2019-20: Cultures of Urban (In)Justice

The theme of the 2019-2020 ASCA Cities Seminar is “Cultures of Urban (In)Justice”. We are interested in examining dynamics of spatial (in)justice from the vantage point of creative, cultural, aesthetic and political practices in contemporary urban environments.

Spatial justice has long been recognized as an urgent and useful lens for understanding urban processes (Pirie 1983, Soja 2009). In this seminar, we will ask how it might be fruitfully expanded to both consider (in)justice as co-constitutive of contemporary urban cultures, social relations and forms of creative expression. In what ways are urban spatial processes bound up with frameworks of (in)justice at the local and ‘planetary’ scale? How are urban imaginaries articulated in relation to contemporary forms of geopower and its unjust consequences? What role does aesthetics – as negotiated by governments, art institutions, commercial actors, but also by artists and social or protest movements – play in diverse manifestations of urban (in)justice? And which inventive methods are being developed to take stock of spatial (in)justice, and intervene in its related assemblages, infrastructures and power structures?

Engaging with and expanding on these questions, the seminar seeks to analyse cultures of urban (in)justice by exploring a diverse set of topics and case studies. We will consider, for example, recent work on crisis and crisis-scapes in urban contexts, “black anthropocenes” (Yusoff, 2018), “ecologies of ‘making do’” (Mukherjee, 2017), “slow violence” (e.g. Nixon 2011, Davies, 2019), and “slow emergencies” (Anderson et al., 2019). In this way, we are not only interested in existing frameworks and manifestations of (in)justice, but also in ways of intervening, ‘repairing’, and ‘hacking into’ these structures and power relations, from a range of geographical locations and critical standpoints.

Semester 1:

Fri. 20 Sept. 2019: Focused Reading and Discussion. Location: room 1.04, P.C. Hoofthuis (Spuistraat 134), Time: 15:00-17:00

Fri. 1 Nov. 2019:
Patricia Barkaskas (University of British Columbia): Masterclass Decolonizing & Indigenizing Justice: Confronting Colonial Injustice in an ‘Age of Reconciliation’?, Location: Potgieterzaal, University Library (Singel 425), Time: 10:00-12:00

Derek Gladwin (University of British Columbia): Cities of the Symbiocene: Relational Energy Literacy as Spatial Praxis, Location: Potgieterzaal, University Library (Singel 425), Time: 15:00-17:00

Fri 6. Dec. 2019: Elisa Fiore (Radboud University Nijmegen): Food and White Multiculturalism: Racial Aesthetics of Commercial Gentrification in Amsterdam’s Javastraat”, Location: room 1.04, P.C. Hoofthuis (Spuistraat 134), Time: 15:00-17:00

Semester 2:

Fri. 7 Feb. 2020: Screening & discussion with Tino Buchholz,  researcher and director of Creativity and the Capitalist City: The Struggle for Affordable Space in Amsterdam, Location: room 0.16, Media Studies, BG1 (Turfdraagsterpad 9), Time: 15:00-17:00

Fri. 6 Mar. 2020: Kasia Mika (QMUL): “Disasters, Vulnerability and Urban Injustice: Haiti and the 2010 earthquake, 10 years on and beyond”, Location: room 1.04, P.C. Hoofthuis (Spuistraat 134), Time: 15:00-17:00

Fri. 3 Apr. 2020: Chiara De Cesari (University of Amsterdam): “Creative Institutionalism: Statecraft beyond the State in Palestine”, Location: room 1.04, P.C. Hoofthuis (Spuistraat 134), Time: 15:00-17:00

Fri. 8 May 2020: Jennifer Hsieh (University of Michigan): “From Festival to Decibel: Making Noise in Urban Taiwan”, Location: room 1.04, P.C. Hoofthuis (Spuistraat 134), Time: 15:00-17:00