Cover of the City Scripts Volume

City Scripts: Narratives of Postindustrial Urban Futurespublished with Ohio State University Press

In August 2023 the City Scripts research group's collaborative volume City Scripts: Narratives of Postindustrial Urban Futures, edited by Barbara Buchenau, Jens Martin Gurr, and Maria Sulimma was published with Ohio State University Press. The volume features chapters by all Junior and Senior Research as well as Collaborators from Europe and the US. The book explores how storytelling shapes how we view our cities, legitimizing histories, future plans, and understandings of the urban. City Scripts responds to calls by literary theorists to engage a new kind of narrative analysis that recalibrates close reading and interpretation to the multiple ways in which narratives “do things”—how they intervene in the world and take action in everyday life. A multidisciplinary cast of contributors approaches this new way of looking at cities through the stories people tell about them, looking especially at political activism and urban planning, which depend on the invention of plausible stories of connectedness and of a redemptive future.


Praise by Erin James, author of Narrative in the Anthropocene

City Scripts reenergizes discussions at the intersection of urban studies and literary and cultural studies. Innovatively reading material spaces using narratological tools developed through the analysis of fictional texts, it will be a rich and productive resource for scholars across disciplines.”


Find out more here and get your free digital copy here.

City Scripts in the Field: What We're Working On

Credit: Florian Deckers

Is the Spirit of East Harlem Fading?

The Spirit of East Harlem, originally created by Hank Prussing in 1978 and refurbished by Manny Vega in 1998, depicts people of different ages of the mainly Latin American neighborhood in their everyday life in East Harlem. The fading of the mural due to the exposure to sunlight can also be read in a symbolical sense as processes of gentrification gradually force more and more people to leave the neighborhood due to rising rents and living costs. In his dissertation project Raising Ethnic Voices, Florian Deckers investigates contemporary approaches of LatinX artists and activists in New York City and Los Angeles.

Picture of the Dortmund Harbor, partially renovated, partially abandoned and empty
Credit: CV

City Scripts in the Field

Sneak a peak at some of the situations and events we encountered during our research.

Archive: City Scripts in the Field

What We're Reading 2020-2022

Take a look at and discover some of the interdisciplinary texts we have been reading for our research.

Archive: Our Past Reading
Prof. Dr. Josef Raab passed away on November 10, 2019 after a long battle against terminal illness. / © L. Raab

Thank you,

to our colleague, advisor, and mentor Josef Raab, who sadly passed away last weekend after a long and brave battle against terminal illness. Josef Raab was the chair of American Literary and Media Studies at the University of Duisburg-Essen. He paved the way for the discipline of Inter-American Studies, significantly shaping its core debates. As a champion and supporter of the Ruhr Center for American Studies, he was also a pivotal figure for the establishment of our City Scripts research group. Josef Raab was a fighter of the good fight, never shy of supporting his students and of positively endorsing as well as tackling his colleagues. He never eschewed an argument he believed in. While he had to take a step back from in-person participation in recent months due to his illness, he was with us in thought and during our research. We lose a professor and mentor, who has accompanied and supported some of us since our bachelor’s degree, a colleague, who challenged us in academic discussions, and most of all a sincere and warm human soul.

All that is left for us to say now is, thank you and safe travels.