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Faculty of Communication SciencesUniversity of TampereFaculty of Communication Sciences
(Im)Possible Cities 2017

Keynote speakers

Ayona Datta is Reader in Urban Futures in King’s College London. Her broad research interests are in the critical geographies of smart urbanism, gender citizenships and urban futures in the global north and south. She is author of The Illegal City: Space, law and gender in a Delhi squatter settlement and co-editor of several books including Translocal geographies: Spaces, places, connections and Mega-urbanization in the global South: Fast cities and new urban utopias of the postcolonial state.

Dr. Datta's blog, The City Inside Out

Dr. Datta's title and abstract:

The Future is the City or the Future of the City? Speed, Scale and Territory in the Postcolonial Urban Age

The ‘future’, Appadurai notes, is a ‘cultural fact’ - a social construction that is borne from our knowledge of the past and present to become a time-space of certainty. In this lecture, I will explore how the future became the city – a ‘fact’ that is now widely accepted as a way out of the current global crises of rapid urbanization, migration and climate change. Using the context of the postcolonial state, I will argue that this fact upholds a utopian myth in the linearity of time, making the future a blank canvas to be imprinted with the tyranny of the urban, which obscures the prosaic transactions of the actually existing city. I will suggest that the future as the city has transformed the future of the city into a ‘test-bed’ of innovation in speed, scale and territorialisation seen in the new city-making exercises across the postcolonial world.


Eric Prieto is a Professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he teaches French and Comparative Literature. He is the author of Literature, Geography, and the Postmodern Poetics of Place and Listening In: Music, Mind, and the Modernist Narrative, as well as a variety of articles on Caribbean, environmental, spatial, and musical subjects. He is currently at work on a book-length project on informal urbanism.

Prof. Prieto's page

Prof. Prieto's title and abstract:

Literature and the Rhetorics of Urban Informality

This talk approaches the phenomenon of urban informality in the developing world through the problematics of representation, rhetoric, and ideology, interweaving close readings of literary texts with critical analyses of sociological and urban planning studies. I emphasize the "performative" ability of literary texts to generate new ways of seeing, mediating between the phenomenological discourses of individual experience and the hegemonic discourses of power in ways that are able to subtly but meaningfully inflect the latter. My talk will be organized around two geographical centers: Lagos, Nigeria and Istanbul, Turkey, examining literary works (by Chris Abani, Wole Soyinka, Maïk Nwosu, Orhan Pamuk, and Latife Tekin) that push back against established sociological and urbanistic categories that make it difficult to see informal settlements as more than just emblems of economic injustice or symptoms of social dysfunction. Along the way, I reflect on the methodological tools I draw on, including the geocritical emphasis on multifocalization, Jameson's conception of cognitive mapping, Glissantian notions of place and relational identity, and World Literature's attempts to rethink literary studies in terms of interconnected global processes rather than national traditions.


Note: Our conference will take place in Tampere back to back, and in collaboration, with another urban studies conference, Re-City 2017. This allows guests to participate in both conferences (i.e., two days in one, one day in the other).

Re-City 2017's confirmed keynote speaker for Friday, 25 August, is David Pinder (Professor, Chair in Space, Place, Mobility and Urban Studies at Roskilde University). His interests lie in urban studies, geography, planning and critical theory. He is the author of Visions of the City and numerous articles on utopia, and the production and imagination of urban space. 

Prof. Pinder's Roskilde University page

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Last update: 17.8.2017 13.25 Muokkaa

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