PANEL SEARCH Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting Los Angeles 9.-13.4.2013 Session Title: Moving to Berlin – A Growing Laboratory of Urban Thought and Research. Deadline: 1.9.2012

Association of American Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting 2013 Los Angeles April 9-13th.

Session Title: Moving to Berlin – A Growing Laboratory of Urban Thought and Research

Sandra Jasper, UCL Urban Laboratory; Department of Geography, University College London (UCL)
Sam Merrill, Department of Geography, University College London (UCL); Centre of Metropolitan Studies, TU Berlin
Julia Binder, Urban Sociology, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin

“Moving to Berlin” will use three paper sessions and a panel discussion to explore some of the key debates in urban research that have emerged from or through the city over the last two decades. As such, the session will examine relationships between Berlin as an empirical field of research and the critical concepts, discourses and debates that characterize its specific intellectual milieu. Following in the spirit of one of this year’s AAG Annual Meeting’s emerging themes -“Beyond the Los Angeles School”- we seek to critically discuss the potential
classification of Berlin as a ‘school of urban research’ that expands the way we think about cities in general whilst exploring the individual character and peculiarities of Berlin as a growing laboratory of urban thought and research.

Berlin-based urban research, including the work of ecologists such as Herbert Sukopp from the 1960s onwards and later urban sociologists like Hartmut Häußermann and Walter Siebel has placed the city at the centre of critical debates on environmental transformation and social change (see Marcuse 1998; Campell 1999; Häußermann 1999). More recently, Berlin has been explored in the context of geo-political transformations and with a particular focus on the “Divided City” (Lachmund 2003; Moss 2009; Broadbent/Hake 2010) and “The New Berlin” (Till 2005; Lehrer 2006;
Colomb 2011). Consideration of the later has invited critical scholarly debate regarding the role of an Anglophone consensus” in steering international discussion of Berlin (Latham 2006; Cochrane 2006).

As such, a growing corpus of academic urban research has focused on the city since 1989 and can itself be linked to the same geo-political transformations. Thus, the sessions will be limited to a post-1945 time frame, with a particular attention to the period before and after German reunification.

With these factors in mind, we hope to achieve the sessions’ aims through presentation and discussion of a range of papers that represent recent interdisciplinary scholarship focused on Berlin. Contributors are asked to present their research in ways that have particular relevance and bearing in the Berlin context, but also critically engage with the need to problematize the generalizing tendencies that are intrinsic to the ‘paradigmatic city’ debate.

We are particularly interested in papers, which consider the following three aspects: memory production, urban nature, and acoustic experimentation; and/or the intersections of these themes. However, we also welcome those that explore other prevalent themes and strongly encourage papers that problematize the position, role and influence of the academic researcher, especially the international researcher, and their influence or contribution to the themes they study. We will organize three sequential paper sessions. Each paper session
will contain four presentations of 15-20 minutes (papers) and one discussant. A final panel discussion session will help summarize the paper sessions and provide an opportunity to continue discussion and reach tentative conclusions.

Please submit abstracts of no more than 250 words along with a short author(s) bibliography in a single PDF document by email to Sandra Jasper ( before 1st September 2012. Please direct any inquiries to: Julia Binder (

Successful submissions will be contacted by the 1st October 2012 and will be expected to register and submit their abstracts online at the AAG website by October 24th 2012. Please note a range of registration fees will apply and must be paid before the submission of abstracts.

Sandra Jasper
PhD Candidate
Department of Geography
Urban Laboratory
University College London