|Saint Petersburg, Russia in July 2012. Photo by Alan Wiig.|
Call for Papers – Politicizing the
fabric of the city: rethinking material politics in urban studies
Critical Geography Conference 2014, Philadelphia, 7-9 November 2014
As our planetary condition is increasingly an urban condition, calls to rethink the ontology of the city are common (Brenner 2013, Merrifield 2014, Scott & Storper 2014). Indeed, references to our urban age have become “an all pervasive metanarrative” analogous to ‘modernization’ in the 1960s or ‘globalization’ in the 1990s (Brenner & Schmid 2014, p 4). Many of these attempts at reframing the definition of the planetary urban condition seek to re-engage with urban materiality, looking towards urban assemblages (McCann & Ward 2011), metabolisms (Heynen et al 2006), or networked ecologies/infrastructures (Graham & Marvin 2001). This work has produced innovative frameworks for re-thinking the territoriality of urban materials: spatial extension/concentration, translocal networking, (un)boundedness, and (non)contiguity. This session asks contributors to not only re-territorialize urban materialities, but also to politicize the ‘fabric’ of urban space: the multiple layers of land use, infrastructure, and technology which are co-present in the built environment (cf. Gandy 2014, McFarlane & Rutherford 2008). In doing so we seek to reframe interpretations of urban inequality. We explore the geographical-historical dimensions of land, infrastructure, and technology with recognition that the ‘mega’ projects and lasting material legacies which characterize the urban built environment are particularly adept at reproducing inequality at broad scales and over long temporal horizons. We seek to build conversations across critical geography paradigms, considering pathways by which political economic logics and drivers are assembled, performed, and reproduced through urban fabrics. We invite papers which explore strategies in pursuit of more progressive cities by engaging the urban fabric. This includes papers which consider topics like, but by no means limited to:
The impact of translocal assemblages and mobilities on and through urban materialities
The political economic logics and drivers which assemble/reproduce urban fabrics
Politics of the more-than-human dimensions of the urban fabric
Points of engagement between historical materialism of the city and the increasingly complex forms of urban territoriality
Diverse, ordinary, and comparative geographies of urban fabrics
Abstracts of 250 words should be sent to John Lauermann (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Alan Wiig () by 3 September 2014. More information about the conference is available at tucriticalgeography.org
Brenner, Neil. (2013). Theses on urbanization. Public Culture, 25(1), 85-114.
Brenner, Neil, & Schmid, Christian. (2014, online early). The ‘Urban Age’ in question. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. doi: 10.1111/1468-2427.12115
Gandy, Matthew (2014 forthcoming). The fabric of space: water, modernity, and the urban imagination. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
Graham, Stephen, & Marvin, Simon. (2001). Splintering urbanism: networked infrastructures, technological mobilities and the urban condition. London; New York: Routledge.
Heynen, Nik, Maria Kaika and Erik Swyngedouw (eds.) 2006. In the Nature of Cities: Urban Political Ecology and the Politics of Urban Metabolism. London; New York: Routledge.
McCann, Eugene, & Ward, Kevin (eds) (2011). Mobile urbanism: cities and policymaking in the global age. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
McFarlane, Colin & Rutherford, Jonathan (2008) Political infrastructures: Governing and experiencing the fabric of the city. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 32(2): 363-374.
Merrifield, Andy. (2014) The new urban question. London: Pluto Press.
Scott, Allen J., & Storper, Michael. (2014, online early). The nature of cities: the scope and limits of urban theory. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. doi: 10.1111/1468-2427.12134