7 Feb 2012 5:00pm - 7:00pm CRASSH


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).


Audio available






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Part of the City Seminar series.
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