Conference on Relational Approaches to Urban Transformations

I am not quite sure what that means, but there are some good speakers on offer, if you are in Holland or nearby…


Alexander von Humboldt Lectures 2015-2016:
Relational Approaches to Urban Transformations

The Department of Human Geography, Spatial Planning and Environmental Politics and the Department of Political Science at the Radboud University of Nijmegen, Netherlands cordially invite you to our Lecture and Seminar Series on the theme of ‘Relational Approaches to Urban Transformations’ with the following Alexander von Humboldt Guests:

Prof. Justus Uitermark

Prof. Loretta Lees

Prof. Ignacio Farias

Prof. Kirsten Simonsen

Prof. Robert Beauregard

Prof. Colin McFarlane

For a more detailed description of this year’s theme see:

For further details see:

For past lectures see:


Conference: Doing Global Urban Research

Please find below the second call for papers for our Urban Studies Foundation sponsored international conference “Doing Global Urban Research”, which will take place at Loughborough University, UK, from Monday 7 September to Wednesday 9 September 2015. Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors, we are able to offer free registration, accommodation and subsistence – and for some a significant subsidy on travel costs – for 45 participants. We therefore invite you to read the following call for papers and to submit proposals.

Irrespective of whether you are an urban geographer, urban sociologist, urban political scientist, urban historian, urban economist, favouring a qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods approach, the challenge that confronts researchers attempting to participate in and engage with our increasingly ‘globalised’ urban studies remains fundamentally the same – how to make sense of global urban complexity.

In the quest to make sense of urban complexity, urban scholars are leaving no stone unturned in the pursuit of new theory production. The aim of this conference is to examine the current state of empirical research (and the methodological approaches we possess) for conceptualising global urban complexity – or as we are putting it, Doing Global Urban Research.

For more a detailed overview of the conference theme please visit

The aim of the conference is to confront the research challenges presented by new geographies of urban theory.
The conference has 4 objectives:
• To provide a platform to showcase the best examples of theoretically-informed, empirically-grounded, policy-relevant research in global urban studies.
• To provide a forum to confront the research challenges and opportunities presented by new geographies of urban theory.
• To consider the methodological/empirical responses to new geographies of urban theory.
• To establish the near-future priorities for researchers doing global urban studies.

In a break from traditional conferences the programme includes time for intensive debate and moderated workshops/panels to outline near-future research priorities and possible collaborations. 50 papers will be presented over 3 days, comprising 3 plenary sessions (with 5 invited keynote speakers), 5 sets of parallel workshop sessions (with 40 minutes per paper), and two specially convened panel sessions.

We are delighted to confirm our 5 keynote speakers:
• Professor Roger Keil, York University, Director of ‘Global Suburbanisms’ project
• Professor Susan Parnell, University of Cape Town, African Centre for Cities
• Professor Christian Schmid, ETH Zurich, Future Cities Laboratory
• Professor Peter J Taylor, Northumbria University, Director of GaWC
• Professor Kevin Ward, University of Manchester, Director of cities@manchester

45 places are available. If you would like to present we invite you to submit a proposal to the organisers, John Harrison ( and Michael Hoyler (, by Friday 12 December 2014.

Your proposal should be no more than one side of A4 and include the following information: name(s) (clearly identifying the named presenter), affiliation and e-mail address, title of contribution, details of contribution (including the methodological/empirical contribution) and up to 6 keywords.
Contributors will be selected to attend based on the quality of their research and its direct relevance to the conference theme. Our aim is to bring together researchers from diverse disciplinary backgrounds who share common ground through their interest in global urban research. This includes those at the ‘centre’ of recent debates, emergent voices, as well as engaged critics.
Decisions on proposals will be made during January 2015.

Thanks to the generous support of the Urban Studies Foundation there will be no registration fee. Hotel accommodation (two nights), food (breakfast, lunch, morning and afternoon breaks), drinks reception and conference dinner are also included for each named presenter. We will also be able to provide travel bursaries to support some speakers, with preference given to those coming from the Global South, Central & Eastern Europe and/or early career researchers.

Our plan is to showcase some of the best examples of theoretically-informed, empirically-grounded, policy-relevant research in global urban studies presented at the conference through publication of a special issue and an edited book.

Dr John Harrison
Senior Lecturer in Human Geography
NN.1.24 Department of Geography,
Martin Hall Building, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU
Tel: +44(0)1509 228198 | E-mail:

Antonio Negri: No to Socialism, Yes to Cities

Two things so far from Negri’s Goodbye Mr. Socialism (2008[2006]), which is a conversation with Raf Scelsi.  One, he lays down the law with this zinger:

Socialism isn’t anything other than the statist transformation of capitalism (p. 43).

I am becoming increasingly convinced that the sooner we can accept this point the better, so we can move on to more fruitful concepts like communism, democracy, and anarchism.

Two, he has a whole riff in Chapter 2 about the importance of the city and the urban, almost as though he has discovered Lefebvre 35 years after the fact.  “Today,” he remarks, wide-eyed,

the city is itself a source of production: the organized, inhabited, and traversed territory has become a productive element just as worked land once was.  Increasingly, the inhabitant of a metropolis is the true center of the world… (p. 35).

“Where there is mass, there is energy,” he says, and “this is a fundamental principle of the common” (p. 36).  Because cities are machines for concentrating masses in space, they have great potential to intensify the energy of the common.  In this light, he is very enthusiastic about the strikes in Paris in late 1995, which he says, “directly involved, in a participatory way with displays of solidarity, the entire metropolitan population of Paris” (p. 33).

To see a great metropolis like Paris act this way…to see it withstand (relying on itself) almost three months without public transportation–well, it’s like being confronted, really, by a small commune (p. 39).

“Long live the metropolis and its multitude!” (p. 36).  It seems he has gotten religion.  Amen.