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News and Events

Cities@SAS Seminars

Wednesday, 25 Jan, SH 246 at 18H00

Christoph Lindner (Oregon)

Travels in Spectral Urbanism: Dead Space in Detroit, Mumbai, and Amsterdam

Moving between vacant architecture, derelict homes, ghost skyscrapers, and dormant museums, this talk explores the ways in which contemporary “aesthetics of slowness” associated with postindustrial decay and urban poverty travel between cities in the era of globalization. The focus is on how ruins and their afterlives produce various forms of spectral urbanism, shape the visual and institutional imaginaries of cities, and contribute to the neoliberal revivification of dead space.

Christoph Lindner is Professor and Dean of the School of Architecture and Allied Arts at the University of Oregon. His books include Imagining New York City: Literature, Urbanism and the Visual Arts (Oxford University Press, 2015), as well as the edited volumes Deconstructing the High Line (Rutgers University Press, 2017), Cities Interrupted (Bloomsbury, forthcoming 2016), Global Garbage (Routlege, 2015), and Inert Cities (I.B. Tauris, 2014).

Cities in Theory – Reading Group

All are welcome to join our informal reading group (meeting dates and locations below) which explores theoretical writing (cultural theory, literary theory etc) in relation to cities. Each session will be led by someone different and the texts circulated in advance followed by discussion over a glass of wine. Our first session is on extracts from Jean-Paul Clébert’s Paris insolite (Paris: Denoël, 1952) in the 2009 Attila edition. It is translated as Paris Vagabond (New York Books Review Classics, 2016). Our first session will be led by Professor Keith Reader (Glasgow) on 14 November, 16h30.

TEXTS: Paris Insolite (Eng) and Paris insolite (fr)

Other dates:

TEXTS: alpine-architektur-letters and alpine-architektur-images

TEXT: amin-thrift_citiessas_jan17

If you wish to attend or indeed wish to lead any of the free sessions drop a line to Dr Claire Launchbury ( Texts will be circulated at least a week in advance of each session.

Urban Forum: Making Sense of the City

Our first Urban Forum takes place on 24 November, IHR, Wolfson Suite 2 at 14h30. Exploring different ways of sensing the city through touch, sound or smell, we have two guest speakers. Dr Hannah Thompson (Royal Holloway) who will talk about blindness and the city and Dr Katrina Gulliver, a historian and journalist, who will present her emerging research on urban sensory experience. While the purpose of the meeting is to encourage new collaborations across the School of Advanced Study, the forum is open to all. To register please drop a line to Dr Claire Launchbury:

Workshop on Urban Beaches, IHR, 10 November

We are hosting an informal workshop on ideas and thoughts about the urban beach on 10 November.


10h30 Welcome. Tea and Coffee

11h00: Laleh Khalili (SOAS)  ‘Promenading on the Corniche and beachgoing in Beirut’

12h00: Lunch

12h30: Panel

Elsa Devienne (Princeton): Shifting Sands: A Social and Environmental History of Los Angeles’s Beaches, 1920s-1970s

Dominic Glynn (IMLR): on Paris plages

Michelle Nicholson-Sanz (QMUL): on urban beaches in Spain.

14h00: Round Table

15h00: Closes.

Register here:

Cities@SAS away day, Warburg Institute 17 June

Following our launch at the beginning of June, colleagues are meeting to discuss how to develop the initiative in terms of our public engagement, in research facilitation and promotion and in new collaborations across the different Institutes which form the School of Advanced Study. Hosted by the Warburg Institute. The away day is for University of London staff but we always welcome input and ideas. For information contact Dr Claire Launchbury (

Cities@SAS Launch Events: 1 June.

Part 1: Showcasing Cities@SAS

Wolfson Suite, IHR 15h

This event showcased the diversity of disciplinary approaches to all things urban at the School of Advanced Study, University of London. Scholars from different Institutes talk about their research on different urban spaces across the world. We reflect on our different approaches to the city through cultural studies, classics, art history, modern history and modern languages.

Godela Weiss-Sussex (IMLR): Berlin

Matthew Davies (IHR, director CMH): London

Claire Launchbury (IMLR/IHR, director Cities@SAS initiative): Beirut

Greg Woolf (director, ICS): Urban apes

Joanne Anderson (Warburg): Innsbruck

Tom Hulme (IHR-CMH): Chicago

16h30-17h00: Tea and Networking.


Part 2: Cityscapes: Past, Present and Future

Macmillan Hall, 17h

Professor Laleh Khalili chaired a series of provocations and lively discussion on cityscapes with: –

Darran Anderson (author, Imaginary Cities)

Irena Bauman (architect, Bauman-Lyons, University of Sheffield)

Tim Hitchcock (University of Sussex)

Paul Mason (journalist and author of Postcapitalism: A Guide to our Future)

Karl Sharro (architect and co-author of Manifesto: Towards a New Humanism in Architecture).

Wine Reception to follow.

Book here:






Past Events



Jean Cayrol

Jean Cayrol

Concentrationary Art and the Reading of Everyday Life

Max Silverman (University of Leeds)

The familiar roll-call of poets and critics of everyday life normally starts with Baudelaire (at least in French Studies) and takes in Apollinaire, Surrealism, Benjamin, Lefebvre, Barthes, Perec, Situationism and Certeau, amongst other city strollers and ludic re-inventors of the banal. Max Silverman argues that an overlooked figure in this tradition is the poet, novelist, critic and former concentration camp survivor Jean Cayrol. By inserting Cayrol and concentrationary art into the tradition of poets and critics of everyday life we can re-evaluate the nature of the ideological challenge to capitalism in post-war France and recover hidden connections between cultural practices, theory and history which are often overlooked.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Senate House, Rm 246 17h-19h30

For information contact Dr Claire Launchbury (