Date: November 13 – November 15 2017
Venue: Wallenberg Research Centre (STIAS), in Stellenbosch, South Africa
The Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS) and the African Centre for Cities (ACC) will jointly host a conference on Refractions of the National, the Popular, and the Global in African cities.
There has been a significant expansion of academic research on the specificities of African urbanisms, diverse urban imaginaries and politics over the last decade. In the wake of recent formal policy shifts in acknowledging the importance of urbanisation and pro-active policy making on the one hand, and a rise in urban-based social mobilization on the other, it is opportune to create an academic space for cross-pollination and reflection.
The theme of the conference is captured in its title: Refractions of the National, the Popular, and the Global in African cities. Each of the three issues may be interrogated as follows:
- How is the nationality and the nation-state manifested in the city, if at all? To what extent is the political and the social character of the state regime expressed in the city and its governance?
- To what extent, in what form, and with what effect have popular forces been able for make themselves heard and influential in the city, in recent years? Why or why not? We are here thinking of protest movements, of civic associations and of reform coalitions of progressive city government.
- To what extent and how has the recent and current commodity boom meant a globalization of the city? Influx of foreign capital, heating up of the real estate market, emergence or growth of financial and business services sectors, new business districts, luxury shopping, hotels, and leisure supply, immigration, skyscrapers, gated neighbourhoods, etc? How are proclaimed “world city” ambitions developing on the ground?
The conference programme is designed both to focus discussion on each of the three issues outlined above as well as to allow enough time for discussion from the participants.
The African Centre for Cities (ACC) is an interdisciplinary research and teaching programme focused on quality scholarship regarding the dynamics of unsustainable urbanisation processes in Africa, with an eye on identifying systemic responses.
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