Grants, Projects, Conferences


Workshop and Lectures by Urban Historian Norman Klein

Hosted by Jens Martin Gurr, pioneering urban historian Norman Klein visited the Department of Anglophone Studies and the KWI (Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut Essen) for two guest lectures and a collaborative research workshop. The media historian, novelist and media artist and Professor of Critical Studies at the California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles joined Jens Martin Gurr in hosting a workshop on “Media, Memory and the City”, which took place at the KWI on 26 November 2019.

The programme began with a lecture by Florian Freitag entitled “‘Share a Luna Park Memory ... and Make a New One!’ Media, Memory, and the City on Coney Island”, in which Freitag traced Coney Island’s rich and layered history as evidenced by its theme parks and rides. Svenja Kolpack, Brenda Lamboy, Sarah Müller, Jan Niederprüm and Jessica Rähse then presented their transatlantic project “The Future of Our Two Cities (Cincinnati and Essen)”, which took the form of two photo/film essays. Klein himself spoke on “Urban Memory in Database Narratives: Bleeding Through and The Imaginary 20th Century”. The audience then had some time to explore both of Klein’s interactive multimodal media in an exhibition set up in the KWI’s library.

The second panel was opened by Dietmar Meinel and his take on “Urban Memories in Computer Games”. Alexander Starre then explored typography, cartography and untypical formal aspects of print media with “Meaningful Maps: Reading Fictional Cartographies in Print and on Screens”. Alexander Gutzmer inspired discussions about trends for urban co-working spaces with his presentation “The Workspacization of the City”.

Concept artist Mischa Kuball then shared impressions from his thought-provoking work with public places and through participation in a talk entitled “public preposition & public interaction”. Lena Mattheis and Jens Martin Gurr closed the third panel with “Superpositions: Spatiotemporal Layerings in Urban Imaginaries”, a presentation in which they proposed a typology to help understand and group forms of urban layering.

Norman Klein's evening lecture "Archaeologies of the Present: The Cultural Politics of the Seventies and Eighties" picked up on several of the topics discussed during the day. The presentation traced the present-day situation in the US to developments during and since the Cold War and to media developments in recent decades. It exemplified what Klein calls the "new feudal condition" by discussing developments in US cities, especially Los Angeles, where Klein has lived and worked for decades. 

On Thursday, 28 November, Norman Klein gave a second guest lecture at Campus Essen on "How to Archive and Narrate Urban Erasure - Across Media". This lecture was an introduction to his scholarly work on urban memory as well as to his two media novels Bleeding Through: Layers of Los Angeles 1920-1986 and The Imaginary 20th Century. Klein then spent time with the members of the City Scripts Research Group to discuss his notion of “scripted spaces”. The workshop as well at the lectures sparked fruitful discussions and were much appreciated by all attendees.  







Grants, Projects (Selection):

10/2021-9/2022: Funding for a 12-months exploratory project "Climate Change Literacy"; applicants: Profs. Julia Hoydis (lead applicant), Roman Bartosch (co-applicant), Jens Martin Gurr (co-applicant); Volkswagen Foundation; funding line “Originalitätsverdacht"; funding for a full semester of temporary professorial replacement during research leave (awarded 12/2020; start date: 10/2021).

5/2018-5/2022: Funding for the further development of Competence Field "Metropolitan Research" in the University Alliance Ruhr (lead applicant, with Prof. Dr. Uta Hohn, Bochum, and Prof. Dr. Thorsten Wiechmann, Dortmund), funded by Stiftung Mercator (funding for three 50% positions for four years, research assistants, travel expenses, publications, conferences etc.)

4/2018-9/2018: Hiroshi Kitamura Fellowship at the IN-EAST School of Advanced Studies, University of Duisburg-Essen (shared with Prof. Barbara Buchenau)

1/2017-9/2017: Funding for the establishment of a competence field "Metropolitan Research" in the University Alliance Ruhr (with Prof. Dr. Uta Hohn, Bochum, and Prof. Dr. Thorsten Wiechmann, Dortmund), funded by MERCUR – Mercator Research Center Ruhr

5/2013-4/2017: Founding project partner and Board member of the "IN-EAST School of Advanced Studies" (six post-docs, twelve doctoral candidates, BMBF funding)

4/2013: Funding for a "Fact Finding Mission" to the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande del Sul (UFRGS) in Porto Alegre, Brazil to establish research relations in urban studies (including a joint doctoral colloquium), DAAD

2012: Funding for four doctoral scholarships (3-4 years) in the Graduate School Scholarship Programme - GSSP (DAAD)

4/2012-3/2015: Funding for "Spaces – Communities – Representations: Urban Transformations in the United States", PhD programme in American Studies (with TU Dortmund and Ruhr University Bochum), funded by MERCUR – Mercator Research Center Ruhr

10/2010-12/2013: DAAD funding for an international interdisciplinary doctoral programme "ARUS – Advanced Research in Urban Systems" (currently ~ 27 international doctoral candidates)

Since 3/2009: external funding for three international conferences (Fritz Thyssen Stiftung, IRUN, DFG)


Conferences Hosted (Selection):

1/2015: "Current Approaches to Urban Complexity", Interdisciplinary Symposium with "Scientist in Residence" Michael Batty, University of Duisburg-Essen, funded by Sparkasse Essen

10/2011: "Romantic Cityscapes: International Symposium of the Society for English Romanticism", University of Duisburg-Essen, funded by the DFG

11/2010: "First IRUN Symposium on Urban Systems: Healthy and Liveable Cities", Essen, Zeche Zollverein, funded by IRUN (International Research Universities Network)

6/2010: International Conference "Simultaneity, Multiplicity and Chaos in Cityscapes in the Americas and Beyond: Representations of Urban Complexity in Literature, Film and Media", University of Bielefeld

3/2009: International Conference "EthniCities: Metropolitan Cultures and Ethnic Identities in the Americas", Center for Interdisciplinary Research, University of Bielefeld, funded by Fritz Thyssen Stiftung.