CANCELLED / POSTPONED: Southern Urbanism: Exploring Urban Re...

Updated: about 11 hours ago

CANCELLED / POSTPONED: Due to the coronavirus situation both in Denmark and globally, we have had to cancel the PhD course on Southern Urbanism: Exploring Urban Realities, Theories and Research Practices due to be run at the University of Copenhagen 30 March – 1 April 2020.  The conveners are planning to hold the course at a later date and will re-advertise it accordingly.  New applications will be warmly welcomed at that time.


The course takes place at the South Campus of the University of Copenhagen, where it is being co-convened by the faculties of Theology (Centre of African Studies) and Humanities (Department of Regional and Cross-Cultural Studies).  Specific rooms will be identified later.

Key dates

Course:  30 March – 1 April 2020 (2.5 days)
Application deadline: Monday 2 March 2020, 17.00
Submission of working paper/chapter: Monday 23 March, 12.00

Course Aim

This course aims to explore several critical theoretical and methodological dimensions of empirically and historically grounded research from and on cities in the global South, that are part of an emerging Southern urbanism challenging older, Northern-driven paradigms that have long dominated urban scholarship and practice.

Course Description
This is an exciting moment for studying the urban in its global diversity, both substantively and theoretically, especially drawing on the histories, lived realities, knowledge and perspectives emerging in and through the global South. More people now live in cities than outside them, increasingly so in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and many of the major political contestations as well as cultural and technological innovations of the 21st Century occur in urban settings. At the same time, expanding modernist visions or models of ‘world cities’ are reshaping – and newly dividing – the urban South.

Recent years have seen a surge in new urban-based political and social movements, in experiments in local governance, in redefinitions of what it means to be an urban citizen, in innovative forms of protest, activism and grassroots initiatives, as well as in alternative forms of urban living, infrastructural arrangements, and economic practices. There have also been growing demographic shifts through both voluntary and forced movements into – or out of – cities. This is occurring in cities and smaller towns spanning both the global South and North. Rooted in, and responding to, the complex and rapidly changing realities of global Southern cities in particular, Southern urbanism reflects a renaissance in formerly Northern-driven urban theory and research, challenging among other things, well-worn urban planning and policy models and practices. Simultaneously it is prompting innovations in research methodologies. 

These developments demand global and regional conversations that both recognise and theorise Southern urban realities in their complex contemporary forms, not simplified as deficit models or examples of retarded development and governance failures. ‘Southern urbanism’ grounds research empirically in place, time and context, challenging scholars to pay attention to a new epistemology of ‘the urban’ that can take into account the diverse changes and challenges emerging in all cities. This has implications for approaches to urban governance and development at global, national and local scales.

Crucially, it also opens up debate on the politics of knowledge production and scholarly writing, increasingly framed in relation to questions of decoloniality and relevance for an inclusive spectrum of citizens.  In its scale and breadth, Southern urbanism is ‘a heterodox field of inquiry’, which demands the weaving together of deep, rigorous local knowledge and a globally legible theoretical language that works beyond Euro-America-centric urban theory to ‘produce alternative modes of inquiry and new geographies of theory’ (Robinson and Roy, 2016).

Course Format

This PhD course aims at having 10-15 participants. Undertaken in an interdisciplinary workshop style, it offers the opportunity to reflect critically on theory, research methodology and writing related to urban conditions and developments in the global South, together with critical reflections on the multi-sited projects of building Southern urban theory. The course will combine keynote lectures addressing aspects of the field, with more intimate sessions engaging directly with students’ own work – a paper or draft chapter related to your own research – that will be circulated in advance. There will also be a specific Master Class in urban research methods. In combination, the course offers a chance for open sharing of insights from empirical or historical research alongside rigorous yet constructive collegial feedback. The course offers a chance to engage collectively with analytical concepts and their application, and with research methods, ethics and experiences central to the politics of knowledge production in the context of a Southern turn in urban thinking.

Credits: 3.5 ECTS with paper presentation

For more information please follow this link

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