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8 August 2019
Built Form, Design, and the Politics of the City

(Published - 8 August 2019)

During August, UWC’s Centre for Humanities Research (CHR) will host two visiting scholars - Steve Akoth from Kenyatta University and Tom Asher from Columbia University. Akoth and Asher will run a seminar titled Built Form, Design, and the Politics of the City, which will explore how spatial formations have been taken up as an object of analysis.

The seminar will run from August 8 to15,2019. A description  of the course reads as follows:

In this seminar, over the course of three sessions, we explore two recently published texts that take up spatial formations as an object of analysis – one by Saskia Sassen and a second by Richard Sennett – in order to open up questions about creative placemaking and destructive forces of capital, community and power, global forms and local contexts, research methods and theory building.

These texts represent two very different ways of assessing social phenomena, built form, and urban ethics. They operate at distinct scales and mobilise very different forms of evidence to make their arguments. In paying heed to what binds and distinguishes their texts, we will explore what can we learn from each about the craft of scholarship, the stakes of intellectual argumentation, the obligations of researchers to both their fields and to the communities with which they work, and distinctions between scholarship based in critique versus scholarship that seeks possibilities for remaking the world it interprets.

This seminar is intended for urbanists, those who think spatially about problem areas, and those interested in debates about how scholarship might inform practice and theory building alike.

For more information, please contact Micaela at