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Global Urban History Project

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Four "Dream Conversations" in Urban History

An Open Invitation to:
Participants, Proposers, Collaborators, Organizers, Co-Leaders,
Mentors, and Mentees

Join us as we dig deep into four ongoing conversations on:

Theory, For, Of, and By Urban Historians
Cities, Empires, and their (Dis)contents
Cities and Inequalities

Cities and the Anthropocene

Upcoming Events

At an Open House in 2020 and several "Visioning" and brainstoming meetings this past summer, GUHP members decided for the time being to pivot the Project's programming away from large single-event conferences and toward ongoing, multi-event, multi-genre, multi-year "Dream Conversations."

The name of these events comes from the main discussion topic at these meetings: What do you want to talk about most in global urban history - what is your "Dream Conversation?"

The answer? Four enormous, field-challenging topics of conversation.
These "Dream Conversations" will begin in 2021-22 and continue for as long as participants find them useful.
Keep an eye out for announcements of events beginning in October.

The Co-Cordinators of each Conversation will also administer this year's GUHP Mentorship Program

For more general information on the Dream Conversations and to learn about many ways to participate, see below.

For contact information and to share ideas about events or collaborations with the coordinators of any of the four conversations, follow the links to the webpage for each topic above. 

If you are interested in starting up a fifth conversation, we are interested in you. Contact Carl Nightingale, GUHP's Coordinator.

"Dream Conversations" : General Information

Format: These four conversations will take the form of series of events of many genres scheduled over the entire academic year and beyond. They will take place fully online or in hybrid form, hopefully at some point involving in-person groups in several locations connected by on-line conference platforms. Various kinds of more informal meet-and-greet networking events may be scheduled at these events as well. All conversations will be recorded and available through GUHP Vids. Each event will include a half hour “business session” open to all participants following the substantive portion of the event devoted to planning next directions.

Co-Convenors: Each conversation will be coordinated by a team of three to five co-conveners. Regular attendees may rotate into convener positions over the course of the multi-year period during which the conversation is active.

Audience: Anyone interested in urban history and who joins GUHP as a member is invited to join any of the four conversations. They will involve researchers from across the world. They they will include historians and anyone from other fields who wants to talk more to historians. Co-coordinators should think about chronological diversity as well as potential for comparison and connective analysis across time and space.

Emerging Scholars: The four conversations will highlight the participation of emerging scholars. At the beginning of the year, coordinators will appoint two to three Emerging Scholars from that year’s pool of applicants. Successful applicants will participate in that year’s GUHP Critical Conversation events. Coordinators will match them with mentors for the year who will prepare their work for discussion at a future event. Each emerging scholar will receive a $500 stipend.

Genre: Coordinators will organize events of changing genres on a rolling basis, beginning each event with substantive conversation and scheduling half hour post-event strategy sessions, open to all participants, to plan future conversation based on salient themes from that day’s interchange. These can include invited speakers, panels, public pro-seminars, new book discussions, workshops, works in progress discussions, and other types of events.

Cross-group Conversations: Co-convenors from the four groups will sometimes co-sponsor cross-group conversations involving speakers that are relevant to more than one conversation working group. These can lead to mini-conferences and even full-blown GUHP-sponsored collaborations with other allied institutions.

Role of Conversation Co-Convenors: Co-Convenors are responsible for naming and describing the missin of the conversation and will determine how many events their group puts on each year and when, and will conduct advanced publicity. All convenors will be trained to use the GUHP website for group emails and to use the GUHP facebook and Twitter accounts for publicity. They can opt to reach out to communication teams from other urban studies associations for further publicity. Some working groups may opt to divide into smaller groups that pursue a subtheme of their larger mandate.

Scheduling: Timing of events will fluctuate to enable scholars from multiple time zone to participate in relative comfort. Note that this means that some events will start as early as 4 am for some scholars (this wake-up time is similar to that required to catch an early flight to a conference, so it mimics pre-pandemic professional practice to some degree).

Scheduling Coordination: Timing of events should be made a spontaneous as possible, but also in coordination with a GUHP master schedule that will be agreed upon, perhaps by assigning each group a week out of every month or a few two-week windows each semester. Not all co-convenors need to be present at all events if this helps with scheduling.

Recording/GUHPVids: All conversations will be recorded and made available on the GUHP Vids You-Tube channel for those who miss a conversation but want to keep in the loop. These recordings will constitute one of GUHP’s enduring academic products. Post-event commentary or interviews and group reflections based on these videos can serve as the basis for blog posts, transcriptions, or highlights videos.

Products: Co-Coordinators can commission blog entries for the Global Urban History blog, make recommendations for new Elements in Global Urban History in consultation with the editors of the series. Coordinators can explore other publication options and collaborative products, including a potential podcast series and pedagogical modules
Additional Dream Conversations: We welcome your ideas!