February 6, 2020 Talk by Laura Bieger in Essen

The American Studies scholar Prof. Dr. Laura Bieger will give a talk on February 6, 2020, from 4 to 6pm at the campus in Essen (R12 R04 B02). She is the chair of the American Studies department at the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.

Her two published books are Belonging and Narrative, on the influence of the novel in the meaning-making process, and Ästhetik der Immersion (open access), which deals with the experience of space in three exemplary cities of Las Vegas, Chicago, Washington D.C. 

February 3-4, 2020 Maria Sulimma at Symposium on the 19th Century in Frankfurt

In February 2020, the two-day symposium “Spending Time with/in the Nineteenth Century” will take place at the Goethe-University Frankfurt. Organized by Dr. Rieke Jordan, the symposium brings together researchers interested in the 19th century, leisure studies, and consumerism. Maria Sulimma will add an urban studies perspective with her paper "Of Trivial Things – and Cities."

January 23, 2020 Talk by Klaus Kunzmann in Essen

On January 23, Prof. Dr. Klaus Kunzmann will give a talk at the University of Duisburg-Essen. Kunzmann was head of the Institute for Spatial Planning at TU Dortmund from 1993-2006. His talk in Essen will be on "Narrative zur zukünftigen Raumentwicklung im Ruhrgebiet" (Narratives for future spatial development in the Ruhr area).

The talk will take place room 10-12am in room R12 R04 B11 and is part of Prof. Gurr's seminar "The Work of Norman Klein and Contemporary Urban Studies."

January 22, 2020 Talk by Stefan Höhne in Dortmund

On January 22, Dr. Stefan Höhne (KWI Essen) will be guest lecturing during the seminar "Portraits of the City," which is taught by City Scripts' scholars Hanna Rodewald and Katharina Wood. His talk will be on the New York City Subway and Höhne's publication New York Subway - Die Erfindung des urbanen Passagiers (2017), which is currently being translated for MIT Press.

Höhne is a research fellow at the Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut Essen where he is leading the project Governing the Narcotic City. Imaginaries, Practices and Discourses of Public Drug Cultures in European Cities from 1970 until today

December 12-13, 2019 Elisabeth Haefs at ALUS “(Un)Fair Cities” Conference in Limerick

The Association for Literary Urban Studies and the Ralahine Centre for Utopian Studies will host the conference “(Un)Fair Cities: Equity, Ideology and Utopia in Urban Texts” at the University of Limerick in December. 

This conference will “explore relations between the urban and the utopian, as manifested and explored in literary and cultural practice understood broadly, along another strand of the utopian problematic: that of the complex relations of the utopian and the ideological.” It is organized by Lieven Ameel (ALUS), Michael G. Kelly and Mariano Paz (Ralahine). The keynotes will be held by Caroline Edwards and Antonis Balasopoulos.

On December 12, Elisabeth Haefs will give a talk called “‘Another World is Plantable’: Urban Planning and Utopian Gardening.” A conference program and more information are available here

December 11, 2019 Talk by Maria Sulimma at the JFKI

On December 11, Maria Sulimma will give a talk titled “Killing Eve… and the Planet – One Flight at a Time: Popular Culture and Aviation”, which will examine representations of “city hopping” and the sociopolitical discourse surrounding climate change and mobility in the context of the television show Killing Eve

The lecture is part of the series “Popular Culture, Media, and Politics in the US”, organized by Dr. Christina Meyer and Dr. Curd Knüpfer at the John F. Kennedy-Institute for North American Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin.

December 9-10, 2019 Talk by Barbara Buchenau at "Zukunftsformate der Region" congress

On December 9-10, the Green Capital Agency, one of City Scripts' project partners, hosts the conference "Zukunftsformate der Region" (Future formats for the region) which focuses on the development of a participatory culture in the Ruhr region during the so-called Green Decade (2017-2027).

The congress aims to develop sustainable models based on local demands and needs by bringing together agents from the fields of politics, administration, economy, science, and the civil society.

On December 10, Prof. Dr. Barbara Buchenau will give a talk at the conference regarding "Transatlantische Narrative für die Zukunft postindustrieller Regionen" (Transatlantic Narratives for the Future of Post-industrial Regions)

For more information, please visit the congress' website here.

December 6, 2019 Chris Katzenberg at conference “Challenges of the Post-Truth Era in American Studies” in Passau

On December 6, Chris Katzenberg will give a talk on “’The Iconic Ghetto’ and Postindustrial Urban Change Across the Atlantic” at the conference “Challenges of the Post-Truth Era in American Studies” at the University of Passau. This is the 2019 Postgraduate Forum of the German Association of American studies, where early-career scholars will present their ongoing work, forge connections, and enter into critical conversations with each other and the wider public.

Thematically, the conference focuses on the contribution research in the field of American studies can do to address the negative trend towards “misinformation, propaganda, filter bubbles, and a lack of media literacy” that can be observed both in the United States and on this side of the Atlantic.

Chris’s talk will analyze the transatlantic imaginary of urban “problem spaces,” arguing that it forms a central but troubling foil for the inclusive rewriting of postindustrial cities in both contexts.

For the conference program and further information, see their website

December 5, 2019 Barbara Buchenau gives talk at research group Neues Reisen - Neue Medien

On December 5, 2019, the City Scripts speaker Barbara Buchenau will visit the research group Neues Reisen - Neue Medien at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität in Freiburg and attend a colloquium of the group. Barbara Buchenau will give the lecture "Scripts for Postindustrial Urban Futures: American Models, Transatlantic Interventions."

November 28-29, 2019 Maria Sulimma at “Metropolitan Masculinities” conference

On November 29, Maria Sulimma will give the talk “Barista, barista, (anti-)capitalista?: White Masculinity, Coffee Connoisseurship, and the Urban Café” at the conference “Metropolitan Masculinities: Narratives of Gender and Urban Space” at the Ruhr-University Bochum. 

With this conference, the organizers Heike Steinhoff and Cornelia Wächter seek to “explore masculinities and urban spaces as they intersect with sexuality, race, class, ability, age, nationality and similar identity categories. Processes of urbanization have often been characterized by the consolidation of patriarchal, heteronormative white western middle-class relations of power. However, urban spaces have also posed challenges to and enabled reconfigurations of this order.” The keynotes will be held by Jack Halberstam (Columbia) and Victor J. Seidler (Goldsmiths). Chris Katzenberg will chair the panel “Literature and Masculinity.” 

A conference program and more information is available here: https://metro-masculinities.blogs.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/.

November 28, 2019 Talk by Norman Klein in Essen

Urban and Media historian Norman Klein will give two lectures at the Essen campus on November 28. From 10-12am (R12 R04 B11), he will talk on "How to archive and narrate urban erasure - across media" during Prof. Gurr's seminar "The Work of Norman Klein and Contemporary Urban Studies." From 4-6pm (R12 R04 B11), during the City Scripts colloquium, he will talk on "Scripted Spaces in the 21st Century."

Klein’s work centers on media and urban studies, especially on the relationship between collective memory and power in urban spaces; the thin line between fact and fiction; processes of erasure and forgetting; scripted spaces, and the social imaginary. 

Among his works are The History of Forgetting: Los Angeles and the Erasure of Memory, the database novel Bleeding Through: Layers of Los Angeles, 1920-86, and an interactive historical sci-fi novel called The Imaginary Twentieth Century.

November 26, 2019 Norman Klein: workshop and public lecture at KWI Essen

In cooperation with Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut (KWI) Essen, City Scripts will host the workshop Media City, and Memory with Urban and Media historian Norman Klein  on November 26. The workshop will present Klein's research and media art, as well as discuss representations of urban memory culture in literature, video games, movies, visual art, and theme parks. The workshop will bring together media and urban scholars, artists like Mischa Kuball, and doctoral candidates and students from the University of Duisburg-Essen. The workshop will be moderated by Prof. Gurr.

In addition to the workshop, Norman Klein will also give a public lecture titled Archaeologies of the present: the cultural politics of the seventies and eighties, where Klein will assess the transformations that took place in the USA during the two decades that shaped the present state. It will take place at 7pm, at the Gartensaal of the KWI, Goethestraße 31, 45128 Essen. To sign up for the lecture, please click here to visit the KWI's homepage.

November 25, 2019 Ruhr Lecture: Talk by Julia Sattler in Dortmund

During the Ruhr Lecture series 2019/20, Dr. Julia Sattler will give the talk "Ruhr | Detroit: American Studies and Urban Planning in Dialogue." The Ruhr Lecture series brings together two researchers from different fields who both will gives talk during one joint session. Sattler's talk will be accompanied by Prof. Dr. Frank Othengrafen (TU Dortmund) who will talk on "Planning Culture - A Successful Approach to International Comparative Research."

The session will take place from 4-7pm at TU Dortmund, Campus-Süd, in the Rudolf Chaudoire-Pavillon. The entire Ruhr Lecture series can be found here. The Ruhr Lecture is a series organized by the Competence Field Metropolitan Research within the University Alliance Ruhr (UA Ruhr).

November 18, 2019 City Scripts at CITYMAKERS Ruhr networking event

On November 18, City Scripts' senior researchers Prof. Dr. Barbara Buchenau and Prof. Dr. Jens Gurr participate in a networking event organized by CITYMAKERS Ruhr.

The event brings together agents from different fields of city-making to show the diversity in the field, make visible ideas and help agents build networks on a local and global scale. The CITYMAKERS program was initiated by the Robert Bosch Stiftung and is implemented by CONSTELLATIONS International GmbH.

The program starts at 5pm at Impact Hub Ruhr in Essen and features short talks by various urban scholars, planners, landscape architects and other agents of urban development.

A review of the event can be found on the CITYMAKERS homepage here.

November 7-8, 2019, February 20-21, 2020 Conference: “Schichtungen des Urbanen – Ruhrgebiet und Rust Belt“

Members of the Ruhr Universities and the German Department of the University of Cincinnati will co-host the conference “Schichtungen des Urbanen – Ruhrgebiet and Rust Belt” (Urban superpositions – Ruhr Area and Rust Belt). The conference takes place in Dortmund on November 7-8 and in Cincinnati on February 20-21, 2020. 

The interdisciplinary conference focuses on aesthetic representations of the Ruhr and the Rust Belt area and their dynamic transformations throughout the last decades.

From the City Scripts group, Prof. Dr. Jens Gurr will give a keynote speech on “Palimpsests? Spatialized Urban Memory and Postindustrial Cities“ on November 7, from 6-7 pm. The talk will take place in the Fritz-Hüser-Institut in Dortmund.

For more information on the conference, see their event page (only available in German)

Dr. Maria Sulimma is awarded the Rolf Kentner Dissertation Prize

October 24, 2019 Maria Sulimma awarded Rolf Kentner Dissertation Prize in Heidelberg

Maria Sulimma is the recipient of the 2019 Rolf Kentner Dissertation Prize of the Center for American Studies at the University Heidelberg. The prize awards outstanding work in the field of American studies and is endowed with € 1.000. On the occasion of the award ceremony, Maria Sulimma will give a lecture in Heidelberg on television narration, seriality studies and gender studies ("Seriality and Gender: The Politics and Practices of American Television"). The public event will take place on October, 24th.

More information here.

Winter Semester 2019-2020 Seminar: "Portraits of the City"

During the winter semester, City Scripts' researchers Hanna Rodewald and Katharina Wood teach the seminar "Portraits of the City" at the TU Dortmund. The seminar will explore New York City from the intersecting perspectives of Urban Studies and Cultural Studies and, therefore, illuminate the city from the different angles of race, class, and gender and showing how human understandings of cities are informed by both spatial experience as well as urban narration and its representation in literature and culture.

September 27, 2019 Prof. Gurr gives talk at University of Padua

Prof. Dr. Jens Martin Gurr gives the talk “The Diffusion of the ‘Garden City’ Model in the Early 20th Century: A Case Study in the Mobility of Planning Narratives” at the conference “Mobilities of/in Urban Narratives” at the University of Padua.

September 23-24, 2019 Annual conference of Deutscher Anglistenverband

At the annual conference of the German Association for the Study of English (Deutscher Anglistenverband) in Leipzig, Prof. Dr. Jens Martin Gurr organizes and chairs the panel “Literature and …: Perspectives on Interdisciplinarity” together with PD Dr. Ursula Kluwick (Bern). This panel centers around the chances and issues of interdisciplinary research as well as the role of literary studies approaches within interdisciplinary research collectives, such as in urban studies. 

September 18, 2019 Talk by Chris Katzenberg at RuhrFutur offices in Essen

On September 18, Chris Katzenberg will co-host a session of the workshop series “Ideenlabor” with Dr. Markus Hesse (RuhrFutur) at the offices of the inclusive practice partner RuhrFutur in Essen, where he has been an intern since September 1. Chris will speak on the “Collective Impact” model, the scripts concept, and his plans for research during the internship.

A brainstorming session with the RuhrFutur team and members of the Mercator foundation will follow.  A follow-up session on the American origins of Collective Impact and their meaning for its implementation in the Ruhr will take place on November 11.

The photo shows Salon Atelier in Dortmund
The saloon door entrance to the Salon. / Photo © Roland Baege

September 6-29, 2019 Salon Atelier becomes Wild West Saloon

Over the course of the whole September, Hanna Rodewald, together with her seven colleagues of the Dortmund-based artist collective Salon Atelier, staged an impressive Wild West diorama in their studio space at Adlerstraße 66. In celebration of their 10th anniversary, they decided to make use of the shop window like architecture of their workspace in order to build an abstract display of a life-sized desert. In connection with two workshops by a locally based Line Dance Crew as well as a Ranch Roping expert, their artistic installation became a participatory endeavor that adopted and playfully inserted imagery of America’s Wild West to the German Ruhr Area.

As postindustrial cities are often declared new frontier-like spaces, open for the adventurous discovery and re-appropriation by pioneers, the artists aimed to raise questions about structural change, redevelopment approaches and social participation. Who is said to be native and who cowboy? What has become of the changes that were promised or have things stayed the same? Are artists the horses that are being ridden by gentrification?

The project was funded by the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia as part of the program “Individual Funding for Artists” (IKF), a project by the ecce GmbH.

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Martina Oldengott shows renaturalization project of the Emscher to the City Scripts group
Renaturalization project of the Emscher

July 29, 2019 City Scripts Emscher Tour

Dr. Martina Oldengott of the Emschergenossenschaft will introduce the doctoral researchers as well as project partners Diane van Buren and Ernest Zachary of Zachary & Associates, Detroit, to the renaturalization project of the river Emscher during a guided tour. A visit to Kaisergarten in Oberhausen offers the chance to see the natural, pre-industrial origins of the river, as well as its industrial taming and pollution and the plans for a restored, greener Emscher.

As part of the cultural capital of Europe 2010, the Emscher project developed public, recreational spaces, which the group will also explore during their three-hour tour. Afterwards the City Script group is kindly invited to coffee and cake in the Kaisergarten restaurant by the Emschergenossenschaft, before visiting two Emscher-adjacent community gardens.

Group picture of the workshop participants / © Stefan Dierkes

July 26-27, 2019 Internal City Scripts Workshop: “Proof of Concept”

Members and associated mentors of the Research Group will convene for a last workshop before the doctoral researchers embark on their year-long fieldwork phase with project partners. In this last meeting, the researchers will present the conceptions of their dissertational research und get feedback from their advisors and peers. We wish the researchers and partners a productive, inspiring collaboration and look forward to hearing about their work. Even though the City Scripts Group is now scattered over the Ruhr region and US-American rust belt, the website and newsletter will continue to update the researchers’ activities and events.

July 18, 2019 Urban American Studies Colloquium: Final Sessions and Guest Lecture by Barbara Korte (Freiburg)

On July 18th, the final three presentations by researchers of the City Scripts Research Group will take place back to back in a shared colloquiums day. Beginning at 8:30 am Florian Deckers will present his project “Raising Ethnic Voices: Counter-Discourses in the Contemporary Cultural Scenes of New York City and Los Angeles.”

Afterwards, at 10:00 am, the group is excited to welcome the Chair of the English Literature Department at the University of Freiburg, Prof. Dr. Barbara Korte. Barbara Korte will give a presentation related to the Research group “Neues Reisen-Neue Medien” which she is the speaker of.

At 11:40 am, Maria Sulimma will introduce her research project “Trivial Pursuits: The Practices and Politics of Prioritization in Postindustrial Urban Spaces.”

After lunch, at 2 pm, Katharina Wood will present her project “Green Metropoles: Conserving Whose World? Sustainability Standards in the U.S. and Germany.“

All talks will take place in room R12 R04 B11 at the Campus Essen. They are open for anyone interested and the research group looks forward to productive discussions following each presentation.

July 1, 2019 Conference: „Zwischen Anerkennung und Ausgrenzung – Die Emscher-Quartiere im Wandel“

The Kompetenzfeld Metropolenforschung (KoMet) – which is part of the University Alliance Ruhr (UA Ruhr) – is hosting the conference “Zwischen Anerkennung und Ausgrenzung – Die Emscher-Quartiere im Wandel“. The conference takes place in the Lensing-Carrée Conference Center (LCC) in Dortmund (Silberstraße 21, 44137 Dortmund) from 10am to 4.30pm.

The event is co-hosted by the Emschergenossenschaft, the association responsible for managing the water infrastructure of the Ruhr Area.

The transformation of the Emscher, once used as an open sewage river and currently in the process of being re-naturalized, is one of the biggest urban infrastructure projects in the Ruhr Area. The KoMet is closely participating in the Emscher transformation since 2017. KoMet specifically provides an academic perspective on the social and political implications that the Emscher transformation entails.

As one of KoMet’s speakers, City Scripts member Jens Gurr will participate in the event and introduce the conference with the mayor of Dortmund, Ullrich Sierau, and the head of the Emschergenossenschaft, Prof. Dr. Uli Paetzel, as well as present the keynote speaker, Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Heitmeyer (University of Bielefeld).

For more information on the conference, please find the official announcement on the KoMet homepage here.

June 24-25, 2019 Methodological Workshop with Victoria Hegner

The anthropologist Dr. Victoria Hegner (Göttingen) will give a methodological workshop on fieldwork in urban settings for the members of the research group. Through a more general introduction to qualitative approaches in cultural anthropology as well as an introduction to her own fieldwork, Hegner will take on the task of familiarizing humanities scholars with this crucial social science methodology. The workshop will end, with Hegner offering advice and suggestions to the researchers concerning their planned stays with the project partners.

June 17-18, 2019 Methodological Workshop with Iris Dzudzek

The critical urban geographer Prof. Dr. Iris Dzudzek will come to the Campus Essen for a workshop on geographical methodology with the researchers of City Scripts. Dzudzek is a formative influence on the work of the Research Group, specifically her use of the concept of urban ‘scripts,’ as for example in her co-authored article “Performing the Creative-Economy Script: Contradicting Urban Rationalities at Work” (with Peter Lindner) in Regional Studies (49.3). The workshop will allow the Research Group members to discuss the operationalization of theoretical conceptualizations in their planned fieldwork with Dzudzek and also get input on how to embed these methodological undertakings within urban geography.

June 14, 2019 City Scripts at DGfA Conference

The annual conference of the German Association of American Studies (DGfA) will take place at the University Hamburg from June 13-15.  The research group will contribute to the conference’s topic,  “U.S.-American Culture as Popular Culture”, with a panel on cultural urban studies. The panelThe Big City as the Small Screen: Negotiating Popular Culture’s Scripts of Urbanity” is scheduled from 2 pm to 5 pm on Friday, June 14th. The panel is chaired by Barbara Buchenau and Maria Sulimma. Aside from a paper by one of our own, Juliane Borosch, Barbara and Maria are looking forward to the following talks:

  • Florian Groß | Hannover
    “Televisual Urban Decay and The Creative City: Rescripting ‘Gritty’ New York on The Deuce
  • Juliane Borosch | Duisburg-Essen
     
    “Changing the Metonymy: Michigan Central Station and the Face of Detroit”
  • Stephanie Leigh Batiste | USC Santa Barbara 
    “Off Pop: Black Urban Culture and the Possibility of Transformation”
  • Amina Grunewald | HU Berlin 
    “Vancouver’s Lower East Side as a Space for Indigenous Intervention – Rebecca Belmore’s Street Performance Video Vigil: The Named and the Unnamed
  • Rüdiger Heinze | Braunschweig 
    “Alone in the Crowd: Urban Recluses in American Film”
  • Lisanna Wiele | Siegen 
    “Transgression Inscribed – The City Mysteries’ ‘Queer’ Urbanity”

Further,another group member, Randi Gunzenhäuser will be giving the talk “'Playing in the Dark': Whiteness in Video Games” in the panel “Video Games and the Politics of Popular Culture.”

For more information, visit the conference website.

June 12, 2019 Talk by Stephanie Leigh Batiste in Essen

On Wednesday, June 12th, Prof. Dr. Stephanie Leigh Batiste (University of California, Santa Barbara) will give the talk "Performance of Between Spaces and the L.A. Rebellion '92: Affect and the Call to Witness." The talk takes place on Campus Essen in room R12 R04 B02 from 6 to 8pm.

Stephanie is mentoring the City Scripts' sub project Raising Ethnic Voices: Counter-Discourses in the Contemporary Cultural Scenes of New York and Los Angeles. Besides her talk in Essen, she will also give a paper at the annual conference of the German American Studies Association (DGfA).

June 6, 2019 Talk by Stefan Höhne in Essen

On Thursday, June 6th, Dr. Stefan Höhne (KWI Essen) will present the talk “Governing the Narcotic City - Preview and Discussion of the upcoming HERA Research Project (2019-2022)” in the Urban American Studies colloquium organized by the Research Group City Scripts.

Drug cultures are deeply entwined with the economies, governance, and daily life of European cities. Especially within the last fifty years, the consumption and trade of both legal and illegal intoxicants has become a widespread phenomenon which has radically affected social life and social structure. In both media and political discourses, the presence of drug-related practices in public urban spaces is deemed particularly problematic. These practices are often problematically attached to specific urban areas and to marginalized groups such as the homeless, sex workers, or migrants.

Within the framework of the European funding HERA: Public Spaces (2019-2022), the international research project Governing the Narcotic City. Imaginaries, Practices and Discourses of Public Drug Cultures in European Cities from 1970 until today, will investigate how discourses and conflicts related to public drug consumption has influenced the social structures of European cities in the late 20th and early 21st century.

Which imaginary geographies and representations of urban drug cultures have been developed in this time period? How have municipalities regulated contested narcotic spaces? Which actors have called these policies into question and offered alternative strategies and visions? Seeking to address these questions, the research project Governing the Narcotic City will begin in June 2019 to investigate the discourses, practices and imaginaries of public drug cultures from the 1970s until today. In this presentation, Höhne will give a 'Sneak Peek' into the project and discuss ideas and potential research perspectives.

The talk will take place from 2 to 4 pm in room R12 R04 B11 at Campus Essen. Höhne is a research fellow at the Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut Essen where he is leading the project Governing the Narcotic City. Imaginaries, Practices and Discourses of Public Drug Cultures in European Cities from 1970 until today. His most recent publication is called New York Subway - Die Erfindung des urbanen Passagiers (2017).

May 31, 2019 Event in Dortmund: „Experiment Demokratie: Walt Whitman@200“

Members of the research group are involved in putting on a celebratory event for the 200th birthday of US-American poet Walt Whitman. Walter Grünzweig, Randi Gunzenhäuser, Hanna Rodewald and Katharina Wood are part of the organizing team in Dortmund with similar events taking place in New York City and Philadelphia.

In collaboration with the Amerikahaus NRW, the event consists of a multimedia installation at the Dortmunder Rathaus, readings in different languages (by actress Barbara Blümel and others), as well as a book presentation. The organizers ask for advance registration: tuerel.tan@tu-dortmund.de. More information here.

May, 23, 2019 Talk by Boris Vormann in Essen

On Thursday, May 23th, Prof. Dr. Boris Vormann (Political Science at Bard College Berlin) will give the talk “Urbanization and Infrastructural Statecraft in the American Century” in the Urban American Studies colloquium organized by the Research Group City Scripts.

The talk will take place from 2 to 4 pm in room R12 R04 B11 at the Campus Essen. Vormann is a scholar of political science, urban studies, and American studies who has specialized on the relationship of urbanization and globalization, as well as issues of global governance. Among his most recent books are Global Port Cities in North America: Urbanization Processes and Global Production Networks (2015) and Die Krise der Demokratie und wie wir sie überwinden (2017, co-authored with Christian Lammert).

Film Screening and Discussion

May 20, 2019 Film Screening and Discussion with Bocafloja

The multi-disciplinary artist and director Bocafloja (New York) is going to visit Essen on May 20, 2019. Bocafloja cooperates with the Research Group City Scripts for "Raising Ethnic Voices: Counter-Discourses in the Contemporary Cultural Scenes of New York City and Los Angeles."

He will present his latest performative documentary on racialized masculinities titled Bravado Magenta. Through self-cartography and storytelling the Afro-Latino artist, with a background in rap-music, addresses the construction of gender roles in a context of ethnic groups in the Americas. The Research Group cordially invites everyone interested to attend the film screening and subsequent discussion which will take place on May 20 at 4pm in S03 V00 E33.

Playing the Field Two Poster
Playing the Field II Poster / City Scripts

May 15-18, 2019 City Scripts at Conference “Playing the Field II”

Members of the Research Group will participate in the conference “Playing the Field II: Video Games, American Studies, and Space” to be held at the Campus Essen of the University Duisburg-Essen and the Kulturwissenschaftliche Institut Essen. Following a prior conference in Munich in 2018, this conference seeks, as organizer Dietmar Meinel put it, to “continue conversations about video games and American Studies in general to explore a multiplicity of approaches. This time, however, the conference features a thematic focus on a topic central to American Studies: space.” Accordingly, the Research Group is very interested in exploring urban spatialities in this context: Barbara Buchenau will give a keynote on “Imagining Anti: Urban Space.” Maria Sulimma will give the talk “Surviving the City: Zombies, Run and the Horrors of Urban Exercise.” Juliane Borosch will speak on “Organizing Options: Orientational Mapping in Detroit: Becoming Human (2018).” Florian Deckers’ paper “Latinidad in Grim Fandango (1998)” and Elisabeth Haefs’ “#GAMEüse: Planting the Digital Garden” are in the same panel. For the program please click here. [Download, PDF]

May 10, 2019 Talk by Prof. Gurr at Japanese-German Center in Berlin

Prof. Dr. Jens Martin Gurr gives the talk “The Spread of the Garden City Concept in the Early 20th Century – and Implications for the Study of Travelling Concepts/Policy Mobility” at the conference “Innovation in East Asia in Global Context” at the Japanese-German Center Berlin.

May 9, 2019 Talk by Julia Sattler in Essen

On Thursday, May 9th, Dr. Julia Sattler (American Studies at the TU Dortmund) will give the talk “Ruhr/Detroit: Reading Urban Transformation between American Studies and Urban Planning” in the Urban American Studies colloquium organized by the Research Group City Scripts.

The talk will take place from 2 to 4 pm in room R12 R04 B11 at the Campus Essen. Sattler is one of the leading urban scholars in German American Studies and the editor of the anthology Urban Transformations in the USA: Spaces—Communities—Representations (2016).

Apr. 26, 2019 Methodological Workshop with Dieter Hassenpflug

The researchers will participate in a workshop on urban methodology, more specifically urban semiotics (“Werkstatt der urbanen Semiotik”) held by Prof. Dr. Dieter Hassenpflug (Weimar). The workshop will include an introduction to urban semiotics, a case study of the modern Chinese metropolis – Dieter Hassenpflug is the author of Der urbane Code Chinas (Birkhäuser, 2013), as well as a discussion of the conceptualizations of the group’s different research projects.

Apr. 10, 2019 Prof. Buchenau and Prof. Gurr give talk at GCR annual conference

Prof. Dr. Barbara Buchenau and Prof. Dr. Jens Martin Gurr give the joint talk “International Networks and the Diffusion of the 'Garden City' Script in the Early 20th Century” at the conference "Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Global Cooperation Research" of the Käte Hamburger Kolleg/research group “Kulturen der Weltgesellschaft/Global Cooperation Research” in Duisburg. 

Heroism in Anglophone Cultures Poster

Summer Semester 2019 City Scripts at Lecture Series “Heroism in Anglophone Cultures”

Three members of the Research Group will participate in the lecture series “Great Responsibility: Heroism in Anglophone Cultures” during the 2019 summer semester. The lecture series is organized by Lena Mattheis; it gives faculty members of the Department of Anglophone Studies at the University of Duisburg-Essen a platform for research presentations. The series enables joint thinking about heroic responsibility and its representation in cultural forms. Florian Deckers, Elisabeth Haefs and Johannes Krickl will use this opportunity to share their own research on heroism. More information on the lecture series will be made available shortly.

Summer Semester 2019 Seminar by Hanna Rodewald on "Creative Cultures and Urban Transformation"

During the summer semester, Hanna Rodewald teaches the seminar "Creative Culture and Urban Transformation through a Transatlantic Perspective" at TU Dortmund. The seminar interlaces the histories of cities from the American Rust Belt and the German Ruhr Area, focusing on Detroit and Dortmund as post-industrial cities and their shared challenge of redefining their urban landscape. 

Richard Florida’s concept of the Creative Class as the saving solution for urban renewal and economic revitalization is a prominent example of an American urban redevelopment model that has been exported and implemented in cities around the world. During the European Capital of Culture in 2010 the Dortmunder U and its surrounding neighborhood seems to have been highly influenced by Florida’s approach. By means of a transatlantic perspective, the seminar takes a close look at the Dortmunder Unionviertel, visits various agents and institutions and shows the different ways in which art, creativity and culture work towards urban transformation, to eventually show similarities and reversals of Florida’s creativity script.

Apr. - July, 2019 City Scripts Kolloquium during the Summer Semester

During the Summer Semester 2019, the Research Group will organize a public colloquium in Urban American Studies which will take place Thursdays 2-4pm in room R12 R04 B11 at the Campus Essen of the University Duisburg-Essen. In the colloquium, the researchers of the group will present and discuss their ongoing research projects. The colloquium also offers the opportunity to invite external speakers to present their own work. The Research Group is looking forward to talks by Mark Kammerbauer (Augsburg) on April 11th, Julia Sattler (Dortmund) on May 9th, Boris Vormann (Bard College Berlin) on May 23rd, and Stefan Höhne (KWI Essen / University Duisburg-Essen) on June 6th. For a preliminary schedule click here. [Download, PDF]

  • Mark Kammerbauer's talk on the topic of "Cities of Future Past: Platz, Mauer, Turm” on Thursday, April 11th (12 am - 2 pm) takes place at Campus Essen, Room S07 S00 D07
RUDESA Group Picture

Mar. 28, 2019 City Scripts meets RUDESA Spring Academy

The City Scripts’ researchers will organize a workshop for the international students of the American Studies Spring Academy RUDESA which as a joint undertaking of the American Studies’ programs of the University of Duisburg-Essen, Radboud University (NL) and the University of Wyoming (USA) takes place from March 25 to 29th, 2019. In different phases, the workshop provides the RUDESA participants with a brief introduction into Urban American Studies, the group’s methodological concept of the script, and encourages them to apply their new methodological knowledge in a transatlantic comparison of the American Rustbelt and the Ruhr region. The research group thanks the RUDESA organizers, Elena Furlanetto, Zohra Hassan-Pieper, and Frank Mehring, for the opportunity to present and discuss their research with the students. For more on RUDESA click here.

Mar. 27, 2019 Prof. Wala gives lecture at Duisburg Akzente festival

Prof. Dr. Michael Wala gives the lecture “Utopien und Reformen in den USA“ at the festival “40. Duisburger Akzente.“

Mar. 25, 2019 Workshop with Hajo Neis (Portland)

Prof. Dr. Hajo Neis of the School of Architecture and Environment in will be at the Campus Essen for a workshop with the Research Group. City Scripts is very grateful that Neis serves as a mentor AND project partner (in the form of the Collaborative for Inclusive Urbanism) for the project Diversity Gardening. In this workshop, the researchers and Neis will discuss Christopher Alexander’s notion of “Pattern Language” as relevant for practical city planning.

Mar. 20-31, 2019 City Scripts Members in Atlanta

In mid-march, Hanna Rodewald will join an excursion initiated by Randi Gunzenhäuser and Dr. Sibylle Klemm. Building on the TU Dortmund's long cooperation with Oglethorpe University, Gunzenhäuser and Klemm seized the opportunity to venture out and show students firsthand what they have been teaching in their respective seminars "Atlanta: A Hub of Media and Culture" (Gunzenhäuser) and "Stories of 'Black Mecca'." From 20th till 31st March, the students will get a unique inside perspective of the city's university life and gain a deep intercultural understanding while familiarizing themselves with Atlanta-based German-American organizations and institutions. Aspects such as the Civil War, the Civil Rights Movement, Atlanta's Urban Renewal, Media, Street Art, Theatre, Poetry Slam and Food Culture will be of particular interest to the group.

Feb. 15, 2019 ALUS Symposium “Simultaneity in the City”

Members of the research group will participate in a symposium by the Association for Literary Urban Studies (ALUS) on “Simultaneity in the City” which is held at the University of Duisburg-Essen. In the panel “Media in the City,” Juliane Borosch presents the paper “Channeling Urban Complexity: #OneChicago’s Cross-Seriality,” while Maria Sulimma talks about “Simultaneity versus Seriality: The Conflicting Temporality and Locality of Television’s Urban Chase.” Chris Katzenberg’s talk ‘More Cameras in the City than Birds in the Sky:’ Narrativizing Urban Complexity through Mediated Visual Simultaneity in Colum McCann’s ‘Thirteen Ways of Looking’ (2015)” is part of the panel “Unearthing Urban Layers.” Lastly, the research group’s co-speaker Jens Gurr is giving the response to the symposium at the end of the day. All participants of the research group thank the organizers Lena Mattheis and Saskia Hertlein. Find the symposium’s program here.

Picture of Workshop with Lieven Ameel

Feb.14, 2019 Workshop with Dr. Lieven Ameel

The research group meets with Lieven Ameel (TIAS collegium researcher at the University of Turku) for a day of exchange and discussion. Lieven is one of the keynotes of the ALUS symposium to be held at the University Duisburg-Essen. Because Lieven’s extensive work on narrative in urban planning is very influential for the research of City Scripts, the researchers are very grateful for the opportunity to engage with him and discuss their projects.

Scripts Doktoranden und Post Doc vor industriellem Hintergrund an der Henrichshütte Hattingen

Feb. 7, 2019 ‘Industrial Scars’ Exhibition and Guided Tour of LWL-Industriemuseum Henrichshütte Hattingen

On this excursion, members of the research group are able to visit the ‘Industrial Scars’ exhibition by photographer and environmentalist J Henry Fair which shows the bizarre beauty of large-scale environmental destruction and the industrial exploitation of natural resources. The researchers will also attend a guided tour on the premises of the former steel plant in Hattingen with its one remaining smelting furnace and the omnipresent narratives of industry leaving a region and challenging its residents to create a future for themselves.

Feb. 5-6, 2019 GIS Workshop “Statistical Methods and GIS in Urban Studies”

The research group’s PhD students participate in the workshop “Statistical Methods and GIS in Urban Studies” taught by Birgit Sattler. As part of the Urban Systems study program at the University Duisburg-Essen, the workshop introduces the researchers to the geographic information system ArcGIS and allows them to try themselves at layering maps from different historical periods and enriching maps with additional information.

Jan 16, 2019 Prof. Wala responds to "Urbane Zwischenräume. Plätze als städtische Räume" lecture

Prof. Dr. Michael Wala serves as respondent to Prof. Dr. Cornelia Jöchner’s lecture “Urbane Zwischenräume. Plätze als städtische Räume“ at the research day of the faculty of history at the RUB Bochum.

Jan.11-13, 2019 “BarCamp” and Conference “Die superdiverse Stadt” Essen

Barbara Buchenau opens the “BarCamp,” a joint conference by the City Essen, the University, and other civic actors. During the three-day event, scholars, activists, and residents discuss future visions for the ever-evolving and so-called “super”-diverse urban space that is the Ruhr Area. Aside from Barbara Buchenau’s keynote and involvement as a panellist, group members Elisabeth Haefs and Chris Katzenberg host a workshop panel at the Unperfekthaus Essen during which they discuss city planning practices to create a more inclusive and greener city.

Bar Camp Save the Date Poster

                 Bar Camp Picture

Jan. 9, 2019 Prof. Gurr gives guest lecture at University of Konstanz

Prof. Dr. Jens Martin Gurr is invited to the University of Konstanz to give the guest lecture “Scripts in der Stadtentwicklung: Zur globalen Verbreitung zentraler 'Rezepte' - und was die Literatur- und Kulturwissenschaft zu ihrem Verständnis beitragen kann.“

People involved in city scripts project. Group picture.

Nov. 19-20, 2018 Volkswagen Foundation Project Kick-Off (Hannover)

To celebrate the start of the funding program “Wissenschaft und berufliche Praxis in der Graduiertenausbildung,” the Volkswagen Foundation invites all funded research groups to Hannover. The research group City Scripts gladly participates in the introduction and networking this event offers. The group is particularly grateful to the cooperation partners from RuhrFutur (Ulrike Sommer) and Ökozentrum NRW (Thomas Rühle) for joining the researchers for this event.

Picture of Workshop with Bocafloja

Nov. 14-15, 2018 Workshop and Guest-Lecture with Multi-Disciplinary Artist Bocafloja from NYC

A cooperation partner of the project Raising Ethnic Voices, the rapper, poet, and film-maker Bocafloja visits the research group for a talk on the commodification of ethnicity in rap and the body as a signifier of colonial history, as well as a workshop with the research group. At both events, Bocafloja discusses processes of displacement and marginalization concerning ethnic minorities in major urban spaces of the Americas and the potential of art to address and partially reverse them with the researchers.

November 8, 2018 Postgraduate Forum of the German Association for American Studies in Essen

On November 8, the annual conference of the Postgraduate Forum of the German Association for American Studies, co-organized by PhD-candidates of the Ruhr Center of American Studies and Chris Katzenberg will take place. The keynote will be given by Prof. Dr. Randi Gunzenhäuser. Prof. Dr. Barbara Buchenau and junior researchers present the research hypotheses of the group.

November 2, 2018 Talk by Prof. Gurr regarding Travelling Conferences

Together with Prof. Dr. Markus Taube, Prof. Dr. Jens Martin Gurr gives the talk “Travelling Conferences” in the panel “innovative Transfer-Formate” at a conference of research groups in area studies funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Science. Their talk introduces the potentials of a series of international conferences to further global exchange and a sharing of planning concepts in postindustrial urban spaces.

Prof. Gurr is one of the organizers of such a series of travelling conferences on the topic “Transformation of Postindustrial Metropolitan Regions.” These conferences will take place in Osaka/Japan (Sept. 2019), Ulsan/South Korea (Nov. 2019), Cincinnati/USA (Sept. 2020) and Essen (June 2020). Other participating researchers are Prof. Dr. Thorsten Wiechmann (TU Dortmund), Prof. Dr. Markus Taube (UDE) and Prof. Dr. Uta Hohn (Ruhr-Universität Bochum). The conferences are funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Science as part of the IN-EAST School of Advanced Studies as well as the Emschergenossenschaft.

November 1, 2018 Prof. Buchenau and Prof. Gurr give joint lecture in Duisburg

On November 1, Prof. Dr. Barbara Buchenau and Prof. Dr. Jens Martin Gurr give the joint lecture “Policy Mobility und 'Scripts': Ein literaturwissenschaftlicher Blick auf Erfolgsfaktoren für die globale Verbreitung von Konzepten der Stadtentwicklung“ at the conference “Grenzüberschreitende Austauschprozesse von Ideen, Skripten und Institutionen“ of the collective Cross-Area: Verband für transregionale Studien in Duisburg.

Picture of Zeche Zollverein Guided Tour

Oct. 26-27, 2018 Guided Tour of Essen and the Ruhr Area

Hans-Werner Wehling, one of the leading experts on the history of the Ruhr Area, explains the industrial past of Germany’s largest steel and coal producing area to the research group and Urban Studies students during the two-day tour spanning large parts of the region. Visiting former miner-neighborhoods in Essen as well as the new headquarter of ThyssenKrupp and the World Heritage Site Zeche Zollverein, Professor Wehling vividly traces the development from small settlements and cloisters in medieval times to the large post-industrial metropolitan region of today (for his fascinated audience). 

Oct. 16, 2018 Prof. Buchenau gives talk at Ruhr Lecture series

Prof. Dr. Barbara Buchenau gives a talk at Ruhr Lecture The Future of the Ruhr Region: Beyond 2018 and the End of Mining: “Zur gesellschaftlichen Rolle von Universitäten in der postindustriellen Wissensgesellschaft.“

Oct. 8, 2018 Prof. Buchenau and Prof. Gurr give joint talk at IN-East School of Advanced Studies

Prof. Dr. Barbara Buchenau and Prof. Dr. Jens Martin Gurr give the joint talk “'Scripts' and the Global Diffusion of Blueprints for Urban Development” at the conference “Travelling Ideas and Concepts in Urban Development” at the IN-EAST School of Advanced Studies at the University of Duisburg-Essen.

September 23, 2018 Talk by Prof. Gurr at "Smart Life - Smart Cities" conference

Prof. Dr. Jens Martin Gurr gives the talk “Was ist hier anders? Warum viele Ansätze der Stadtforschung für das Ruhrgebiet nicht passen“ at the conference “Smart Life – Smart Cities“ at the catholic academy Die Wolfsburg, Mülheim.

Sept. 11,12 & 18, 2018 Workshops on Urban Sustainability, Inclusivity, and Creativity

The Research Group will meet for three different workshop days (Sep 11, 12 & 18), each thematically centred on one of the three increasingly significant forms of city marketing (sustainability, inclusivity, and creativity). As an introduction to urban studies, the new PhD candidates, the postdoctoral researcher and the advisors will read and discuss relevant scholarship as well as city planning documents which respectively diagnose or construct ecologically sustainable, creative, or socially and culturally inclusive futures for post-industrial cities.

Sept. 6, 2018 Organizational Kick-Off Meeting

The members of the Research Group City Scripts will convene for a first organizational meeting at the KWI (Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut) in Essen. Aside from planning, this meeting will primarily serve introductory purposes, and as such, the group will discuss its grounding methodological notion of a “script” and the practice of “scripting” urban futures. 

April 2018 Prof. Buchenau and Prof. Gurr as Hiroshi-Kitamura-fellows at IN-EAST

From April to September 2018, Prof. Dr. Martin Gurr and Prof. Dr. Barbara Buchenau served as the Hiroshi-Kitamura-fellows at IN-EAST, the Institute for East Asian Studies of the University Duisburg-Essen. The fellowships are dedicated to research on “Travelling Concepts in Urban Development.”

Group picture City Scripts principal investigators

January 2018 Research Group ‘City Scripts’ receives Funding

The Research Group “Scripts for Postindustrial Urban Futures” receives funding by the Volkswagen Foundation. Beginning in September 2018, seven PhDs and one Post Doc Researcher will take up their work. For more information on the group and the predecessor MERCUR-funded project “Urban Transformations in the U.S.A.: Spaces, Communities, Representations” click here and read the press release. [Download, PDF]