Past Events: 2017

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Info Session: Interdisciplinary Publications on Cities and Urban Life Grant

THURSDAY, 9/07/17, 1:00PM

Graduate students learned about the application details for the call for proposals, which are due on September 25, 2017. Complete application information is available here

Amos Gitai - Screening of Film "News From Home"

WEDNESDAY, 09/06/17, 6:30pm
112 Wurster

Lecture Series: House, City, Border: Poetics and Politics of Israel  

First of a three-part film series presented by the College of Environmental Design. Amos Gitai (Ph.D Architecture '79) will be on hand for the screening and discussion that follows. Jean-Paul Bourdier, Professor of Archtitecure, will discuss the film with Gitai.

About the Film:

News From Home is the 2006 installment in Amos Gitai’s documentary series that also includes House (1980) and A House in Jerusalem (1998). Revolving around property that once belonged to a Palestinian family and was later taken over by Israelis, the films juxtapose the Israeli and Palestinian diasporas by tracking the original owner’s descendants, the construction workers, and the current occupants over the years. Given that the filmmaker once studiedarchitecture, the documentaries are replete with construction details. No sweat if you’re unfamiliar with the first two parts of the series; seemingly mindful of the earlier films’ obscurity (House was banned by Israeli television), Gitai here supplies extensive scenes from the previous chapters as well as his own voiceover narration in heavily accented English. Clearly, the subject matter is close to Gitai’s heart, and the humanist message that people should peacefully coexist is quite evident in all three of the films. (He even revisited the theme in dramatic form in the 2007 feature Disengagement.) The Housedocumentaries certainly demonstrate Gitai’s evolution as a filmmaker, his techniques getting glossier with each successive part. But News From Home/News From House never arrives at a real polemical moment to rival the ignorant American interviewee spouting revisionist history in A House in Jerusalem. Gitai considers these films as archaeological projects, but the House trilogy falls short of achieving the same level of profundity as Michael Apted’s Up series, a comparable chronicle of social change. (From the Village Voice)

About this Lecture Series:

This lecture series presents a set of curated films that allow the audience to enter Israel from the powerful lens of the renowned filmmaker Amos Gitai. Each of the screenings in this series is a final film in a trilogy: House, City, and Border, introducing the audience to both Gitai’s documentary and fiction filmmaking. As a trained Architect, Gitai has a unique way of understanding and representing human experience through time and space. House, City, and Border are the anatomy of any country, which Gitai has beautifully captured to present a more complete narrative/image of Israel in the context of larger global discourses. 

This film series will be of special interest to those in the College of Environmental Design, the Israel and Jewish studies program, Middle Eastern studies, Political Science, Sociology, Anthropology and Media Studies. The series ends with Gitai’s 2007 film Disengagement, which more directly engages with the overall theme of our screenings regarding the plan, construction, transformation, and destruction of ideological settlements. Amos’s filmmaking style will set an example for all of us studying people and their environments on how to cross geographical, racial, ideological and political borders to examine and humanize opposing groups to one another. These films together help build a foundation for peace.


Alumnus Amos Gitai is an acclaimed Israeli filmmaker who is widely known for making documentaries and feature films about the Middle East and Jewish-Arab conflict.  

Gitai's work has been presented in several major retrospectives at the Pompidou Center Paris, the Museum of Modern Art New York, the Lincoln Center New York and the British Film Institute London. To date Gitai has created over 90 works of art over 38 years. Between 1999 and 2011 seven of his films were entered in the Cannes Film Festival for the Palme d'Or as well as the Venice Film Festival for the Golden Lion award.

He has received several prestigious prizes which include the Leopard of Honor at the Locarno International Film Festival (2008), the Roberto Rossellini prize (2005), the Robert Bresson prize (2013) and the Paradjanov prize (2014). His recent feature film, Rabin, The Last Day, was presented at the 72th Venice Film Festival. 

About Professor Bourdier:

Professor of Architecture, Jean-Paul Bourdier is the co-author of African Spaces and Drawn from African Dwellings. In the role of production designer and co-director he has worked on seven films directed by Trinh T. Minh-ha. His painting exhibitions and photographs of ephemeral sculptures and body art have been widely exhibited nationally, winning fourteen national and international competitions. Awards include Guggenheim, American Council of Learned Societies, NEA Graham, UC President's Humanities, and Getty. He teaches design studios and seminars on topics ranging from vernacular architecture around the world to poetics of inspiration and the drawn image. His latest collection of photographs, Body Unbound (2016), is the third in a series of books exploring natural landscapes joined with the human form. He is also the photographer and author of Bodyscapes (2007) and Leap Into the Blue (2013). 

This event is co-sponsored by the College of Environmental Design.


WEDNESDAY, 09/06/17 5:00PM – 6:30PM
Wurster GaLlery

Alison Isenberg, Professor of History at Princeton University and Co-Director of the Princeton-Mellon Initiative in Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities, joined the Fall 2017 GUH Colloquium for a special lecture about her new book, Designing San Francisco: Art, Land, and Urban Renewal in the City by the Bay.

Designing San Francisco is the untold story of the formative postwar decades when U.S. cities took their modern shape amid clashing visions of the future. In this pathbreaking and richly illustrated book, Alison Isenberg shifts the focus from architects and city planners--those most often hailed in histories of urban development and design--to the unsung artists, activists, and others who played pivotal roles in rebuilding San Francisco between the 1940s and the 1970s.

Previous accounts of midcentury urban renewal have focused on the opposing terms set down by Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs--put simply, development versus preservation--and have followed New York City models. Now Isenberg turns our attention west to colorful, pioneering, and contentious San Francisco, where unexpectedly fierce battles were waged over iconic private and public projects like Ghirardelli Square, Golden Gateway, and the Transamerica Pyramid.

When large-scale redevelopment came to low-rise San Francisco in the 1950s, the resulting rivalries and conflicts sparked the proliferation of numerous allied arts fields and their professionals, including architectural model makers, real estate publicists, graphic designers, photographers, property managers, builders, sculptors, public-interest lawyers, alternative press writers, and preservationists. Isenberg explores how these centrally engaged arts professionals brought new ideas to city, regional, and national planning and shape novel projects across urban, suburban, and rural borders. San Francisco's rebuilding galvanized far-reaching critiques of the inequitable competition for scarce urban land, and propelled debates over responsible public land stewardship. Isenberg challenges many truisms of this renewal era--especially the presumed male domination fo postwar urban design, showing how women collaborated in city building long before feminism's impact in the 1970s.

An evocative portrait of one of the world's great cities, Designing San Francisco provides a new paradigm for understanding past and present struggles to define the urban future. 

Alison Isenberg Full Bio

Alison Isenberg writes and teaches about nineteenth and twentieth century American society, with particular attention to the transformation of cities, and to the intersections of culture, the economy, and place. Professor Isenberg's book Downtown America: A History of the Place and the People Who Made It (University of Chicago Press, 2004) received several awards: the Ellis Hawley prize from the Organization of American Historians; Historic Preservation Book Prize from Mary Washington University; Lewis Mumford Prize from the Society for American City and Regional Planning History; and an Honor Book award from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.  At Princeton, Isenberg co-directs the Princeton-Mellon Initiative in Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities, and is a Faculty Associate at the Woodrow Wilson School. She co-directed the Urban Studies Program from 2012-2014, and currently serves on its Executive Committee.  An Affiliated Faculty member in the Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies, she is also on the Executive Committee of the American Studies Program.  During 2015-2016 she held an Old Dominion Fellowship, awarded by the Princeton Humanities Council.

Professor Isenberg served two years as president of the Society for American City and Regional Planning History, a multidisciplinary organization bringing together scholars and practitioners from history, design and planning, American studies, geography, environmental history, art history, sociology, preservation, and policy. Isenberg has worked on the boards of the Urban History Association and H-Urban, and was founding review editor for the Journal of Planning History. She recently joined the Hagley Center Advisory Committee.  Before moving to Princeton in 2010, Professor Isenberg taught at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey (2001-2010), the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1997-2001) and Florida International University (1994-1997). Her scholarship has been supported by visiting fellowships at the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture (Spring 2010), the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity at Stanford University (2006-7), the Institute for the Arts & Humanities at the University of North Carolina (Fall 2000), and the Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe (1998-9). Shorter term fellowships from the Graham Foundation, James Marston Fitch Foundation, Hagley Museum and Library, Rockefeller Archive Center, Winterthur Library, and the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation have provided generous research resources. Before pursuing a Ph.D., Isenberg worked in affordable housing, parks planning, and historic preservation in New York City.

Humanizing Urbanism

WEDNESDAY, 08/30/17 12:00PM – 1:30PM

Over the last two decades Margaret Crawford has explored methods of introducing humanities content into urban design and urban history courses. In her presentation, she discussed the ongoing challenges and varied results of this endeavor, focusing on the two Global Humanities Research Studios that Crawford co-taught, one with Anne Walsh and one with Winnie Wong.

As a professor of architecture, Crawford teaches courses in architecture, urbanism and urban history and studios focusing on everyday urbanity. Her research focuses on the evolution, uses and meanings of urban space. She has edited and published several books, including The Car and the City: The Automobile, the Built Environment and Daily Urban Life (University of Michigan Press, 1991), Building the Workingman's Paradise: The Design of American Company Towns (Verso, 1996), and Everyday Urbanism (Monacelli Press, 2008), and numerous articles on shopping malls, public space, and other issues in the American built environment. Crawford’s current work investigates the rapid physical and social changes in China’s Pearl River Delta. Prior to coming to Berkeley, she was Professor of Urban Design and Planning Theory at the Harvard GSD and Chair of the History, Theory and Humanities program at the Southern California Institute for Architecture.

Part of the City as Nexus speaker series.

Open House + Book Fair

Thursday, 08/24/17 5:00pm - 6:30pm
Morrison library

GUH celebrated the start of the fifth year of activities. Over 90 attendees from across campus and the public browsed books authored or edited by GUH faculty and learned about our exciting upcoming courses. Some courses that were highlighted include an international traveling studio on U.S.-Mexico borderlands, an undergraduate studio on art and performance at a landfill, and a seminar on populism art and the city. Guests also learned about our new certificates in Global Urban Humanities and our fall speaker series, City as Nexus. University Press Books was on hand to provide GUH faculty books for sale. 

Graduate Certificate launch and info Session

THURSDAY, 04/13/17 12:00PM – 1:00PM 

The Global Urban Humanities Initiative (GUH) is pleased to announce a new Graduate Certificate in Global Urban Humanities and funding for student publications. On April 13th GUH hosted an Info Session at BCNM Commons, 340 Moffitt at 12PM where students learned about both opportunities. 

The Certificate offers graduate students in the Division of Arts & Humanities, the College of Environmental Design (CED), and other UC Berkeley divisions and schools the opportunity to enhance their graduate study with courses that explore cities through a variety of disciplinary approaches. The Certificate emphasizes the intersection of interpretive approaches from the arts and humanities with methods from the environmental design disciplines.

GUH is also excited to offer support for interdisciplinary publications on cities and urban life. GUH invites graduate student teams to submit proposals for an online or print publication. GUH support covers a one-time collection of research, essays, and/or visual materials around an urban topic or theme that draws on the knowledge of a variety of disciplines. Detailed application information is available here. Proposals are due September 25, 2017.  


FRIDAY, 03/24/17 6:00PM – 8:00PM 

GUH, along with the Department of Comparative Literature, was pleased to co-sponsor Theatre of the Oppressed Workshop- Turning tables: physical dialogues on mental furniture, human commodification, and the architecture of power. This workshop is part of the Dialogue & Round series.  

Jiwon Chung, artistic director of Kairos Theater Ensemble, collaborated with Carol Mancke, artist in residence in the Department of Comparative Literature at UC Berkeley, to present a workshop that use games and exercises to explore questions of social justice. 

During February and March 2017, Mancke created the installation Dialogue & Round in the newly opened Media/Maker Lab space (175 Dwinelle) and is curating a series of workshops and performances with students, visitors and staff that experiment with different forms of conversation and collaborative thinking.

Jiwon Chung is artistic director of Kairos Theater Ensemble, adjunct professor of Theater and Social Justice at the Starr King School and past president of the national organization for Theatre of the Oppressed.

The focus of Jiwon's work is the application of theater as a tool for social and political change, using Theatre of the Oppressed to challenge, resist and transform systemic oppression and structural violence, and to redress large scale historical atrocity and injustice. His approach to individual, interpersonal and institutional change is informed by his background as a veteran, martial artist and over 3 decades of vipassana meditation.

Carol Mancke is an artist, architect and educator working at the intersection of art and cities through her practice, machina loci. (  A graduate of UC Berkeley’s school of Architecture, Carol’s practice engages a range of time frames and scales from drawing, photography, sculpture and installation through to architecture and urbanism.  Her work has featured in solo and group shows in Britain and Japan, including the Echigo Tsumari Art Triennial in 2009. In 2011-12, she was artist in residence at the Central Institute of Technology in Perth, Australia. Carol was a Senior Lecturer at Kingston University London (2004-2014); has degrees from M.I.T., UC Berkeley and the University of the Arts London and is currently pursuing a PhD in fine art practice at the Royal College of Art in London.

In Table 18, Mancke  mapped international spaces of protest on a surface that facilitated discussion and debate in an installation at the Tate Modern in London in 2016.  She is now in residence at  the Department of Comparative Literature's new maker space at Dwinelle Hall.  


FRIDAY, 03/03/17 12:00PM – 1:00PM 

Jason Luger presents Awakening the Dragon: Art, Urban Space, and Authoritarianism. This talk will explore Luger's fieldwork looking at grassroots art activist movements in Singapore, as well as current research which looks at art-activism in authoritarian contexts around the world, including his upcoming book (June, 2017) entitled Art and the City: Worlding the Conversation Through a Critical Artscapes (Routledge). 

Luger is an urban geographer with research interests focusing on urban policy, urban social movements and activism, comparative approaches to economic development, and global cities. His work has been featured in academic journals such as IJURR, CITY, Media and Culture and Geoforum. He conducted field research in Singapore from 2012-214, exploring state-society relations, urban policy, and art-led activism. This event is part of the GUH Brown Bag Series on Cities.

Gendered Citizenship in Urbanizing China:
Lanchih Po

WEDNESDAY, 2/22/17, 12:00PM - 1:00PM

China's household registration (hukou) system has created an unequal "right to the city" in a rapidly urbanizing China. In Gendered Citizenship in Urbanizing China, Lanchih Po examined how women's land activism is affecting this system in the Pearl River Delta region. Read GUH Project Director Susan Moffat's blog post about the event.

Po is associate adjunct professor in International and Area Studies and the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at UC Berkeley. She received her doctorate from the Department of City and Regional Planning at UC Berkeley in 2001, and taught at Peking University in Beijing from 2001 to 2006. Her research interests encompass divergent developmental paths in China's transitional economies and the socio-economic transformations associated with China's (sub)urbanization process, as well as the connections between urbanism, architectural space, literature, and media culture in China and Taiwan. This is event was part of the GUH Brown Bag Series on Cities.