"Lineages of the Global City"
Assistant Professor of Art History, Theory and Criticism, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Tuesday, October 2, 12-1:30pm
Part of the Global Urban Humanities Colloquium The City and Its People, Rhetoric 198-3 / ARCH 198-2, Rhetoric 244A / ARCH 298-2
Designers, policymakers, and social scientists ubiquitously define the global city as a network of spaces at the forefront of contemporary economic globalization. This pervasive way of thinking about the inter-relations between urbanity and economy emphasizes the technological and institutional devices by which national markets become globally integrated, while relegating urban design to a peripheral role as either witting accomplice or quixotic opponent of dominant interests. In contrast, this paper recovers a notion of urban design as a mode of training the imagination to use the globalizability of capital to dream, feel, sense, and think democratically. Drawing on the example of designs for a Cité Mondiale by the Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier and the Belgian pacifist Paul Otlet in 1920s Switzerland and its afterlife in 1950s India, this paper notates how the interwar discourse of the global city clarifies the conceptual boundaries of the contemporary discourse by the same name.
Shiben Banerji is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and author of the forthcoming book Lineages of the Global City. Research towards this book was generously supported by a Mellon Junior Fellowship in the Humanities, Urbanism, and Design from the University of Pennsylvania, a research fellowship from the Earl and Brenda Shapiro Center for Research and Collaboration, and a William Bronson Mitchell and Grayce Slovet Mitchell Award. Banerji received a PhD in the History and Theory of Architecture, and a Master in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a BA from Columbia University.
Image credit: Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret, Cité Mondiale, axonometric,1928.