Urban Studies

May 2014

“Urban studies” is a field practiced by multiple disciplines in their particular disciplinary or methodological ways. The “field” is currently fragmented and is not yet constituted as a full-fledged and integrated field of study. In part, this is because “urban studies” is such a complex proposition, namely that it is a field that engages directly and actively with major questions that confront us as global citizens. “Urban studies” is virtually unlimited in its scope, with each city offering its own unique and vibrant set of histories, cultural spaces, and networks of meaning. So much “urban studies” work does not reach the full range of its potential audience across departments, programs, divisions, and schools. To remedy this, a growing number of individual scholars of cities have found themselves seeking out scholarship and theory from other disciplines, and wishing for a more collective and rigorous discourse on “the urban.”

This workshop will create an opportunity for us to re-conceptualize “urban studies” by integrating disciplines, building on the most promising recent ways of thinking, from all relevant disciplines and transcending the specificities of time and place, without sacrificing the rich practices of “thick description” and “deep mapping” that add meaning to the present.