Urban Perspectives of the World
Inaugural Lecture Prof. Jan Nijman
Wednesday, 27 June 2012, 16:00 – 17:00
Inaugural lecture Urban Studies
The world is in the midst of an urban revolution – a revolution that took shape in the 1980s and that is likely to continue for another couple of decades.
Similar to the industrial-urban revolution of the 19th century, the current revolution is closely related to the emergence of a new mode of production, this time in the form of the information economy.
The main geographical centers of the current urban revolution are located in China and India, but the reverberations are worldwide. Cities like New York or Amsterdam, for example, have been reshaped profoundly – economically, socially, spatially, and politically.
The renewed surge of the field of Urban Studies in the academy is accompanied with a demand for ‘urban knowledge’ by government, corporations, and other interest groups. It is an opportune moment, thus, for critical reflection about the nature of this interdisciplinary field and its societial relevance.
Jan Nijman is Professor of Urban Studies and director of the Centre. He also chairs the undergraduate programme in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences. Trained as a geographer (PhD, U of Colorado at Boulder, 1990), his interests reach across the social sciences and humanities. Most of his work deals with urban theory and the role of cities in their broader regional and historical contexts. His regional expertise is in North America and South Asia, with special interests in Miami and Mumbai. He has 15 years of research experience in urban India. His work has been funded by the National Science Foundation (USA), National Geographic Society, Guggenheim Foundation, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
His current research projects focus on the rise and fall of US suburbs (part of a larger collaborative and comparative project on global suburbanism) and on the economic and cultural geographies of slums in Indian cities.