05-08/09/18 Kosmos Workshop 2018. BEYOND URBAN TRANSFORMATION. Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Urban Everyday Life


The workshop "Beyond Urban Transformation. Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Urban Everyday Life" organized by Humboldt University, Harvard University and the University of Toronto brings together senior and junior scholars from urban anthropology, geography and design to collaborate on researching how urban transformation can be studied ethnographically from the perspective of everyday practice.

As ethnographers, geographers, artists and urban planners, our research models must navigate multiple scales of analysis in cities while committing to the fine-grained analysis of everyday life experiences of urban transformations, which reflect the larger scale processes of urban change. Under the broad theme of urban transformation, our workshop will focus on the two sub-themes of urban resilience and urban commons. The topics will be explored during the workshop through a detailed process of sharing about current research praxis and developing collaborative, interdisciplinary models for research engagement. We will focus on methodological approaches that generate "thick data" (as opposed to big data) about the practice of the urban everyday life. The workshop will focus explicitly on the connection between core theoretical concepts in urban studies, including resilience, urban commons, and practice, and their concomitant interdisciplinary methodological approaches. The workshop participants will develop new approaches to bridge theoretical concepts with interdisciplinary research methods.

The workshop will be the first step in publishing a special edition of a scientific journal (eg. City and Society) the following year. The workshop will include lectures from invited speakers, urban planners, artists, designers and architects as well as topical tours and excursions. As part of our skill-building approach, we integrate into our workshops and provide material and tools for urban ethnographic research. The invited Keynote speakers will provide a theoretical grounding to our methodological questions, while a collaboration with local artists and ethnographic writers will creatively enhance our approaches to urban ethnographic methods. Other activities will include a film screening and discussions with local activists as well as "Go-Alongs" and "Ethnographic Mapping" sessions in the field in Berlin. Each activity will be geared toward enhancing our interdisciplinary understanding of urban transformation. Throughout the workshop, Berlin's changing social and political dynamics will serve as a platform for comparing phenomena and dynamics observed in each of our research sites.




We specifically address Ph.D. students and early career scholars who are interested in the intersection of Urban Anthropology, Human Geography and Urban Design, but also welcome applicants from other disciplines at different stages with a strong background in the topics of this workshop. Please send your application including a short bio along with a 350-word description of your interest and previous experience in this workshop until May 15, 2018, to urbanethnographylab@gmail.com.

The language of the workshop is English. If you have any further questions feel free to contact us or see this website.

Workshop Host:
Urban Ethnography Lab, Georg Simmel Center for Metropolitan Studies
Humboldt-University of Berlin
Coordination: Carolin Genz, Aylin Yildirim Tschoepe

In cooperation with:
University of Toronto, Ethnography Lab, Toronto, Canada
Harvard University, Cambridge, USA
Humboldt-University of Berlin, Department for Geography, Germany

funded by KOSMOS - Excellence Initiative, Berlin, Germany


Prof. Dr. Alexa Färber


Professor, Urban Anthropology and Ethnography

M.Sc. Sebastian Bührig


Ph.D. Candidate