GUHP's Four Dream Conversations
The Emerging Scholars Workshops will be associated with one of the four "Dream Conversations", a series of events that began in 2021 will continue during the academic year 2022-23. Applicants should select a first and second choice of workshop from one of the four Conversation topics.
Conversation #1: Theory For, Of, and By Urban Historians
What would happen if urban historians took an inventory of our theoretical vocabulary, checked its archaeology, reassessed its usefulness, exposed its blind spots, rediscovered overlooked alternatives, especially from scholarship in the Global South, re-calibrated the proportion of concepts from different sources, searched elsewhere for useful theory, asked what we might do without theory, or even generated concepts of our own that feel better to us as primary researchers? Over the course of this Conversation, we hope to find answers to those questions. We also hope to begin suggesting theoretical approaches of our own that honor our complex archives and our professional commitment not only to spatial scales from the urban to the global but to change over time.
Conversation #2: Cities, Empire, and its (Dis)Contents
Cities, Empire, and its (Dis)Contents, c. 1500-2000 is particularly interested in, but not limited to inter-, trans-, post- and comparative imperial cases of the global urban. Examples include: anti-colonial, abolitionist, and decolonizing networks, methods and memories; inter-city competitions and hierarchies; inter-municipal relationships; compared urban "citizenship"; cities' di- or synchronically governed by multiple empires; internationally governed cities; compared ambivalences; e.g. cities as sites of resistance and oppression or of imperial confidence and doubt. We also have a particular interest in case studies and conceptual texts connecting imperial cases of the global urban to other burgeoning scholarly concerns, often comparatively. Examples are: cities as disconnectors; colonialism and vs. settler colonialism; urban-rural relations (where "is" the city?); environmental dimensions; and most broadly, how to (not) to square "the global" and "the imperial: through the lens of cities.
Conversation #3: Cities and Inequalities
This Conversation will foreground inequality in urban history, locating it within cities while remaining attentive to global patterns, connections, forces, and processes. Investigating inequality within such spaces and in the historical context of urbanization affords us the opportunity to contribute theories and models as historians of the global urban. In exploring the interplay between global connectivity, social differentiation and hierarchies within cities, our GUHP conversation seeks to speak to the field of global history, and through it, to the broader social-science debates about inequality, from which historians have too often been absent.
Conversation #4: Cities and the Anthropocene
Can global urban historians engage the concept of the Anthropocene? This conversation is devoted to the temporal, spatial, theoretical, disciplinary, and moral challenges of doing so. As we engage with geologists and climate scientists, we rethink our relationship to such concepts as “global city and “planetary urbanization.” We think on many time scales at once: how can our sources, overwhelmingly focused on choppier rhythms of political time, help us understand how urban life pulses in tune with geological time or with long cyclical patterns in the relationship between Earth and Sun? Spatially, we treat cities as one of many layers of geological stratigraphy, and trace their deep links to such Earthly spaces as fields, forests, grasslands, mountains, marshes, rivers, estuaries, oceans, and the atmosphere. Morally, we must keep our eye squarely focused on cities’ role in human and environmental justice. Can the lens of the Anthropocene help global urban historians usefully sharpen questions about inequality, rights to the city, and the right to water, food, land, labor, and wealth?