Tag Archives: urban studies

Conference Panel — — — The ‘Infrastructural turn’ in urban studies

A joint panel by the EHU Laboratory of Critical Urbanism and Minsk Urban Platform at the 8th International Congress of Belarusian Studies (Vilnius, 27-29 of September 2019)

Co-organisers: Dr Siarhei Liubimau (EHU Laboratory of Critical Urbanism) and Dr Andrey Vozyanov (EHU and Minsk Urban Platform)

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Infrastructure can sound like one of the buzzwords that has arisen since the monopoly of structure was contested by urban theoreticians. The ‘Infrastructural Turn’ places the focus on the most mundane everyday performances of mobility, communication and body management, demonstrating their meaningfulness for the social order and its spatial forms (Leigh 1999, Graham and Marvin 2001, Simone 2004, Larkin 2008, Graham 2010, Graham and McFarlane 2014, Gupta 2015). In the post-socialist context, infrastructures seem to be an overlooked part of what is called the “socialist legacy”, since this legacy has more often been sought in cultural forms (both material and immaterial heritage), bureaucratic arrangements and economic processes. However, some have recently argued that Soviet totalitarianism was essentially an infrastructural phenomenon; and furthermore that there are infrastructural features of the USSR that have stalled neoliberal economic and political reforms in Post-Soviet Russia (Collier 2011). How can we identify the isomorphism between infrastructures, institutions, and everyday and political cultures in Belarus, a country which is often depicted as ‘the most Soviet’ ex-USSR state? How has this isomorphism been (and how could it be) unpacked and presented in political expertise on Belarus (from technological determinism to social constructivism)? What do we learn if we compare the isomorphism in the Belarusian case with other cases in the region? How does digitalization re-define this isomorphism?

Ethnographic approaches to the use of housing, public transport, the Internet and governance can be productive in understanding contingencies and disruptions in post-socialist transition, evolving inequalities, and emerging challenges and opportunities, as well as the individual lifeworlds of diverse users and non-users. For the entire post-Soviet region, the ‘infrastructural turn’ proposes re-thinking familiar questions of path dependence, nostalgia and nationalism with the help of new lenses: how are old, ageing, outdated, functional and dysfunctional artifacts present in urban spaces involved in new post-Soviet institutions, practices, narratives and representations? How are the meanings of material artifacts and assemblages redefined in new political/social conditions? Which temporal conditions do material remainders create for cities in transition? What is the role (or challenge) of infrastructural remains, “ghosts”, and echoes in societies where a longing for the past persists? What are noteworthy artistic depictions (film, literature, theatre, contemporary art, etc.) of the infrastructural factor in social processes?

Themes:

  • Notions for City/Industry Relations
  • Infrastructures and Identities
  • Post-Soviet Infrastructures and Nostalgia
  • Digitalisation as an Urban Infrastructural Phenomenon
  • Artistic Depictions (film, literature, theatre, contemporary art, etc.) of the Infrastructural Factor in Post-Soviet Social Processes

Participation fee – 10 euros for speakers from the ex-USSR states (in terms of institutional affiliation); 60 euros for all other speakers.

Organisers will be able to cover travel and accommodation for a limited number of speakers.

Abstracts to be submitted by May 25, 2019 via the Congress webpage

Disciplinary Area – “Society and social institutions” (12.3.b “The ‘Infrastructural Turn’ In Urban Studies”)

Apply for LCU Visaginas Summer School, August 14-27

Students in Geography, Anthropology, Sociology, Design, Urban Studies, History, European Studies, Cultural Studies, Urban Planning, Architecture from Germany, Lithuania, Belarus and beyond are welcome to apply for the International Summer School on Sources of Urbanity in Former Mono-functional Towns. The school is organised in Visaginas (Lithuania) for third time with support of German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

Deadline for applications – 31.05.2017.

Further information

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Deutsche Studierende können sich im Rahmen des Go East- Sommerschulprogramms beim Deutschen Akademischen Austauschdienst (DAAD) um ein Stipendium bewerben. Das Stipendium setzt sich zusammen aus Pauschale zur Deckung der Aufenthaltskosten, Reisekostenzuschuss und Kursgebühren.

Weitere Informationen dazu finden Sie unter:

https://goeast.daad.de/de/25457/index.html

Das zweigleisige Bewerbungsverfahren sieht vor, dass Interessenten sich parallel bei der Sommerschule um eine Zulassung und beim DAAD um ein Stipendium bewerben.

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Call for academic year 2014/2015_deadline 11.07.2014.

Critical Urban Studies at the European Humanities University

Today, the city has become a growing and promising field of study. It is in cities that we witness the potential for emergent modes of democracy, for brand new types and places of work, and for expanding niches for communication, as well as for incipient paradigms of social exclusion and injustice. Being particularly sensitive to the prevalent trends in city life, urban studies is at the center of changing relationships between traditional realms of architecture, politics, technology, spatial planning, cultural industries, historical policy, and consumption habits. Doing urban studies critically means being skilled to analytically connect these outwardly separated realms and being able to envisage the outcomes of intensifying connections between them.

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Bilingual (Russian/English) MA track Critical Urban Studies at the EHU provides knowledge of:

  • social theories and methodologies of sociological research
  • the most pressing issues of urban life, and the theories used to address them
  • tools for coding and visualizing key tendencies in urban environments
  • methodologies of historical urban anthropology in Central and Eastern Europe
  • skills of territorial branding and marketing
  • typologies of architectural forms
  • guidelines for analyzing and reprogramming the urban environment through ‘soft’ instruments of spatial planning
  • media theories and tools of video production

By using cutting edge theory from a variety of disciplines, the MA track promotes an environment where teaching and research are tightly intertwined. The MA thesis is an opportunity for students to realize an innovative research project under the close supervision of faculty members, well established in their field of expertise.

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In addition, the Critical Urban Studies MA track was set up in close cooperation with the Visual and Cultural Studies MA track at the EHU Department of Media, thus significantly enriching the pool of knowledge and faculty available to students, as well as the range of academic events and project ventures in which students can engage.

The Laboratory of Critical Urbanism at EHU is a research platform that enables students on the Critical Urban Studies track to participate in a wide variety of international and local extra-curriculum activities, such as summer and winter schools, workshops, conferences, art exhibitions and biennales, collective publication projects, excursions, public lectures and round tables. Vilnius as a city is a comfortable, historically rich and multicultural environment that serves as a great encouragement to live an active intellectual and social life. The Laboratory of Critical Urbanism cooperates with a range of Vilnius based institutions including active architects, urban community animators, academic and applied historians, and social and cultural activists.

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more info about Cultural Studies Program and admission procedure