[P4912] Liminal Urbanity: Cities Between Ruin and Prosperity

Created by Shima Houshyar
Monday, 11/20/17 8:00am

SUMMARY:

This panel explores the relationship between cities, temporality, and geographical formations by foregrounding the materiality of infrastructures and space in mediating conceptualizations of urban pasts, presents, and futures. The city is a layered and aggregate product of its environmental, material, and human life, constantly (re)produced through waves of immigration, exclusion, segregation, and destruction. The papers in this session will draw upon visual, ethnographic, and literary material from a range of geographical and historical contexts -- the oil city of Abadan in Southwest Iran before and after the 1979 Revolution, historical patterns of movement and migration through the port city of Karachi, post-war memories in Lebanon's urban train ruins, and the role of transportation infrastructure in transnational projects in the post-communist and Muslim-majority city of Kardzhali in Bulgaria. Collectively, these papers argue that infrastructural transformations are active agents in the representation of geographical formations, redefining at different times a city's centrality or marginality to national, regional, and global political-economic processes. In turn, such representations reproduce the symbolic value of the city at different moments in time, whether as a site of progress, decline, nostalgia, or stasis. The first paper examines struggles over the iconic legacy of trains in three cities on the margins of Lebanon's urban historiography, followed by a paper tracing Karachi's sea-based history of mobility and movement as it has reconfigured regional boundaries. The third paper will explore changes in the representation of Abadan as the symbol of oil modernity in pre-Revolutionary Iran to a post-war paradoxical site of both urban decline and renewed potentiality. The final paper will focus on shifting mobility regimes and labor traffic during communism and the post-communist Europeanization process in Southern Bulgaria, while also tracing the Turkish government's religious and economic interventions in Kardzhali. Taken together, each paper offers a unique reflection on the relationship between geography, infrastructure, political-economic changes, and symbolic representations of urban space and time.

DISCIPLINES:

Anthro

ABSTRACTS:

MEMBERS:

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Shima Houshyar

(The Graduate Center, CUNY)
Panel Participating Role(s): Chair; Organizer; Presenter;
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China Sajadian

(CUNY Graduate Center)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Zehra Husain

(City University of New York)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Hazal Corak

(City University of New York)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;