Urbanism Across Places, Spaces, Disciplines

The Urbanism working group promotes shared contributions to thinking about the urban and cities in different parts of the world, exploring methodological and theoretical difference and commonalities among disciplines.

Tarini Bedi, Anthropology
Sultan Tepe, Political Science
Rachel Weber, Urban Planning and Policy


“Social Network Analysis,” Dr. Basak Taraktas, Northwestern University
Friday, 4/28 2:00 PM to Friday, 4/28 3:30 PM

This workshop is a 90-minute introductory course on social network analysis. With the help of a historical case study, it explains the must-know concepts and how researchers reason in network terms.

Urbanisms Working Group: Junction 48: Screening and Discussion
Friday, 3/10 3:30 PM to Friday, 3/10 6:30 PM

With Tamer Nafar, Palestinian-Israeli rapper
And Udi Aloni, Director

Junction 48 introduces the city of Lod and its residents’ daily struggles through the lenses of its first Palestinian-Israeli rapper Kareem (Tamer Nafar). “My songs aren’t political, they just describe the place I come from” says Tamer in the film that is inspired by true-events in his life. As Tamar wants his art to be a broker he also highlights the boundaries both between Israelis and Palestinians but also within the Palestinian Community.

Tamer Nafar is often described as the one who single-handedly created the Palestinian Hip-Hops scene from Scratch. He was born in Lod, Israel in 1979. He began writing and making rap music in 1998 and in 2000 his brother Suhell and their friend Mahmoud Jrere joined him to start the first Palestinian-Arab rap group, DAM. For many Tamer reinvented hip-hop in its purest form: rage without hate, social-political awareness without empty materialism, and large audiences without selling out. He imported the style of hip-hop to Lod and exported it back to the world with an Arabic flavor and a feminist message.

Udi Aloni is an award-winning Israeli filmmaker, author, artist, and playwright. His films include Local Angel (2002), Forgiveness (2006) and Art/Violence (2013). Recent projects include the play Anti-Oedipus produced by the Schiller Festival and What Does a Jew Want? On Binationalism and Other Specters (Columbia University Press, 2011).

Urbanisms Round Table
Friday, 11/18 12:00 PM to Friday, 11/18 2:00 PM

The Urbanisms Across Spaces, Places, Disciplines working group is hosting an informal round table for graduate students (and interested faculty) who are conducting research on *urban* questions, very broadly defined. We intend this to be the start of building a multidisciplinary intellectual community for graduate students to engage with each other, with UIC faculty and guest speakers as they plan, research and write up dissertations related to questions of urban life in different parts of world, in different departments and disciplines.

We invite you to join us to share your work and to listen to what others are doing on our campus . We will meet this Friday, November 18th from 12-2pm at Institute for Humanities. Lunch will be provided.

Do RSVP to the faculty facilitators, Professors Sultan Tepe (sultant@uic.edu) and Tarini Bedi (tbedi@uic.edu) so that they are aware of how many people to expect.

Does an Urban Global South Endure? Experiments With Detachment
Monday, 3/28 3:00 PM to Monday, 3/28 5:00 PM

The event is part of the Urbanism across Places, Spaces, Disciplines Working Group

Re-working notions of the “black city”, the presentation seeks to explore the terms through which an urban “Global South” might endure. Can we be indifferent to the absence of empirical verification in a move that enfolds intensely divergent urban situations so as to deploy the “South” –not as a negation, source of redemption, or distinct ontological condition—but as a way to examine forms of detachment from the ways in which planetary urbanization relates and connects places, bodies, and things?

AbdouMaliq Simone

Research professor at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity and visiting professor of sociology at Goldsmiths College, University of London, visiting professor at the African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town, research associate with the Rujak Center for Urban Studies in Jakarta, and research fellow at the University of Tarumanagara.

Loophole Planning and Infrastructure Making in Contemporary Mumbai
Thursday, 3/3 3:00 PM to Thursday, 3/3 5:00 PM

As Mumbai prepares for its third DP, a fierce debate has broken out over the nature of development and of planning.  Galvanized by civic activists, ordinary citizens are asking for specific information about land use reservations and plans for their own neighborhoods as well as raising questions that pertain to the city’s ecological health as a whole.  In meetings organized by civic groups in the early months of 2014, concerned citizens asked questions about the relationship between the DP and issues as widely distributed as gender, healthcare, and digital access, along with other more familiar infrastructural issues.  Remarkably, these meetings were hosted by the MCGM (Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai) itself, the body responsible for preparing the plan and finally led to a comprehensive revision of the plan.

In this talk I present an ethnography of the planning process and its implications for understanding an emergent relationship between land use planning and politics as it is unfolding in contemporary Mumbai.  While earlier development plans had largely remained technocratic documents with little public participation, citizens now find themselves in a city in which thousands of square feet of new development has been added through various ad hoc, loophole measures.  These measures completely bypassed the goals and vision of the previous development plans, mixing good intentions for increasing affordable housing and legal casuistry in strange cocktails and schizophrenic urban landscapes.  Between 1991 and 2013 when the city’s development plan came up for its third iteration, such loophole planning ushered in a new definition of development, connecting the concept of development inextricably to rent-seeking from land development and construction.  In the context of the rise of market-oriented governance, ‘informal’ methods of making social and material infrastructure are increasingly linked to varied forms and practices of speculation – not only the speculative development of fixed assets but also new forms of practice and usage, which assume the unpredictable, unexpected and nonlinear unfolding of existing systems that guide the experience of the city and of citizenship.  This talk situates the relationship between planning, citizen-driven, iterative infrastructure making and new forms of political engagement in an age that demands a creative embrace of uncertainty.

Vyjayanthi V. Rao, Ph.D. is the Director of Terreform Center for Advanced Urban Research in New York.  Prior to her appointment at Terreform, she taught anthropology and international affairs at The New School for Social Research and at The University of Chicago where she received her Ph.D. in anthropology.  Other professional positions include Research Director of The Center for Cities and Globalization at Yale University and Co-Director of Partners for Urban Knowledge, Action and Research (PUKAR), an innovative urban laboratory in Mumbai, India.

She works on cities after globalization, specifically on the intersections of urban planning, design, art, violence, and speculation in the articulation of the contemporary global city.  She is the author of numerous articles on these topics, which have appeared in Public Culture, New Literary History, Perspecta and Editoriale Lotus. Her edited volume,Speculation, Now: Essays and Artworks, produced in partnership with Carin Kuoni, Director of the Vera List Center for Art and Politics and graphic designer Prem Krishnamurthy was published by Duke University Press in 2015 and she is completing an ethnography of Mumbai’s spatial transformation titled “Speculative City: Infrastructure and Complexity in Global Mumbai.”