PhD workshop: The Asian City – University of Copenhagen

ADI Conference 2019 > PhD workshop: The Asia...

11th Annual International ADI Conference | 18-19 June 2019   

Asian Dynamics Initiative, University of Copenhagen
South Campus, Njalsgade 120, 2300 Copenhagen S

The Asian City

Theory, Method, Debates

Organised by Ravinder Kaur, Sarah Swider, Jørgen Delman

The emergence of mega-cities across Asia is predicated upon entwined processes of rapid industrialization, historic demographic change, accumulation of wealth, and steep economic inequality in the 21st century. The economic, social, political, environmental, and cultural production of the Asian city is entangled with the countryside through modes of circulation of natural resources, labor, people, commodity production, and financial flows. The Asian city is not only a ‘concrete’ manifestation of Asia’s economic prosperity in the form of modern architectural wonders, neon-lit skyscrapers, new spaces of consumption and leisure. It is also a site of dispossession, disadvantage, environmental degradation, resource scarcity, and socio-political struggle. These manifold contradictions and anxieties are shaped along the axes of climate change and sustainability, citizenship and belonging, security and privacy, and pressures upon urban infrastructure and space.

The questions we are interested in concern the Asian city as a speculative site of exploration of urban futures in the 21st century. How might cities be redesigned and retrofitted to meet the basic human needs such as nourishment, transportation, housing, healthcare, and livability? What kind of tensions and politics are being shaped within these old and new contestations over scarce resources, public and private spaces, and the right to inhabit and exploit those spaces? How are cities made “smart”, and what kind of social technologies, cultural practices, and historical memory are required to maintain these urban utopias that function not only by market driven inclusion but also by excluding a vast majority of poor citizens? Put differently, how might the city of the future look like? We propose to examine these theoretically driven enquiries through rich empirical studies from Asia within the trans-disciplinary fields of urban studies, Asian studies, sociology, political science, anthropology, and development studies.

Workshop Format

The author introduces the paper/project (10 minutes) followed by peer comments + faculty discussants’ comments + open discussion.


19 June
Room 22.1.49

Session 1 -- 9:00-11:00

Rubkwan Thammaboosadee, Theatre and Performance Studies, University of Warwick
Performing Happiness in Neoliberal Thailand: Performances of happiness in the everyday life in Bangkok
Peer to peer comments: Yamini Krishna

Yamini Krishna, Film studies and Visual Culture, The English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU), Hyderabad
Labor and spatial geography of film making district of Hyderabad
Peer to peer comments: Rubkwan Thammaboosadee

Discussants: Trine Brox, University of Copenhagen and Kajri Jain, University of Toronto

Session 2 -- 13:15-15:15

Federico Picerni, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice/Heidelberg University
Migrant-worker writing in the social space of China’s contemporary city
Peer to peer comments: Otso Harju

Otso Harju, Gender Studies, University of Helsinki
Young, middle-to-upper class, upper caste feminists negotiate Delhi, patriarchy and privilege
Peer to peer comments: Federico Picerni

Discussants: Sarah Swider and Ravinder Kaur, University of Copenhagen

Session 3 -- 15:30-17:30

Andreas Michael Østerby-Jørgensen, Department of Sociology and Social Work, Aalborg University
Social Justice with Chinese Characteristics
Peer to peer comments: Benjamin Linder 

Benjamin Linder, Anthropology, University of Illinois at Chicago
Mobility, Cosmopolitanism, and the Productions of Place in Kathmandu, Nepal
Peer to peer comments: Andreas Michael Østerby-Jørgensen

Discussants: Sarah Swider and Rune Bennike, University of Copenhagen

Organizing Committee

Ravinder Kaur, Associate Professor, South Asian Studies, Department of Cross-cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen

Sarah Swider, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Copenhagen

Jørgen Delman, Professor, China Studies, Department of Cross-cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen

Participants in the workshop will receive 3 ECTS.