Critical Urban Studies is a 1.5-year programme at the European Humanities University, Vilnius, which takes a multi-disciplinary, social science based approach to studying urban forms in contemporary Central and Eastern Europe.
The motivation for the programme in Critical Urban Studies is that urban forms in Central and Eastern Europe are understudied both within the region and internationally, and that new theoretical concepts and disciplinary paradigms are needed in order to more fully understand these spaces. The aim of the programme is to be both theoretically advanced and practically oriented, offering students the opportunity for elaborating innovative ways of working on the spaces around them.
Taking into account the specific situation of EHU, the Critical Urban Studies programme is structured around 2 conceptual axes:
1. Localized Culture Industries
Culture is a much promoted and controversial element both within the development strategies of contemporary cities, and in the activities of those trying to make cities better and more just places to live. Post-socialist cities have a specific place in this cultural configuration. Thus, this axis focuses on the interface between theory and activism, between entertainment and industry, and on identifying the locally specific pathways for and obstacles to particular modes of work taking on wider symbolic significance for the branding of spaces.
2. Media and the City
EHU’s media department and media hub form the basis for an ongoing exploration of the dense and evolving relations between media and cities. From the representation of cities in various media (from feature films to maps), to the increasing insertion of media technologies into the management and experience of cities themselves (through smart city technologies or GPS), this axis focuses on the exploration of the specificity of the relations between media and cities in Eastern Europe, and in blending critical thinking with the development of original media products.
From the beginning of their studies students will be expected to work in consultation with staff on the programme, and in particular with an academic supervisor, to create an original research project which they will go on to develop as their masters degree work. The choice of subject will be up to the students themselves, but it will be expected that the research projects will connect theoretical reflection with the empirical social investigation of a particular case. Ideas for the project and the information on which it is based will be refined and extended through work done for the courses studied during the masters programme, research seminars at which students will present work in progress, and sessions on organising research projects and academic writing. The process of writing will be completed in the third semester.
Siarhei Liubimau – Urban Sociology, Sociology of Culture, Trans-border Urbanism
Benjamin Cope – Urban Ethnography, Spatial Theory, Gender and Space
Miodrag Kuč – Critical Cartography, Tactical Urbanism, Ephemeral Architecture
Felix Ackermann – Historical Urban Anthropology, Mapping Knowledge, Jewish Studies
Elena Trubina – Urban Theories, Mega-event Studies
Duration – 1.5 years
Discipline – sociology
Degree awarded – Master of Sociology
Languages – the programme is taught in Russian and English