SE – Contemporary urban theory

PhD/Advanced Masters’ seminar & Excursion: Contemporary urban theory

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TISS Course No. 280.137
(inkl. TISS Course No. 280.123)

Aim of course

This seminar series is offered by an international team to doctoral students and advanced master students in urban studies (“Stadtforschung”), with the overall aim of providing an opportunity for the participants to discuss their PhD work as additional support in the development of their research theories and methods. The course is organized through informal group discussions of the students’ research projects. In particular, the seminar aims to help the students critically review, clarify, and receive constructive feedback on their own research projects, their aims, objectives, concepts and methods; learn about a range of theories and methods in urban research; develop the capacity for and engage in critical assessment of similar research projects; develop a friendly and supportive group of researchers who can benefit from knowing about each other’s work during the seminars and even afterwards.

Contemporary urban theory has developed apace over the last decade to consider the complex urban processes and issues that have risen as a result of globalisation, diversification of the economy, socio-demographic shifts,  neo liberal political agendas, migration  and growing concerns around the environment amongst many other salient issues. Urban studies now concerns itself also with new theoretical agendas which focus on questions of city materialities, mobilites, economies, differences, cultures, affect and politics making it an increasingly fascinating and stimulating field of study. Further, there is a growing interest in cities of the Global South, which has led to new ways of analysing the cities of the Global North which have been more significant in urban analysis to date. The seminar will have a particular emphasis on urban culture and public space, but contributions on other subjects are eligible. Doctoral students at any stage of their work from architecture, spatial planning, and more widely from social sciences and humanities, who are researching into urban issues are welcome to attend. Advanced master students who are in their final phase of writing their master thesis are most welcome as well.

Subject of course

The seminars will be interactive, delivered through several concentrated blocks in the autumn semester. After a general introduction, the students will each be allocated a 90-minute slot, in which their work is discussed in the group by the seminar tutors and other students. The students will prepare a text of 5-15 pages about their research and upload it on the course website at least one week in advance, so that the tutors and fellow students can read it in preparation for the session. In their allocated slot, the students first present their work (maximum 30 minutes), describing the subject of their research, their aims and objectives, their theoretical framework, their research methodology, and the results of their work so far. Students will be expected also to relate their research to contemporary urban theory through selected readings from the designated course text. The tutors and fellow students will then engage in a discussion about these points with the students, helping to clarify and develop the concepts and methods of the research project. The nature of the seminars is developmental, designed to help the students with constructive feedback. Furthermore, the students will benefit from the range of issues that are covered and discussed. The development of a friendly group atmosphere is an essential part of the course, and so it is important that all participants attend all the sessions and engage in supportive discussion of one another’s work.

Additional Information

Depending on the number of interested PhD and advanced master students, applicants might be asked to hand in an abstract of their research project in order to select up to 12 seminar participants.

The seminar will be held within teaching blocks in November (23rd and 24th) 2011 and January 2012 (17th and 18th).