[URBANTH-L]Inter-Referencing Asia: Urban Experiments Workshop

Ananya Roy ananya at berkeley.edu
Wed Aug 1 10:00:14 EDT 2007

We invite submissions of abstracts for an SSRC-sponsored workshop 
"Inter-Referencing Asia: Urban Experiments and the Art of being 
Global."  Successful applicants will be invited to participate in the 
workshop to be held in Dubai, next February. See the following announcement.

Best wishes,
Aihwa Ong (aihwaong at berkeley.edu) and Ananya Roy (ananya at berkeley.edu)

DUBAI, UAE, FEBRUARY 21-24, 2008

WORKSHOP DIRECTORS: Aihwa Ong (aihwaong at berkeley.edu) and Ananya Roy 
(ananya at berkeley.edu) University of California, Berkeley

The 21st century will be an urban century and more significant, it 
will be a century of Asian urbanization.  The growth of Asian cities 
prompts the need for a research agenda that pays careful attention to 
the processes and forms of urbanism that are forming at such 
sites.  The analytical framework of "global cities," which is in 
currency, fails to capture the role of Asian cities as "worlding" 
nodes: those that create global connections and global regimes of 
value.  In particular, it fails to notice the ways in which Asian 
cities produce global urbanism through experiments of 
inter-referencing whereby urban elites borrow, copy, and articulate 
city-making across national borders.  In the dynamic context of such 
inter-Asian aspirations, Dubai, Singapore, and Shanghai emerge as 
"models" while aspiring cities undertake slum demolitions, invest in 
premium urban infrastructure, woo investors through special economic 
zones, deploy high-style architecture to create an urban brand, and 
compete for professionals in the bid to create world-class 
economies.  Such a production of space has profound implications for 
the future of Asian cities: to whom will the city belong? What will 
be the relationship between cities and citizenship?

We propose a workshop that focuses on the urban experiment that is 
the Asian city.  We invite paper proposals that address the following issues:
1) The "worlding" role of Asian cities in the age of late capitalism 
with a particular emphasis on the inter-city borrowings, linkages, 
and competitions that drive globalization across Asia.  How is such 
inter-referencing driven by elite actors, by the state, and by the 
circulation of professionals and managers?  What are the aesthetic 
icons and symbols associated with Asian urban aspirations?  In other 
words, what is the "art of being global" that is being cultivated at 
the site of the Asian city?

2) The types of displacements that are emerging in such Asian cities, 
ranging from the flows of labor that service the success and 
prosperity of cities to the displacement being engendered by the 
development of enclave urbanism.  What are the social and political 
limits of such displacements?  How is the politics of displacement 
mediated by civil society actors that operate both within and across 
particular Asian cities?  What are the forms of urban mobilization 
that are coalescing around the modality of displacement?

The sheer political ambition of their urban experimentations suggests 
a focus on the United Emirates, India, China, and Southeast Asia, but 
not exclusively.  We invite scholars from anthropology, urban 
planning, architecture, sociology, geography, and cultural studies, 
as well as civil society actors, cultural producers, and 
professionals who are directly engaged in projects of inter-Asia 
city-making. Paper submissions can be focused on a single city or can 
be comparative and transnational in nature.  Our workshop will foster 
interactions that can lead to collaborations, resulting in a new 
field of Inter-Asian Urban Studies.  We plan an edited volume that 
will be the first study of this new South-South urban renaissance and 
the worlding ambitions of Asian cities.


Applications are due on Friday, September 14, 2007.  They must be 
submitted directly to SSRC.  For more information, see 

Selection decisions will be announced on October 19, 2007. Accepted 
participants are required to submit a 20-25 page research paper by 
January 14, 2008.

The SSRC will make every effort to subsidize the travel and 
accommodation costs associated with attending the conference, and we 
will issue a formal announcement about availability and levels of 
financial assistance for individual participants in the coming 
months. In the meantime, prospective participants are encouraged to 
seek out alternative sources of funding that may be available from 
their home institutions or other agencies. For additional inquiries, 
please contact the SSRC at 
<mailto:intl_collaboration at ssrc.org>intl_collaboration at ssrc.org.

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