By Susan Moffat
What does the first year of an experiment in the emerging field of urban humanities look like on the campuses of two major public universities? At a recent Los Angeles symposium, it was described by participants as diverse, exciting, and surprisingly unsettling. Over the past year, in parallel experiments at UCLA and UC Berkeley, graduate students explored Tokyo, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area using methods from film theory, anthropology, architecture, urban planning, history, art practice and other fields. Both faculty and students came from a wide variety of humanistic and design disciplines and wrestled with the creative and epistemological tensions inherent in interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary work.
On June 11, 2014, participants in the UC Berkeley Global Humanities Initiative and the UCLA Urban Humanities Initiative gathered at UCLA’s Perloff Hall to review student projects and reflect on teaching and learning experiences at a symposium called “Anxieties of Interdisciplinarity: Projects in the Urban Humanities.” These are two among of a growing number of initiatives funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in its Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities program, and the UCLA-UC Berkeley teams are meeting for joint symposia about twice a year to share notes and exchange ideas.
For notes on the student projects and a summary of discussions, click here.
Susan Moffat is Project Director of the UC Berkeley Global Urban Humanities Initiative.
Photo credit: markystar.wordpress.com
By Michael Dear
The Association of American Geographers (AAG), in cooperation with Routledge publishers, is sponsoring the launch of a new academic journal entitled GEOHUMANITIES. This exciting development is obviously of great interest to the Mellon-funded Global Urban Humanities Initiative, and will likely be a major catalyst for growth of work in the broader transdisciplinary realm.
The AAG requests applications from individuals interested in becoming one of two co-editors of the journal. Very importantly, the Association plans to appoint one co-editor from Geography, and one from the Humanities (broadly understood). The announcement with complete information on the editorship can be viewed here.
As someone who has long been involved in the AAG's Geohumanities initiative, I strongly encourage Humanities colleagues to lend their support to this promising development. Past work of the Geohumanities Initiative includes the publications of the essay collections Geohumanities: Art, History, and Text at the Edge of Place and Envisioning Landscapes, Making Worlds.
Michael Dear, Professor of City and Regional Planning at UC Berkeley, is a member of the Global Urban Humanities Initiative (GloUH) Steering Committee. In spring 2014 he co-taught with Assistant Professor Weihong Bao a GloUH-sponsored course on urban theory and media theory called The City and Its Moving Images. In February 2014, Professor Dear organized an interdisciplinary symposium focused on geohumanities associated with that course.