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 “Palimpsest und Superposition: Wie passen ‘klassische’ Konzepte von Stadt als verräumlichten Gedächtnis für Altindustriestädte?“ 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)

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: 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 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.

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.

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. 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.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

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.

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). 

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

The Research Group will meet for three different workshop day 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. 

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]