Fage lecture 2019 - Propositions of the (non)urban: dancing the future away

Muirhead G15
Wednesday 22 May 2019 (17:00-18:30)

Professor Abdoumaliq Simone (University of Sheffield)

The Fage Lecture is DASA’s annual lecture, given by a distinguished Africanist scholar. This year’s Fage Lecturer, Professor Abdoumaliq Simone is Senior Professorial Fellow at the Urban Institute at the University of Sheffield.

Prof Simone is a leading voice in the studies of the urban. His work deals with the multiplicity of relationships and interactions that make cities persist and thrive, combining story-telling, urban theory and critical thinking. His books For the City to Come (Duke University Press, 2004), City Life from Jakarta to Dakar (Routledge 2009) and Improvised Lives (Polity 2018) document how provisional and situated collaborations among citizens and their journeys across the city shape urban living, while also constituting an untapped repertoire of possibilities for imagining urban futures.

For this year’s Fage Lecture, Prof Simone will explore the place of the (non)urban.

Recent analysis on extended urbanization has productively demonstrated the various ways in which urbanization processes not only extend themselves across various landscapes, through various forms of deterritorialization and reterritorialization, but also come to operate through an expansive set of logics and modalities. The extension is then not simply the expansionism of a coherent set of mechanisms for capital accumulation, not simply the incursion of the city upon a periphery. It is not simply the reformatting of space according to a coherent set of regulations, investments, or spatial products. For this extensivity instigates a more uncertain terrain, that which can be understood as the (non)urban, whether it refer to constellations of life for which we have no present words, for opaque spaces and operations that impact upon everyday life but without clear causation, or to relationships among places, actors, materials, and things that simply do not “compute”, that are in no obvious relationship. Mobilizing a choreography of blackness, affect, and “dirty computing”, the (non)urban is elaborated as a proposition of urban life within its multiple margins.

The lecture will take place on Wednesday 22 May at 5pm in G15 Lecture Room, Muirhead Tower, University of Birmingham. It will be followed by a drinks reception. All are welcome to join us.