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IGK Annual Conference 2016 in Berlin: "UrbanTopias: Discussing the Challenges of Changing Cities"


Cities are characterized by uncertainty and contingency. They have become the primary sites where societal transformations transpire first and where answers have to be found. Thus cities are the uneven landscapes of both fears and hopes, dystopian and utopian urban spaces, of what could be called UrbanTopias.

The 5th Annual Conference of the International Graduate Research Program Berlin-New York-Toronto “The World in the City: Metropolitanism and Globalization from the 19th Century to the Present” invites urban scholars and activists to discuss the challenges of changing cities. Throughout global history the dialectic of fear and hope has always been strongest during moments of crisis and transformation whether through political and artistic movements, technological and infrastructural innovations, or societal revolutions.

Together, we will firstly explore the multiple forces of threats and anxieties, as they shape urban reality. Secondly, we examine practices of resistance and adaptations to urban transformations. Thirdly, we investigate different conceptualizations of the urban future, and its particular relationships of time and space. Finally, a roundtable discussion concludes the conference and invites a number of panelists, together with the audience, to debate the future of urban studies.

October 27th-29th, 2016, Berlin

IGK Annual Conference 2015 in Toronto: "Inhabited Futures / Constructed Pasts"


The annual conference of the International Graduate Research Program Berlin - New York - Toronto “The World in the City: Metropolitanism and Globalization from the 19th Century to the Present” took place November 19th - 21st, 2015 at the University of Toronto and York University. In a series of co-teachings, lectures, and poster presentations, conference participants dealt with the theme "Inhabited Futures / Constructed Pasts."

For the full program, click here

IGK Annual Conference 2014 in Berlin: “Metropolitan Temporalities”


The 3rd annual conference of the International Graduate Research Program Berlin - New York - Toronto “The World in the City: Metropolitanism and Globalization from the 19th Century to the Present” took place at the Center for Metropolitan Studies/Technical University Berlin From November 20th-22nd 2014.

The conference explored the question what role time plays in the characterization of the metropolis and the global processes that sustain metropolitan life. Over the past three decades, both urban studies and globalization studies have predominately focused on spatial concerns, often neglecting the important temporal dimensions of global urban development. The conference therefore aimed to systematically examine the diverse temporal aspects of global exchange and metropolitan development.

Urban temporalities not only affect the historicization of the past, present, and future, but they also raise questions about changing social structures, patterns of living and the local and global spatialization of the urban. For instance, conceptions and perceptions of time change dramatically during periods of social upheaval, or as the result of technological innovations (e.g. the standardization of times through “railway time”, the organization of working hours according to technical “requirements”). Time is also central to cultural differentiation and religious segregation (e.g. observance of a day of worship in the three main world religions). Struggles over the regulation of time have been a field of control and contestation throughout colonialism and postcolonialism. Throughout the course of globalization, during which the world became interconnected through transport and telecommunication networks and the intensification of exchange of goods, information, and people, different notions of time have often collided, especially in metropolitan contexts.


Please find the panel descriptions here.

IGK Annual Conference 2013 in Toronto: "Empire, City, Nature"


The second annual International Graduate Program Berlin – New York - Toronto conference took place May 30 – June 2, 2013 in Toronto.  The theme for 2013 was “Empire, City, Nature” and was conceived in connection with the work of recently deceased geographer and urbanist Neil Smith (City University of New York).  Neil Smith is best known for his countless contributions to the theoretical understanding of gentrification and production of space.  IGK-Fellows and professors from Berlin engaged in far-reaching discussions and exchange with our partners from New York and Toronto.   The conference included 11 panels and several key-note lectures. Click here to see the complete program of events. 

IGK Annual Conference 2012 in Berlin: "Urban–Activism–Scholarship"


The first annual International Graduate Program Berlin – New York – Toronto conference took place November 2nd and 3rd, 2012 in Berlin under the title "Urban–Activism–Scholarship. Global Discourses in Local, Historical and Contemporary Contexts“. IGK fellows and affiliate members, as well as domestic and international guest scholars, exchanged ideas on urban activism from both historical and contemporary perspectives.  Over the course of the two-day conference, which included lectures, panel and podium discussions, and film screenings, the growing connection between urban scholarship and protest was analyzed and critically challenged.  The event concluded with an excursion to Künstlerhaus Bethanien at Mariannenplatz in Berlin-Kreuzberg, where attendants received onsite perspectives into the political protests and squatter scene in Kreuzberg in the 1970s.

Click here for a complete conference report by IGK fellows Afia Afenah, Marcela Arrieta und Johanna Rohlf.

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