Mittwoch, 12. Februar 2014

Call for Papers: Workshop at the Georg-Simmel Center "Current developments in critical urban studies"

Call for Papers & Expressions of Interest: Current Developments in Critical Urban Studies

Two-Day Workshop, 10 & 11 July, 2014 

Georg Simmel Center for Metropolitan Research, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Contemporary urban studies are increasingly influenced by new ideas from disciplines such as ethnography, sociology or architectural studies; several current spinoff fields such as cultural studies, new cultural geography, and critical urban studies have made it their goal to address these developments synergistically.
The inclusion of new methodology as well as conceptual and theoretical background from other fields has widened the field of classic approaches to the city in a remarkable way. Newer methods such as discourse analysis, actor-network-theory, or milieu-studies have raised critical thoughts about current developments in cities, especially in the global North. This focus has also now begun to extend to areas and regions yet unparsed by the sometimes narrow lenses of western academia and its methods. Indeed, new theories of “the urban” are seen as critically necessary to overcome our reified and, in some cases, outdated paradigms about and approaches to the city (Brenner & Schmid, 2012, 2013; Parnell & Robinson, 2012; Robinson, 2002, 2005, 2013; Roy, 2009, 2011).
This two-day workshop seeks therefore to explore and showcase new ways of understanding and approaching the contemporary city by critically addressing a wider discussion of its methods and concepts. Our intention is to shed light on the research process and how methodology and theory shape the ‘look’ at the city, and additionally to explore suggestions to overcoming or developing existing and new paradigms. This workshop brings together theories, methods, and scholars of diverse fields to incite a fruitful debate about this often neglected aspect of urban studies, and promote the transdisciplinary development of new urban thought. In this light, we invite researchers of all disciplines dealing with ‘the urban’ to showcase current projects, but also to discuss speculative approaches, test cases, and new theories.

The main goals of this workshop are to promote:
  • Rigorous discussion about the methods and concepts surrounding current urban research, and the inclusion of interdisciplinary and not-yet-mainstream approaches,
  • The inclusion of doctoral and postdoctoral researchers in such discussions, and
  • Networking and collaboration among critical urban researchers across disciplinary and national borders.

Participation is possible with or without presenting a paper. The organizers intend to publish an anthology of a selection of the papers presented with supplementary essays from the discussion groups.

Brenner, N., & Schmid, C. (2012). Planetary Urbanisation. In M. Gandy (Ed.), Urban Constellations (pp. 10–13). Berlin: Jovis.
Brenner, N., & Schmid, C. (2013). The “Urban Age”in Question. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. Retrieved from
Parnell, S., & Robinson, J. (2012). (Re)theorizing Cities from the Global South: Looking Beyond Neoliberalism. Urban Geography, 33(4), 593–617.
Robinson, J. (2002). Global and World Cities: A View from off the Map. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 26(3), 531–554.
Robinson, J. (2005). Urban geography: world cities, or a world of cities. Progress in Human Geography, 29(6), 757–765.
Robinson, J. (2013). The urban now: Theorizing cities beyond the new. European Journal of Cultural Studies, 16(6), 659–677.
Roy, A. (2009). The 21st-Century Metropolis: New Geographies of Theory. Regional Studies, 43(6), 819–830.
Roy, A. (2011). Urbanisms, worlding practices and the theory of planning. Planning Theory, 10(1), 6–15.

The list of topics will be determined by the range of submitted papers. Possible topics could include ethnographic approaches, »the production of space« (Lefebvre), discourse analysis, relational (milieu) analysis, competing discourse theories (e.g. Laclau vs. Foucault), semiotics, new interpretations of the cultural landscape, grounded theory, innovative quantitative methodology, etc.

The two days will consist of presentations in the first half of the day, followed by discussions groups/workgroups in the afternoon. A common dinner is planned for the evening of day 1.

Georg-Simmel-Zentrum für Metropolenforschung, Mohrenstraße 41, 10117 Berlin

Up to 50 participants from the fields of urban studies, geography, sociology, social sciences, cultural studies, architecture, ethnology, etc. will be invited.
The intended participants are advanced doctoral students, post-docs and young academics.

Dr. des. Mary Dellenbaugh 
Geography Department, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin,

Dr. Thomas Dörfler 
Center for Methods, University of Lüneburg/Leuphana,

Publication Strategy:
An English-language edited volume resulting from the papers presented and discussion groups is planned.

Registration fee:
We are currently in the process of applying for funding through the Excellence Initiative. In the event that the application is not successful, a nominal donation of 20€ (10€ for students) will be requested to cover refreshments and coffee breaks.

With paper:
Please send an abstract of not more than one page in English or German to by March 17th, 2014. 

Non-presenting participant:
Please send your expression of interest with a short bio and motivation for wanting to take part in English or German to by March 17th, 2014.

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