4 March 2022

Urban Inhabitation and the Urban Technical: An Inception Meeting

On Friday 18th March 1600-1800 GMT we will be hosting an online inception meeting to generate reflections and discussions around Urban Inhabitation and the Urban Technical with leading interdisciplinary scholars.

Urban Inhabitation and the Urban Technical

Urban Inhabitation and the Urban Technical is a cross-cutting theme that draws on insights across the Urban Institute's recent work to address questions of planetary ‘habitability’.

The aim is to push beyond some of the conventional notions concerning habitability, with a particular focus on how an expanded sense of technicity might open up new horizons for thinking about what the urban could be, and how it is actually lived by those often considered most marginal to it.

During the event AbdouMaliq Simone will introduce our prospectus and offer a provocation to which international interdisciplinary scholars will respond including:

  • Ash Amin, Chair of Geography, University of Cambridge
  • Beth Coleman, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto
  • Brian Larkin, Professor of Anthropology, Barnard College, Colombia University
  • Debra Benita Shaw, Reader in Cultural Theory, Department of Architecture and Visual Arts, University of East London
  • Jennifer Grabys, Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge
  • Joanna Zylinksa, Professor of Media Philosophy + Critical Digital Practice, King's College London
  • Kavita Philip, President’s Excellence Chair in Network Cultures, University of British Columbia
  • Luciana Parisi, Professor at the Program in Literature and Computational Media Art and Culture at Duke University
  • Neferti X. M. Tadiar, Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Barnard College, Columbia University
  • Philip Butler, Assistant Professor or Theology and Black Posthuman AI Systems, Affiliation: Iliff School of Theology.

The event will be online and places are free. Registration is required – sign up here. 

Speaker Biographies

# Ash Amin is 1931 Chair of Geography at Cambridge University. He is author with Nigel Thrift of Seeing Like a City, published by Polity, and in the last stages of completing his next book, called Frames of Coexistence, which looks at ways out of xenophobic nationalism. His latest book is Grammars of the Urban Ground, co-edited with Michele Lancione, published by Duke in May 2022.

# Beth Coleman is Associate Professor of Data & Cities at the Institute of Communication, Culture, Information and Technology and Faculty of Information, University of Toronto, where she directs the City as Platform lab. Working in the disciplines of Science and Technology Studies and Critical Race Theory, her research focuses on smart technology & machine learning, urban data, and civic engagement. She is the author of Hello Avatar and multiple articles addressing issues of smart cities, urban data, augmentation & experience design, and critical race, among others. 

# Brian Larkin is Professor of anthropology at Barnard College, Columbia University and the co-founder of Columbia’s Center for Comparative Media. His research examines the operations of media technologies in Nigeria. He has published on issues of infrastructure and urban space, technology and breakdown, piracy and intellectual property, religion and media, the global circulation of cultural forms, sound studies, and Nigerian film (Nollywood).  He is the author of Signal and Noise: Media Infrastructure and Urban Culture in Nigeria and co-editor of Media Worlds: Anthropology on New Terrain

# Debra Benita Shaw is a Reader in Cultural Theory at the University of East London where she teaches Photography and Visual Cultures. She is the author of Women, Science & Fiction: The Frankenstein Inheritance and Technoculture: The Key Concepts and co-editor of Radical Space: Exploring Politics and Practice. She is a critical posthumanist with interests in science fiction, urban studies and science and technology studies and has published widely in international journals. Her most recent book, Posthuman Urbanism: Mapping Bodies in Contemporary City Space, was published by Rowman & Littlefield International in 2017. She is also the founding editor of the Radical Cultural Studies series for Rowman & Littlefield and co-director of the Centre for Cultural Studies Research at UEL.

# Jennifer Gabrys is Chair in Media, Culture and Environment in the Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge. She leads the Planetary Praxis research group and is Principal Investigator on the ERC-funded project, Smart Forests: Transforming Environments into Social-Political Technologies. Her newest book, Citizens of Worlds: Open-Air Toolkits for Environmental Struggle, is forthcoming from University of Minnesota Press and is available on Manifold as an open-access publishing experiment. She co-edits the “Planetarities” short-monograph series published through Goldsmiths Press. Her work can be found at planetarypraxis.org and jennifergabrys.net

# Joanna Zylinska is an artist, writer and Professor of Media Philosophy + Critical Digital Practice at King’s College London. She is the author of a number of books – including AI Art: Machine Visions and Warped Dreams (Open Humanities Press, 2020), The End of Man: A Feminist Counterapocalypse (University of Minnesota Press, 2018), Nonhuman Photography (MIT Press, 2017) and Minimal Ethics for the Anthropocene (Open Humanities Press, 2014). Joanna is also involved in more collaborative publishing projects, often on an open-access basis. Her own art practice involves experimenting with different kinds of image-based media. She is currently researching perception and cognition as boundary zones between human and machine intelligence, while trying to map out scenarios for alternative futures.

# Kavita Philip is a historian of science and technology who has written about nineteenth-century environmental knowledge in British India, information technology in post-colonial India, and the intersections of art, science fiction, and social activism with science and technology. She is author of Civilizing Natures (2004), and Studies in Unauthorized Reproduction (forthcoming, MIT Press), as well as co-editor of five volumes curating new interdisciplinary work in radical history, art, activism, computing, and public policy. Find out more http://kavitaphilip.info/

# Luciana Parisi’s research is a philosophical investigation of technology in culture, aesthetics and politics. She is a Professor at the Program in Literature and Computational Media Art and Culture at Duke University.  She was a member of the CCRU (Cybernetic Culture Research Unit) and currently a co-founding member of CCB (Critical Computation Bureau). She is the author of Abstract Sex: Philosophy, Biotechnology and the Mutations of Desire (2004, Continuum Press) and Contagious Architecture. Computation, Aesthetics and Space (2013, MIT Press). She is completing a monograph on alien epistemologies and the transformation of logical thinking in computation.

# Neferti X. M. Tadiar is Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Barnard College, Columbia University. She is the author of the books, Things Fall Away: Philippine Historical Experience and the Makings of Globalization (2009) and Fantasy-Production: Sexual Economies and Other Philippine Consequences for the New World Order (2004). Her new book, Remaindered Life (Duke University Press, 2022), is an extended meditation on the disposability and surplus of life-making under contemporary conditions of global empire. Find out more https://barnard.edu/profiles/neferti-x-m-tadiar

# Philip Butler serves as the Assistant Professor of Theology and Black Posthuman Artificial Intelligence Systems at Iliff School of Theology, where he is also Partner Director of Iliff’s AI Institute. He is the founder of the Seekr Project, a distinctly Black conversational artificial intelligence with mental health capacities. His broader work focuses on the intersection of neuroscience, technology, spirituality and Blackness. He is the author of Black Transhuman Liberation Theology, and the editor of the recently released volume Critical Black Futures. 

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