Inequity and Urbanism in the Global South

A PhD course sponsored by University of Copenhagen, University of Amsterdam and New York University

Centre of Global South Asian Studies and the PhD programme at Department of Cross Cultural and Regional Studies are organising its 4th annual collaborative workshop for doctoral students at New York University. This time Amsterdam University has joined the NYU-Copenhagen initiative as well.

In 2012, the World Economic Forum at Davos lauded ‘the great transformation’ of economic liberalization in Asia, Africa and Latin America. In 2013, the UNDP Human Development Report similarly argued that rapid progress in the Global South is driving a shift in global dynamics, lifting hundreds of millions out of poverty into a global middle class. Amidst economic crises in the North, this optimism has focused attention on ‘emerging markets’ where economic liberalization has built new foundations for global prosperity.

National economies in Asia, Africa and Latin America are now routinely showcased for global investors as success stories of structural adjustment and economic reforms. Such direct linkages between state policy and social progress have been debated throughout modern history but are now particularly poignant as a financial crisis, climate change, and increasing inequity and social disruption generate human costs that call into question the ability of ‘free markets’ to sustain improving human conditions.  A 2015 Oxfam report adds to this debate, in the wake of Thomas Picketty’s path-breaking research, by showing that the world’s richest one-percent are on track to control half of all wealth, by 2016, in a world where eighty multi-billionaires now own as much as the 3.5 billion people who occupy the bottom half of world income ranks.

Cities are intense focal points for this double trend of increasing social mobility, economic growth and prosperity along with deepening inequity in a ‘planet of slums’ replete with vast hinterlands of rural impoverishment. Our multi-disciplinary dissertation workshop will focus again in 2015 on the inequity of globalization in and around urban centers of the global South. We will bring work together from various theoretical and empirical perspectives, including but not limited to fields of history, sociology, anthropology, political science, political economy and development studies. 

We invite doctoral candidates who have completed substantial dissertation research on any aspect of urbanized inequity in the world of globalization to discuss their work at a two-day workshop in New York City on 12-13 June, 2015.