[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

 

 
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The New Ruralism [new book]

Henri Lefebvre did work in rural sociology before turning fully to urban matters (does the urban even exist ‘outside of’ the rural?)…

This new edited volume by Joan Ramon Resina and William R. Viestenz “The New Ruralism: An Epistemology of Transformed Space” seems to look at new stages in the dialectical relationship between the city and the country (mentioning Raymond Williams’ book by that title in its introduction) You can download the pdf of the introduction to The New Ruralism for free from the publisher’s site here.

Resina, Joan Ramon; Viestenz, William (eds.)
The New Ruralism: An Epistemology of Transformed Space.
Madrid / Frankfurt, 2012, Iberoamericana / Vervuert, 220 p., € 22.00
ISBN: 9788484896562
Presents new ways of understanding the old dichotomy city vs country in an effort to think through the epistemological and artistic implications of the modern antinomy’s demise, whereby the non-city ceases to be the city’s absolute other.

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I’m chairing Richard Sennett’s talk on his new book ‘Together’, Edinburgh Book Festival, Monday 13 August, 8.30pm. For tickets and further information, see http://www.edbookfest.co.uk/

For more on Sennett himself, go to: http://www.richardsennett.com/site/SENN/Templates/Home.aspx?pageid=1

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There’s a hint of opportunism about this volume, a collection of essays on capitalism and the city dating from 2008. It gives Occupy something to feed on, and arrives nicely for the one-year anniversary of Britain’s riots, and the Olympic Games. No matter: we need people like Harvey to articulate an alternative to the capitalist city and its tendency to turn it into a relentless parade. There is much to like here: a critical introduction to the relationship between ‘fictional’ capital and real estate development; some commentary on the Left’s anxieties about social organisation, especially the problem of ‘horizontality’ (p. 70); a fascinating encounter with the ‘rebel city’ of El Alto, near La Paz. Much alludes to Harvey’s gloomy but compelling work on Baltimore, in which that small American city comes to represent the destructive power of capital, and the emptiness of its attempts at economic revival. ‘Revitalisation’ so often…

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Review – World Film Locations (books and [ipad] app)

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I finally had time to check out the World Film Locations publishing project I’ve been meaning to explore for a while, actually I started by downloading the ‘World Film Locations’ app for the ipad, which is free, and which allowed me free access to view the ‘World Film Locations: Madrid’ – the other titles are available for purchase. (disclosure: published by Intellect, who is the publisher for the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies: more on that soon).

It was a bit different than I anticipated – which I think is a good thing – that is, I thought these would be standard academic articles, but it is much more of a visual catalog of film scenes featuring specific parts of the city (there are WFLocations volumes for a number of other cities: Berlin, Vienna, Las Vegas, Reykjavik, Melbourne, Istanbul, New York, London, of course Paris…).

There are brief readable descriptions/introductions with specific titles that sound like traditional academic articles on film (‘Iván Zulueta: Films of Madrid’s Underground’ by Steven Marsh, ‘Embracing Normalcy: Madrid Gay Cinema at the Turn of the New Millennium’ by Helio San Miguel, ‘Beyond the Cliché: Madrid in Twenty-first Century American Thrillers’ by John D. Sanderson, ‘Bright Young Things: Neo-existentialism in Madrid Cinema of the 1990s’ by Rafael Gómez Alonso), which cite interviews with film directors (Carlos Saura) and get further into film traditions, actors, directors, culture (La Movida) – but, importantly, with English translations (by Marsh for one, who is a name Hispanists will recognize; the editor of the volume is Lorenzo J. Torres Hortelano (of the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid), who has in addition assembled a team of former-student photographers to help complement the volume visually).

They concise vignettes are framed with a general map/plano of the city itself as an organizing principle showing where in the city each scene takes place, and still shots of the films under discussion. I have to say I was impressed with the range of films chosen and the depth of the discussion given the spatial limitations (the volume, in this case an e-book is a visually stunning 128 pages).

While reading through this one, it occurred to me that the book would serve as quite an advantageous model for teaching in particular, I might have (film-/Spanish-) students compose their own similar volume. Here is some praise from the series site:

Praise for World Film Locations: New York: ‘An elegant tribute to the films and locations that have given New York its private real estate in our minds. The contributors are so immediately readable and movie-savvy.’ – Roger Ebert

Praise for World Film Locations: Paris: ‘A superbly edited collection explores the most important movie city in the world’ – David Sterritt

Praise for World Film Locations: London: ‘A superb book, indispensable for any cinephile interested in London’s psychogeography. I could pore over it for hours.’ – Peter Bradshaw

new edited book: The Urban Wisdom of Jane Jacobs

The Urban wisdom of Jane Jacobs Cover

New Book Announcement:

The Urban Wisdom of Jane Jacobs (2012)–published by Routledge, edited by Sonia Hirt and Diane Zahm–will be commercially available on August 8. For a list of contributors and chapter titles, click here.

Resistance, Cooperation and Cities as Craft: More on Sennett’s Trilogy

So I’ve posted before on Richard Sennett’s series that begins with 2008’s The Craftsman, continues with 2011’s Together and will end, he says, with a book on the construction of cities that will follow from his earlier looks at craft and cooperation.I’m open, of course, to the criticism of his perspective I’ve heard that cities are in fact not crafts — but I want to highlight a useful metaphor he establishes in Together, pp. 208-12 in a brief section titled “Working with Resistance”:

“The third embodiment relates the artisan’s encounters with physical resistance to difficult social encounters. The artisan knows one big thing about dealing with resistance: not to fight against it, as though making war on knots in wood or heavy stone; the more effective way is to employ minimum force.” (208)

“Resistance arises, then, in physical matter itself and also in making sense of matter, the second kind of difficulty often spawned by better tools. In fighting against resistance we will become more focused on getting rid of the problem than on understanding what it is; by contrast, Continue reading