18 - 19 March

Places “Off the Map”: Bringing to Light the Hidden Locations of Urbanisation

  • Zoom

Date: 18-19 March 2021

Cities that were not forged by the industrial revolution and are outside the Anglo-American and European heartland are many times under-represented and under-studied. This not only produces an asymmetry in knowledge, but also creates a situation where there is a need to present the geographies of the Global South—and we would add the Global East or other peripheries—in “more grounded, embodied and accountable ways” (Sparke 2007). However, these concerns are not only about expanding our lens of analysis to increase empirical variability (Roy 2016); advancing our knowledge about the urban outside the global North is also about changing the practice of how we create theory. Cities outside the global North need to be acknowledged as sites of theory construction and not only as locations where theory is tested (Sheppard et al 2013). Against this background, Schwarz and Streule (2016) make a strong call to “decentralize and further pluralize urban knowledge production” by engaging with studies outside the centres of what is considered “the urban.” Inspired by Robinson’s (2002) call to study the places “off the map” of urban theory, this workshop seeks to continue the theoretical conversation started in the previous workshop by now focusing on empirical examples to prompt a discussion of how a more cosmopolitan and global understanding of the urban can come about. Questions we would like to address are not limited to, but include:

  • What are the hidden locations of urbanisation and how does this urban look like?
  • What are the hidden locations of urbanisation within the peripheries of the global North?
  • How do understudied geographies contribute to the field of urban studies? In which ways do they challenge, expand or complement our understanding of the urban?
  • Wary of the dangers of essentialising and exoticising, how does one create theory from empirical examples from the global South, global East or a periphery?
  • What can empirical comparisons across Global-South and West-East divides contribute to the dislocation of ethnocentric narratives and the advance of critical urban scholarship?

This workshop is part of the series Dislocating Urban Studies: Rethinking Theory, Shifting Practice.