Feb 19, 2014
Urban Theory Lab researchers were privileged this week to have a lunchtime seminar with one of the great urban theorists of our time, Manuel Castells, the author of many of the most foundational and influential books in our field, including The Urban Question (1972), The City and the Grassroots (1983), The Informational City (1989), The Rise of the Network Society (1996), Communication Power (2009) and Networks of Outrage and Hope (2012). Professor Castells' engagement with the Urban Theory Lab occurred admist a busy 2-day visit to the GSD, in which he also presented public lectures to larger audiences on "The Space of Autonomy: Cyberspace and Urban Space in Networked Social Movements" and "Urbanism in the Information Age: Places, Flows, Networks." Our research group was delighted to have the opportunity to dialogue with Professor Castells about his past and present research agendas, and to receive his feedback on some of our ongoing research projects. Along with the intellectual nourishment we received from his visit, we were all quite charmed by Professor Castell's personal warmth and intellectual generosity, and by his refreshingly joyful approach to scholarship, dialogue and debate. Thank you, Manuel Castells, for a wonderful and inspiring visit to the GSD!
Sep 26, 2014
During a very busy two weeks of teaching and lecturing at MIT-DUSP, our friend and colleague Professor Ananya Roy (UC Berkeley) very generously agreed to spend some time in dialogue with us at the Urban Theory Lab. Along with her podcast interview, Professor Roy led a wide-ranging discussion of her work with Urban Theory Lab researchers and other close associates during a lunchtime seminar. Key topics of discussion included her approach to postcolonial urban theory and “Southern” theory, the question of worlding cities, the status of theory in urban research, the nature of critique, the question of reflexivity, and recent debates in the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research regarding the status of “the city” as concept and reality. This exchange was an extremely productive opportunity to brainstorm together about some of the many epistemological, substantive and political challenges with which the field of critical urban studies is today confronted. We look forward to continued dialogue with Professor Roy as she develops innovative new approaches to urban theory and research in the years ahead.