We are happy to circulate this call for films produced as scholarly outputs. Annals of Crosscuts is an emerging publication for film research with a double-blind peer-review. Accepted films (max 40 min of length) will have premiere in the ANNALS OF CROSSCUTS section of Crosscuts Stockholm Environmental Humanities Festival for Film and Text the 22-24 November 2019. Please consider submitting your own work or encouraging others to apply. Abstract submission deadline: 22 May 2019 More information here.
As part of the African Centre for Cities‘ International Urban Conference, Kathleen Stokes and Nate Millington organized a series of sessions dedicated to thinking about the relationships between labor, infrastructure, and politics in cities of the global south. We received numerous papers from scholars working in cities all over the world, from Accra to Delhi. Below, we highlight the presentations that were given in order to highlight the work being done by researchers interested in situating urban political ecological research through sustained engagements with cities of the global south. Old engines, pipes, pumps, and cables at a SACMEX workshop. Photograph by Alejandro De Coss. In his presentation, Maintaining Mexico City’s Lerma water supply system: an ethnography of labour and infrastructure, Alejandro De Coss (Sociology, London School of Economics and Political Science), looked at the ways in which the Mexico City water system is maintained and repaired. In particular, he focused on the Lerma System, an inter-basin transfer built between 1942 and 1951, which still supplies the city with approximately 14% of its daily water use. During the course of one year, Alejandro worked alongside the repair and maintenance teams of the Mexico City Water System in two different sites. One was the Lerma […]
In a new article, SUPE members Joseph Pierce, Mary Lawhon, and Anesu Makina reflect on theorizations of urban appropriation in South African urban contexts. Engaging with Lefebvrian theorizations of the ‘Right to the City‘ as well as Bayat’s idea of ‘quiet encroachment,’ the authors argue that actors in South Africa operate using a different model of appropriation. They note that urban actors in South Africa often act in ways that could be characterized as appropriative, yet do not work to consolidate a right to occupy or appropriate land founded on durable permission. These acts are, they argue, not adequately explained as apolitical or individualistic even as the logic used to justify them is often based neither on rights nor needs. Drawing from these dynamics, the authors propose a ‘third’ mode of urban appropriation, alongside Lefebvre’s and Bayat’s, that they argue is present in South African cities. They label such appropriation ‘agonistically transgressive,’ and argue that it can be tentatively defined by three conceptual characteristics: Agonistic transgression is not oriented toward securing use of the city in an ongoing way, but entails always-ongoing efforts to appropriate. Agonistically transgressive appropriation thus deflects rhetorical efforts by both state and private actors to invoke authoritative adjudication or closure, because closure (whether […]
In this commentary Kampala based photographer and film-maker Joel Ongwech reflects on his participation in a recent exhibition at The Square Gallery in the city Most of my work has started with research and then developed into film or photography through a situated approach that allows me to really get to know my subjects and the contexts in which they live in this city. For this particular project, it all started through my involvement as a researcher on a project led by Will Monteith at the School of International Development at University of East Anglia and Shuaib Lwasa at the Urban Action Lab at Makerere University in Uganda. As a researcher, collecting data in the form of multiple interviews across the cities helped develop my perspective on refugee life in the city. I then looked into these collected stories from an artistic perspective. So when the opportunity for participating in the OPEN DOORS exhibition came along I did not hesitate to apply since I had already a good understanding about the refugee situation in the urban city of Kampala and was keen to develop an artistic response. My photographic investigation focused on Elvis, a 27 year old Congolese refugee who moved to Kampala from […]
SUPE contributor Nate Millington has a chapter in the recently released volume, Deconstructing the High Line: Postindustrial Urbanism and the Rise of the Elevated Park. The book considers the High Line from multiple perspectives, critically assessing its aesthetic, economic, ecological, symbolic, and social impacts. Millington’s chapter focuses on São Paulo’s Minhocão, an elevated highway that functions as an informal public space when closed to automobile traffic on nights and weekends. Assessing ongoing conversations about turning the space into São Paulo’s High Line, Millington argues that engaging with public space in São paulo demands a broader engagement with the contours of inequality that shape the city. He subsequently argues that efforts to construct public space that borrow from European and North American formulations run the risk of missing out on the complex, overlapping ways in which public space in São Paulo is often much more about the lack of regulation than the existence of formally regulated or codified public spaces. He draws inspiration from the many examples of collective occupation and appropriation happening in Brazil and around the world.
In a new, open-access article in Environment and Planning A, Jon Silver considers the low-carbon restructuring of the waste system in Mbale, Uganda, a town struggling to address its socio-ecological futures. Silver asserts that an Urban Political Ecology approach to how urban carbon governance is materialised advances three particular concerns; the governing of urban circulation, carbon capital and socio-material relations. Through examining these, the paper shows how global actors are increasingly involved in low-carbon transformation, use places such as Mbale as spaces of experimentation, and dominate the governing of this restructuring. Yet out of such unjust processes new forms of contestation and low-carbon politics may emerge.
In a new article in Critical African Studies, SUPE contributor Jacob Doherty considers the precariousness that marks Kampala’s boda boda (motorcycle taxi) industry. Through a relational approach to ontology, he asks how the boda boda industry comes into being and endures, what forms of vulnerability it entails, and what experiences, relations, and forms of urban life it produces. Jacob argues that three forms disposability structure and arise from the industry – structural unemployment, embodied vulnerability, and infrastructural displacement. Infrastructural violence, he argues, must be considered when describing and theorizing people as infrastructure. The article examines how boda boda drivers’ shared condition of insecurity and disposability generates intense forms of sociality, solidarity, mutual obligation, recognition, and urban vitality.
The Third Annual ACC Seminar & PhD Course on Democratic Practices focuses on “Understanding Capitalism in Unequal Geographies” and will run from 19-23 June 2017 in Cape Town. Apply here before 20 May 2017. We have 14-18 seats. For more information, keep reading! ACC Winter School on “Democratic Practices of Unequal Geographies”, year III PhD Course/Seminar, University of Cape Town Understanding Capitalism in Unequal Geographies: Reading across Political Philosophy and Southern Urbanism June 19-23, 2017 Lecturers: Dr. Andrés Henao Castro, University of Massachusetts Boston Dr. Ashley Bohrer, Hamilton College, New York City Dr. Henrik Ernstson, KTH and University of Cape Town Last application date: 20 May 2017. Enter your application at this website. Requirements, costs and how to apply We are inviting PhD students, younger scholars and Master students with different background and specialties. We will give preference to applicants from South Africa and Southern Africa. The seminar is free” (NB! Unfortunately we cannot offer any travel grants this year.) Application: To apply, go to the website indicated above and please submit a short answer to why you would like to attend and how you think the seminar relates to your studies. Decision on attendance: You will know by 22 May 2017 if you are accepted to […]
Bruce Baigrie and Henrik Ernstson have just published a critique of “eco-estates” in GroundUp (online magazine) based on an initial study in Nordhoek, Cape Town. In this piece we do a first analysis of the making of an “eco-estate” in Cape Town and its social and ecological effects. These “eco-estates” enroll and depoliticise environmental arguments to create a “green” life-style choice for the rich. Often placed on pristine land outside the urban edge, these “eco-estates” represent a deeply problematic and pervasive urban development in South African cities. Not only do they exploit “green” arguments, consumes a lot of space—but they also form part of a “geographical escapism” that re-produces spatial apartheid (Ballard and Jones 2011) and what SA historian Premesh Lalu (2009) has called a “settler public sphere,” a public discourse that makes invisible ongoing violence and the wider reality of a country and neighbourhood of deep and racialized inequality. For the GroundUp version, please go here, which is being reproduced under the Creative Commons licence below. If you like to re-tweet, please consider tweeting this ‘original’ tweet at @rhizomia. To cite this, use: Baigrie, Bruce, and Henrik Ernstson. 2017. “Noordhoek Eco-Estates Protect the Rich from the Reality of Masiphumelele: […]
Henrik Ernstson is an invited keynote lecturer at the upcoming Trier Summer University on “Decolonizing Urbanism: Transformative Perspectives”, Trier University, Germany June 6-12, 2017. Deadline for application January 31, 2017. For updated information and application details, see their website. Call for Applications: Trier Summer University “Decolonizing Urbanism: Transformative Perspectives” Trier University, Germany June 6-12, 2017 The Governance and Sustainability Lab at Trier University is now inviting applications for its 2017 Summer University, which will take place June 6-12, 2017. Applications are invited from advanced doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers as well as from early career professionals working in geography, urban studies, urban planning, political science, international relations, development studies, gender studies, native studies, cultural studies, sociology, ecology and related fields. Participants will explore the theme of ‘decolonizing urbanism’ through a mixture of public lectures, seminar sessions, advanced skills trainings, excursions, and cultural activities. The Summer University will be held in English. The deadline for applications is January 31, 2017. On Our Theme, ‘Decolonizing Urbanism’ When the United Nations was founded in 1945, nearly a third of the world’s population lived in territories that were dependent on colonial powers. Since then, many territories have found freedom, yet a variety of colonial relationships and physical legacies […]
Kathleen Stokes reflects on waste management and political ecology in Cape Town. Kathleen is a PhD student in Human Geography at the University of Manchester with a research focus on community responsibility and labour in waste management. She is part of the Turning Livelihoods to Rubbish Project, which is run in collaboration between the University of Cape Town, the University of Manchester and Florida State University. While attending the ACC’s winter school on democratic practices, I was fortunate enough to meet with a range of people involved in Cape Town’s waste management system. Through these discussions, and my own encounters with the city’s sites of disposal and decomposition, I was struck by the variety of imperatives driving waste management, and the relations between people whose livelihoods depend on the sector. Managing rubbish is a complex affair in any city. In Cape Town, the municipal government is responsible for waste management services, and informed by legislation and policy imperatives from national and provincial government. Within the context of rapid urbanization, enduring inequalities, and state promises of universal service provision, municipal strategies have tended towards neoliberal strategies of contracting out, public-private partnerships, and cost recovery. In addition to contracting service responsibilities out to businesses, […]
The Urban Action Lab (UAL) at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda has launched their website. The UAL is run by Professor Shuaib Lwasa and his team of urban researchers and students and the Lab will make a crucial contribution from East Africa to pan-African attempts in facing urban challenges of the 21st century. By Henrik Ernstson Shuaib just sent out an email to a row of urban scholars that are all serious about contributing to urban sustainable and just cities through the particular experiences and challenges of Africa and the South. He writes: [A]fter several years of engaging in urban research, conceptual rethinking as well as solutions-oriented co-generation of knowledge with all of you at various points, we now have an online platform for sharing the knowledge while we continue to galvanise the understanding of urbanisation in sub-Saharan Africa. With Uganda and East Africa as the launch pad, the UAL is envisaged to grow into a regional knowledge hub and Centre focused on the various issues in regard to African Urbanism and sustainable urban development. For those going to the Habitat III conference in Quito, Ecuador 17-20 October 2016, the Urban Action Lab will exhibit in the Exhibition Hall. Shuaib Lwasa and PhD student Peter Kasaija, will […]