and Western Europe faced a deep social and political crisis that challenged established principles of planning, economics and urban theory. At the same time, film industries experienced a parallel process of transition, the effects of which rippled through the aesthetic and narrative form of the decade’s cinema. The Cinema of Urban Crisis traces a new path through the cinematic legacy of the 1970s by drawing together these intertwined histories of urban and cultural change. Bringing issues of space and place to the fore, the book unpacks the geographical and spatial dynamics of film movements from the New Hollywood to the New German Cinema, showing how the crisis of the seventies and the emerging ‘postindustrial’ economy brought film and the city together in new configurations.

Chapters cover a range of cities on both sides of the Atlantic, from New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco to London, Paris and Berlin. Integrating analysis of film industries and production practices with detailed considerations of individual texts, the book offers strikingly original close analyses of a wide range of films, from New Hollywood (The Conversation, The King of Marvin Gardens, Rocky) to European art cinema (Alice in the Cities, The Passenger, Tout va Bien) and popular international genres such as the political thriller and the crime film. Focusing on the aesthetic and representational strategies of these films, the book argues that the decade’s cinema engaged with – and helped to shape – the passage from the ‘urban crisis’ of the late sixties to the neoliberal ‘urban renaissance’ of the early eighties. Splicing ideas from film studies with urban geography and architectural history, the book offers a fresh perspective on a rich period of film history and opens up new directions for critical engagement between film and urban studies.

Read more at Amsterdam University Press here.

Introducing ORBIS

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ORBIS: The Stanford Geospatial Network Model of the Roman World reconstructs the time cost and financial expense associated with a wide range of different types of travel in antiquity. The model is based on a simplified version of the giant network of cities, roads, rivers and sea lanes that framed movement across the Roman Empire. It broadly reflects conditions around 200 CE but also covers a few sites and roads created in late antiquity.

The model consists of 632 sites, most of them urban settlements but also including important promontories and mountain passes,and covers close to 10 million square kilometers (~4 million square miles) of terrestrial and maritime space. 301 sites serve as sea ports. The baseline road network encompasses 84,631 kilometers (52,587 miles) of road or desert tracks, complemented by 28,272 kilometers (17,567 miles) of navigable rivers and Continue reading

Memory and Spatiality in Postmillennial Spanish Narrative

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Departing from an interdisciplinary basis of the history and sociology of Spanish space and memory, Lorraine Ryan examines the narrative representation of the relationship between the preservation of a prohibited Republican memory of the Spanish Civil War and Franco Dictatorship, the transformations of Spanish public space, and the violation of domestic space during the period, 1931-2005 in seven texts of the Spanish memory boom. The interrelationship between Republican subalternity and space is redefined by the writers under study as tense and constantly in flux, undermined by its inexorable relationality, which leads to subjects endeavouring to instill into space their own values. The influence of gender, class, and generational status on the subjects’ experience of space is also examined. A secondary theme of this monograph is the motivation underlying this coterie of authors’ commitment to the issue of historical memory. My typology of non-participatory generations defines the principal characteristics of the three generations who have narrativised memory in the noughties. Contesting postmemory as the dominant explanatory framework, my analysis reveals a diverse spectrum of motivation, ranging from identity differentiation and the reclamation of a gendered historical memory to the counteraction of the increasing politicisation of the memory boom.

Table of Contents
Introduction
• Cultural Memory in Contemporary Spain.
• Authorial Motivation
• Memory and Spatiality: Theoretical Framework.
• Memory and Spatiality in Spain: A History.
Chapter One: Degenerative Rurality, Fertility, and Post-Transitional Justice in Dulce Chacón´s Cielos de barro.
Chapter Two: The City and the Body in Ángeles López’s Martina, la rosa número trece.
Chapter Three: The Nullification of Domestic Space in Alberto Méndez’s ‘Los girasoles ciegos.’
Chapter Four: Spatial Assimilation and the Corruption of the Child in Emili Teixidor´s Pan Negro.
Chapter Five: A Resistant Barcelona: Postmemorial Work and Hidden Transcripts in Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s La Sombra del Viento.
Chapter Six: Rurality and the Second Space in Bernardo Atxaga´s El hijo del acordeonista.
Chapter Seven: Rememory, Hybridity, and In-Between Space in José María Merino’s La Sima.
Conclusion
Authorial Motivation.
Memory and Spatiality.

UCS 011 Schifani on Junk, Sprawl and Horizontal Networks in Buenos Aires

UCS 011 Schifani on Junk, Sprawl and Horizontal Networks in Buenos Aires (24 Nov. 2014)

Conversational interview inspired by scholar Allison Schifani’s article “Alternative Sprawls, Junkcities: Buenos Aires Libre and Horizontal Urban Epistemologies,” published in the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies (1.3, 2014). Based on interviews and research conducted in Buenos Aires in 2012, topics include political activism, the links between technology, society and urban sprawl and design, Buenos Aires Libre (BAL), Once Libre, the urban theory of Certeau and the junk-labor of the recyclable materials collectors known as the cartoneros. [LINK TO ORIGINAL PUBLISHER]