17 May 2022

The Surrounds: Urban Life Within and Beyond Capture

Congratulations to Professor Simone on the publication of his new book "The Surrounds" by Duke University Press, which offers a new theorisation at the interface of the urban and the political.

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In April, Professor AbdouMaliq Simone took part in a workshop at the Institute for Humanities, University of Illinois Chicago, on Capture/Connect/Shift: Infrastructure, Blackness and Racial Capital. A workshop was followed by a Public Conversation looking at Urban Life and Black Abolitionist Ontologies which provided an opportunity to launch Professor Simone’s new book, The Surrounds, by Duke University Press. 

Working at the intersection of Black studies, urban theory, and decolonial and Islamic thought, Simone centers the surrounds—those urban spaces beyond control and capture that exist as a locus of rebellion and invention. He shows that even in clearly defined city environments, whether industrial, carceral, administrative, or domestic, residents use spaces for purposes they were not designed for: schools become housing, markets turn into classrooms, tax offices transform into repair shops. The surrounds, Simone contends, are where nothing fits according to design. They are where forgotten and marginalized populations invent new relations and ways of living and being, continuously reshaping what individuals and collectives can do. Focusing less on what new worlds may come to be and more on what people are creating now, Simone shows how the surrounds are an integral part of the expansiveness of urban imagination.

The introduction can be downloaded and read free on the Duke Press website.

The Surrounds draws on a number of lectures given by Professor Simone over the past few years, including the Sheffield Urbanism Lecture series. You can listen to his lectures on the Urban Institute Youtube Channel here. 

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