Overlooked Cities in Asia: Interrogating blind fields in urban knowledges and praxes

Location: Bandung, Indonesia
Language: English

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Overlooked Cities in Asia

The conference aims to facilitate a collective critique of the indifferent views on Asian cities that are marginalised, off-the-map, and under-theorised due to the logics of domination and control. It seeks to sharpen and expand post- and de-colonial interventions that shift the focus of global urban studies to the urban majority, articulating under-studied and under-represented spaces, knowledge, and practices in the Asian context.

The key concern of this conference is to promote a fundamentally collective praxis of counter-overlooking, which requires broadening the scope and extending the subjects in seeing, knowing, and acting from/with overlooked cities. Therefore, we invite researchers (particularly early career researchers), scholars and practitioners across Asia to work together on shaping a counter-overlooking agenda, to provide renewed critical impetus to think about, write about, care about and act on urban lives. Please consider joining us, with your observations or ongoing research projects that are related to any kind of overlooked cities in Asia.

This meeting will be in Bandung, which has a deep imprint in the global movements of de-colonisation and de-imperialisation. The Bandung Conference held 68 years ago connected Asia and Africa, for the first time in history, with their struggles against imperialism. Having our conference in Bandung is critical and significant for returning to and resolidifying these commitments and solidarities against any form of domination – and this time in the field of urban knowledge production.

In line with a recent call by Kuan-Hsing Chen et al. (2022), we invite you to join us and go back to Bandung for alternative (urban) futures. By shifting the gaze to heterogeneous temporalities, relationalities, power relations and socio-spatial configurations of otherwise overlooked and hence invisible Asian cities, the praxis of counter-overlooking will hopefully be able to “transform existing modes of thought and carry on the de-imperializing spirit of Bandung” (Chen et al. 2012: 281), while at the same time weave together other possible futures in terms of both global urban studies and our modes of urban living.

During the Conference and ECRs Mentoring programme, we seek to discuss and reflect upon the following questions in the Asian contexts:

(1) Diagnosis:
* What and whose urban conditions and lived experiences have been overlooked in the “mainstream” urban studies literature and why?
* What logics and mechanisms are underlying the ethos and praxis of overlookedness?
* How can we render visible, and map overlooked conditions and experiences?

(2) Alternatives:
* How can we approach overlookedness relationally instead of creating yet another urban category or typology?
* Is it productive to get rid of the limits of boundary, border, or population criteria in these discussions?
What methods and toolkits can support counter-overlooking initiatives in research, praxis, and pedagogy?
* What can other disciplines such as law, anthropology, sociology, history, and philosophy, as well as indigenous inquiries contribute to the counter-overlooking agenda?

(3) Implications:
* How can we identify, interrogate, and reshape the hegemonic geographies of (over)looking in global urban studies?
* How and to what extent can we make counter-overlooking an emerging, collectivising agenda in global urban studies?
* How to galvanise the work of grassroots organisations, networks of cities or everyday solidarity to foster collective learning and address inequality in overlooked cities?

How to apply:

Please send your application using the form available at https://www.overlookedcities.org/call-for-participants to overlookedcities@gmail.com. The deadline for applications is 19 May 2023, 23:59 WIB (GMT+7). You will be notified about the outcome of your application by the end of May 2023.

Your application should include:
(1) Personal details and contact information.
(2) An abstract with no more than 300 words of your contribution that describes how your planned paper or creative input (e.g., visual arts, audio, storytelling, music etc.) relates to one or more of the topics listed above.
(3) Short biography
(4) If you are an early career researcher and would like to participate in the ECRs mentoring programme, please fill in the motivation statement in the application form.
(5) If you are an ECR and would like to be considered for financial assistance (bursaries and/or childcare), please fill in the final section of the form (“financial assistance”).

With funding from the Urban Studies Foundation, we aim to provide up to ten bursaries and financial support for childcare to enable ECRs to participate in this event. Please contact us for any questions or inquiries at overlookedcities@gmail.com. You can also find more information about the Overlooked Cities Collective, as well as our past and current activities via our website: https://www.overlookedcities.org.

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"Before the USF senior fellowship, I ran a real risk of drowning in University administration and management responsibilities as I entered the ‘mid-career wildernness’. The fellowship reinvigorated my capacity, ideas and track record in research – and helped catapult me from mid- to senior career."

Professor Donald Houston, Senior Research Fellowship

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