Dr Karen E. Till (National
University of Ireland Maynooth)
In contrast to theorizing cities that have experienced disaster or trauma as
systems that need to become more resilient, in this talk Karen Till argues
that cities marked by past structures of violence and exclusion should be
understood as both wounded places and as environments that offer its
residents care. The talk draws upon her book in progress and ethnographic
research in Bogota, Cape Town and Roanoke, Virginia -- cities in which
settlement clearances have produced spaces so steeped in oppression that the
geographies of displacement continue to structure urban social relations.
She will introduce her concepts of 'wounded city', 'memory-work' and a
'place-based ethics of care' as a means of retheorizing the city. She
argues that the memory-work of artists, activists and residents offer
alternative models to imagine more socially just urban futures. A deeper
appreciation of the lived and place-based experiences and expertise of these
urban inhabitants would enable planners, policy makers and urban theorists
to consider more ethical and sustainable forms of urban change.
Karen Till's book in progress, Wounded Cities, is based on more than ten
years of ethnographic research and examines cities scarred by difficult
national histories (Berlin, Germany, Cape Town, South Africa, Bogotá,
Colombia, and Minneapolis and Roanoke, USA). The book engages recent debates
about divided, resilient and resurgent cities by incorporating ethnographic
and residents' insights, as well as relevant interdisciplinary discussions
about heritage and memory; rights and cosmopolitics; and collaborative
governance and civil society.
Her talk is
based on her just published article 'Wounded Cities' in Political
Geography 31 (1) (January 2012): 3-14, that includes responses by Rob
Shields, Jeff Garmany, and Kevin Ward, with Dr. Till's reply, and outlines some
of the major concepts in a preliminary fashion that will be discussed in depth
in the book.
Dr Karen Till is Lecturer in Geography at the National University of Ireland
Maynooth and Director of the Space&Place Research Collaborative.
Publications include her book The New Berlin: Memory, Politics, Place
(University of Minnesota Press, 2005).
Open to all. No registration required
Part of the City Seminar series.
For more information about the group, please visit the link on the right hand side of this page.