The Rethinking Global Cities Conference

Duke University, 5-7 February, 2015

The global city has been defined by prominence in the global economic system, extensive human capital, creative class talent, influence in geopolitical affairs, a large foreign-born population, world-renowned cultural institutions and major media outlets. However, traditional approaches to the global city have tended to emphasize economics over cultural and political factors; North American and European locales over Latin American, Middle Eastern and Asian urban spaces; social demographics over qualitative approaches; and social science methods over critical cultural analysis. Twenty-five years after the term “global city” was first coined, the Rethinking Global Cities Conference aims to reconceptualize approaches to the global city. Five conference panels of invited experts will focus on articulating new interpretations of the global city through the following categories: Curation, Infrastructure, Margins, Global Cities/Local Histories, and City/Novel/Film. There will also be a Graduate Student Panel of Duke students working on global city projects.

The Rethinking Global Cities Conference aims to excavate the experiential aspects of global cities. By identifying a network of cities across world regions, participants in this multi-disciplinary conference will put a new constellation of global cities into dialogue with each other in a way that also questions area studies and nation-state models. International experts will be joined by Duke faculty with research interests in specific cities that represent the core of this critical humanities conference: Bangkok (Ara Wilson); Beijing (Ralph Litzinger); Cape Town (Anne-Maria Makhulu); Dubai (miriam cooke); Istanbul (Erdağ Göknar); Bogatá (Miguel Rojas-Sotelo);  Hong Kong (Guo-Juin Hong); Tokyo (Gennifer Weisenfeld); Mumbai (Samathi Ramaswamy);  and Vienna (Malachi Hachohen). The general conference program is as follows (list of panelists forthcoming):

THURSDAY, February 5, 2015 (Thomas Room/ Lilly Library)

5:30 PM, Keynote: Nezar AlSayyad, Professor of Architecture, Design, Urban Planning & Urban History, UC Berkeley

“Virtual Uprisings: Tahrir Square”


FRIDAY, February 6, 2015 (Von Canon/Bryan Center)

9:00-9:15, Introduction 

(Erdağ Göknar & miriam cooke)

9:15-10:45, Session I: MARGINS 

(Chair: Ralph Litzinger, Duke)

  •  Erik Harms (Yale University)
  • Sasha Newell (North Carolina State University)
  • Robin Visser (University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill)


(Chair: Malachi Hachohen, Duke)

  • Wolfgang Maderthaner, Österreichisches Staatsarchiv (Austrian State Archives)
  • Andreas Weigl, Wiener Stadt – und Landesarchiv (University of Vienna & Municipal and Provincial Archive of the City of Vienna)

1:45-3:15, Session III: CURATION

(Chair: Miguel Sotelo / Gennifer Weisenfeld, Duke)

  • Jordan Sand (Georgetown University )
  • Jose Samper (Massachusetts Institute of Technology )
  • Monica Amor (Maryland Institute College of Art)

3:30-5:00, Session IV: CITY/NOVEL/FILM

Chair: Nancy Armstrong (Duke) 

  • Erdağ Göknar (Duke University)
  • Guo-Juin Hong (Duke University)
  • Ranjani Mazumdar (Jawaharlal Nehru University)


SATURDAY, February 7, 2015 (240 John Hope Franklin Center)

9:15-10:45, Session V: INFRASTRUCTURE 

(Chair: Ara Wilson, Duke)

  • Yan Song  (University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill)
  • Burak Erdim (North Carolina State University)
  • Brenda Chalfin  (University of Florida)

11:00-12:00 Faculty Roundtable on the Global City


A Duke project funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's "Partnership in a Global Age"