Sawyer Seminar Grant from Mellon Foundation awarded to International Institute Faculty

 The Mellon Foundation's Board of Trustees has approved a grant to the University of California at San Diego to support a Sawyer Seminar entitled "Claiming the City: Urban Citizenship, Hybrid Cultures, and Governance in the Modern Era." The seminar is a cross-disciplinary collaboration between four co-PIs: Nancy Kwak (History), Nancy Postero (Anthropology), Pamela Radcliff (History), and Sharon Rose (Linguistics). The seminar brings together faculty and graduate students from across UCSD as well as other institutions in the Southern California region for a yearlong seminar during 2018-19. The grant funds visits from international scholars, two graduate fellowships, and a postdoctoral fellow.

Proposal summary: We propose to examine the city as a key site of political organization and coordinated governance. In contrast to the modern faith in the nation state as the engine of progress and the postmodern narrative of decentered globalization, scholars across the disciplines are now interested in how cities serve as sites of political mobilization and organization. Urban dwellers build coalitions and political alliances; they construct new communities, disrupt old hierarchies, and create alternative hybrid cultures. At the same time, urban residents also inhabit “divided,” “quartered,” “layered” cities – fractures that reference longer genealogies of socio-economic inequality and contestation. In light of this multiplicity, we focus on the ways cities continue to serve as high-stakes sites of claims-making and urban citizenship. We ask: Who, ultimately, owns the city? What claims do individuals and groups make on the city? And how do competing claims to the city shape local, national, and global politics? This seminar aims to consider these large questions through a comparison of urban politics and social structure in key cities around the world in the twentieth century. We argue that the rich hybrid cultures of cities enable new forms of urban governance that can challenge both global and national political structures. We take a comparative and interdisciplinary approach, breaking scholarly habits of binary analysis, including the separation of Global South from Global North, rich from poor, formal from informal.

Full proposal