September 23-24, 2021 Maria Sulimma at Seriality/Adaptation Studies Symposium

On September 23rd, Maria Sulimma will participate in an online symposium titled “To Be Continued: Defining, Producing, Performing, Consuming, and Theorizing Serials and Adaptations” hosted by the University of Delaware. In four different panels scholars from around the globe will share and discuss their approaches to seriality and adaptation. Maria will give a short talk on concepts of representation. Attendees are more than welcome to join the conversations. In order to register click here [link wird unterlegt]. For further information contact

© Anni Reeh/Stefan Dierkes. For educational purposes only.

September 9-12, 2021 City Scripts Symposium “Transatlantic Rust Belts” in Detroit

City Scripts will host the interdisciplinary symposium "Transatlantic Rust Belts - Scripting Urban Future(s)" in Detroit organized in cooperation with our project partner Zachary & Associates.
This symposium aims to expand the transatlantic knowledge exchange between the scholarly fields of literary, media, cultural studies and history on the one hand and the professional fields of urban development, city administration, urban art collectives, and social NGOs on the other.
Together with local agents from various fields and interdisciplinary researchers, we will discuss approaches and strategies to reveal the vast potential of postindustrial cities and their people. We seek to enter into a practice-based, sustained conversation with the primary agents who script futures for urban communities struck by deindustrialization and address questions of how to deal with social inequality, economic revival, cultural diversity, and ecological sustainability.
For more information, please visit our symposium page or the official website.
Poster der Konferenz des KWI Essen

September 2-4, 2021 Jens Gurr and Maria Sulimma at KWI Conference

On September 2-4, Jens Martin Gurr and Maria Sulimma will participate in “Ecologies of Fear: Spatial Politics and Imaginaries of Crisis and Danger” at Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI) in Essen. The conference seeks to address different forms of ecological fear, such as the climate crisis or Covid-19 and investigate how they change and affect our perception and production of space.  Together with Roman Bartosch (University of Cologne), Jens will give a presentation on “Changing Fearscapes in Climate Change Fiction. “ The talk by Maria is titled: “Where is Everybody? The Agoraphobic Imagination of Gentrification in Times of COVID-19”. The conference will take place in a hybrid format. For further information visit the conference’s website.

Matthew M. Harris

July 15, 2021 City Scripts Virtual Colloquium: Talk by Matthew M. Harris

On July 15, 6 to 8pm, Matthew M. Harris from University of California, Santa Barbara, will visit the City Scripts colloquium to give an online talk and discuss his research with the group members. The title of his talk is "Sun Ra Among the Black Gods of the Metropolis".

July 15, 2021 “TV Thursday: "Good Wives, Witches & Girlbosses - wie Serien Frauen eine Stimme geben” with Maria Sulimma

On July 15th, Maria Sulimma will participate in a second edition of TV Thursday, this time dealing with TV-shows that have been produced by women. Together with Vanessa Schneider, she will discuss how the production landscape is changing and what makes TV-Shows such as “Big Little Lies” so unique, especially with regard to how they present different women and their realities. To join the conversation online please register here .

Six Flags Mall Entrance /

July 8, 2021 City Scripts Virtual Colloquium: Talk by Jan Logemann

On July 8, 6 to 8pm, Jan Logemann from Georg August University of Göttingen will visit the City Scripts colloquium to give an online talk and discuss his research with the group members.                                                                                                                                                    The title of his talk is "Fall of the Mall? Die Entwicklung (sub)urbaner Shopping Spaces seit den 1970er Jahren".

portrait of Robert S. Emmett
Dr. Robert S. Emmett

July 1, 2021 City Scripts Virtual Colloquium: Talk by Robert S. Emmett

On July 1, 6 to 8pm, Robert S. Emmett from Virginia Tech will visit the City Scripts colloquium to give an online talk and discuss his research with the group members. The title of his talk is : "Hollers and Pipeline Publics: the Art and Politics of Energy Transition in Central Appalachia".

June 22 Katharina Wood at Philipps-University Marburg

On June 22, Katharina Wood will be holding a digital guest lecture at the Philipps-University Marburg on Black Lives Matter as a social movement. The title of her talk is "Black Lives Matter: Innovative Black Resistance" and will discuss the movement's use of social media, empowerment of female and LGBTQI+ leaders, and speak about Patrice Cullors' memoir "When They Call You a Terrorist".

June 18 Katharina Wood at AMPS Conference

Katharina Wood is speaking at the digital AMPS Conference titled "Cities in a Changing World: Questions of Culture, Climate, and Design" on Friday, June 18th ( She will be presenting her work on the planned tiny village in Dortmund-Sölde and discuss its possible contributions to urban sustainability and sufficiency. The title of the talk is: "Tiny Living in Dortmund: An Experiment in Urban Sustainability and Sufficiency."

Screenshot DGfA Conference

June 17-19, 2021 Maria Sulimma at DGfA Conference

The annual conference of the German Association of American Studies (DGfA) will take place at the University Heidelberg from June 17-19, 2021, on the topic “Participation in American Culture and Society.” Maria Sulimma is part of the panel "Dispatches from the Method Wars: New Approaches to Cultural Agency and Participation in American Studies” chaired by Ilka Brasch (Hannover) and Alexander Starre (FU Berlin). Maria’s talk is called “‘Needs to Be More Explicit about the Methodologies…’: Reluctance, Collaboration, and Vulnerability in Research Processes;” in her talk she will also address the experiences of collaborative research in third-party funded research collectives. 

June 11, 2021 Prof. Dr. Jens Martin Gurr on Urban Developments

On June 11th, Prof. Dr. Jens Martin Gurr will give a digital presentation with the title: “From the Garden City to the Smart City: On the Global Diffusion of Urban Models and Policies”. During the session, the key UDE research fields in the context of the Ruhr Fellows Programme are highlighted, as students from U.S. elite universities are present.

Foto von Rebecca Brückmann
Rebecca Brückmann

June 10, 2021 City Scripts Virtual Colloquium: Talk by Rebecca Brückmann

On June 10, 2 to 4pm, Rebecca Brückmann from Ruhr University Bochum will visit the City Scripts colloquium to give an online talk and discuss her research with the group members. Her talk is titled: "Reconstructing Biopolitics: Yellow Fever and the Gulf South".


May 28-29, 2021 Maria Sulimma at Conference "The City, the Media & Gentrification"

On May 28-29, 2021, Maria Sulimma  will attend the conference “The City, the Media & Gentrification: Actors, Discourses and Representations” of the Sorbonne Université  Paris. Key Notes will be held by Japonica Brown-Saracino (Boston University) and Sylvie Tissot (Sarbonne Université). Maria’s talk is called “Gentrification in Series:  Television Storytelling from Gentefied to Search Party.” For much information on the conference and its program visit:

A group of Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority bus drivers, circa 1975. Boyd Lewis/Atlanta History Center

May 27, 2021 City Scripts Virtual Colloquium: Talk by Robert Gioielli

On May 27, 2 to 4 pm, Robert Gioielli from University of Cincinnati will visit the City Scripts colloquium to give an online talk and discuss his research with the group members. His talk is titled "A MARTA Story: Race, Buses and the Resegregation of Urban Mobility."

May 20, 2021 Talk by Barbara Buchenau at KU Eichstätt

On May 20, City scripts speaker Barbara Buchenau will give a talk at the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt as part of the lecture series "Mensch in Bewegung." Her lecture is titled "'Heroisch Scheitern in den besten und schlechtesten aller möglichen Welten' - Anforderungen an eine transdisziplinäre Narratologie" ("'On Heroically Failing in Utopian and Dystopian Worlds - Developing a Transdisciplinary Narratology").

The abstract for her talk:

Nichts besticht mehr als eine herzerwärmende Erfolgsgeschichte, so die Hypothese frappierend vieler Entscheidungsgremien in westlichen Demokratien. Spätestens seit der Postmoderne floriert das affektive storytelling als gestalterisches Verfahren im Bereich der Politik und der Wirtschaft (Reckwitz 2018). Gute Geschichten sollen heute jenseits der Sphäre erzählt werden, die in der Phase des Bürgertums als Ort der Erbauung, des Müßiggangs und der Erfindung neuer möglicher Welten geschaffen wurde. Durchgesetzt haben sich im Geschäft der Politik ebenso wie auf dem Markt und im Marketing dabei gerade einmal zwei Spielarten – boy meets girl und rags to riches (und ihre diversitätskonformen Abwandlungen). Derart eingespannt in Genrekonventionen und unmittelbare Wirkungserwartungen taugen Erzählungen aber nicht als risikominimiertes „Probehandeln" für die notwendigen Transformationen (Wellershoff 1973). Denn die großen Erzählungen – also Erzählungen, welche in ganz unterschiedlichen Kontexten gestalterische Energien freisetzen – befassen sich mit dem Scheitern. Die literarischen Blaupausen des politischen Umbruchs, des gesellschaftlichen Aufbruchs und des ökologischen wie ökonomischen Umlenkens handeln von Figuren, die ebenso widersprüchlich und unergründlich sind wie ihr Umfeld. Es sind Figuren, die weder gewinnen, noch es richtig machen können und die gerade deshalb überzeugen und inspirieren. Derzeit entwickeln die Literatur- und Medienwissenschaften in Zusammenarbeit mit ihren Partner*innen aus Politik, Bildung und Wirtschaft eine transdisziplinäre Erzählforschung, die sich dieser gestalterischen Macht des gesamtgesellschaftlichen storytelling annimmt.

Simon Dickel

May 20, 2021 City Scripts Virtual Colloquium: Talk by Simon Dickel

OE.T., the Extraterrestrial, 1982.
E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial, 1982

n May 20, 2 to 4pm, Simon Dickel from Folkwang University in Essen will visit the City Scripts colloquium to give an online talk and discuss his research with the group members. The title of his talk is: "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial: Embodiment, Disability, and the Limits of the Coming Out Narrative" "


May 07, 2021 Maria Sulimma at Symposium "Urban Intersections"

On May 7, 2021, Maria Sulimma will participate in the international symposium “Urban Intersections: Class, Race, Gender and Gentrification” organized by Nick Bentley and James Peacock at Keele University, UK. Maria’s talk is called “Dilemma as Technique: Gentrifier-Protagonists in Sarah Schulman’s Maggie Terry and Ottessa Moshfegh’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation.”

April 30 – May 02, 2021 Hanna Rodewald at the European Association for American Studies

Hanna Rodewald will digitally participate in the EAAS Conference in Warsaw, Poland. As the title “20/20 Vision: Citizenship, Space and Renewal” indicates, the conference aims to include a variety of interdisciplinary topics encompassing American Studies. Hanna Rodewald will contribute to the panel “The Wilderness and the Garden”. The title of her talk is “From Creative Class to Creative Frontier: Postindustrial Spaces of Possibility”. For further information visit

April 22, 2021 City Scripts Virtual Colloquium: Roundtable on Pedagogy, Activism, and Literacy

On April 22, from 6 to 8pm, the City Scripts Colloquium will feature a roundtable regarding "'The Greatest Weapons Reside in the Realm of Ideas': A Conversation about Pedagogy, Activism, and Literacy." The panelists include Renee M. Moreno (California State University, Northridge), Eric Mann (Organizer/Author), Robin D.G. Kelley (University of California, Los Angeles) and Chris Katzenberg (Ruhr-University Bochum).

Robin Kelley
Robin Kelley

      Renee Moreno
Renee Moreno
        Eric Mann   

Eric Mann
Chris Katzenberg Foto
Chris Katzenberg

Screenshot TV Thursday

April 15, 2021 6:00pm-7:30pm Online Conversation: TV Thursday - Serial Politics with Maria Sulimma

On April 15th, Maria Sulimma will participate in a discussion on political TV-Series and their connection to former US-American presidencies. Together with Vanessa Schneider, she will talk about how popular TV shows portray American politics and the country’s state of mind. To join the conversation online please register here

April 7, 2021 Juliane Borosch and Florian Deckers at the American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting

Juliane Borosch and Florian Deckers will digitally participate at the American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting in Seattle, Washington. They both will give talks in the panel “’Seek your own land’: Enacted Narratives, Spatialized Narratives 2” organized by Joern Langhorst and Renee Moreno, with whom the research group has had the pleasure of working with before. Juliane Borosch will speak on “Contested Stories – (Re-)Narrating Detroit through Urban Landmarks,” while Florian Deckers’ talk is called “Counter-Scripting El Barrio: The Changing Function of (Political) Murals in Spanish Harlem.” For more on the conference and its program visit:

Image used under CC - flickr/giuseppemil 1

March 8-12, 2021 Spring Academy RUDESA with focus on Urban Intersections

Barbara Buchenau, Juliane Borosch, and Maria Sulimma will co-organize the spring academy RUDESA 2021 on the topic “Transatlantic City: Intersections of Race, Class, and Gender” with their Dutch colleagues. RUDESA is a joint undertaking by the American Studies departments of the Radboud University Nijmegen and Duisburg-Essen that follows the didactic and research aim to “ground Transnational American Studies in European and American Contexts.”

Regarding its topic, “Urban Intersections,” the metaphor of intersections here refers to both the foundational work on intersectionality by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, Patricia Hill Collins, Ange-Marie Hancock, Jennifer C. Nash, and others, as well as to the urban intersection that one has to look both ways at to cross.

To use intersections to think about the city, hence, means to look both ways and always consider how cities, our imagination of them, and the lives of urban dwellers are impacted by race and gender. Such aspects have traditionally not been given the same importance as class-related problems in urban studies and have only in recent years come to be regarded in connection with class-based approaches to the city. This topic combines the research interest in urban memory culture of the American Studies department at Radboud University Nijmegen as well as the work of the research group City Scripts.

In these turbulent times, it also allows for a very different kind of “grounding” experience of RUDESA 2021, since all of the speakers, staff, and students will bring their own intersectional experiences of the city and city life during a global pandemic and urban protests such as the Black Lives Matter movement to the online spaces in which RUDESA 2021 will take place.

RUDESA 2021 will feature talks by Dr. Marguerite van den Berg (University of Amsterdam), Courtney Moffett-Bateau (Fulbright Berlin), Zohra Hassan-Pieper (University of Duisburg-Essen), and Sage Gerson (University of California, Santa Barbara). If you are interested in participating in RUDESA 2021, send an email to Dr. Maria Sulimma ( until December 1st, 2020.

February 22-26, 2021 City Scripts Research Retreat

During the last week in February the members of the City Scripts Research group will meet for a research retreat to work on current writing in the different projects. Unfortunately this research retreat will have to take place online due to measures against COVID-19.

February 15, 2021 (Virtual) Book Launch for Charting Literary Urban Studies (Jens Martin Gurr)

Please join us for the launch of Charting Literary Urban Studies: Texts as Models of and for the City (Routledge, 2021) by Jens Martin Gurr on Monday, February 15, at 6pm.

Thomas Heise from Penn State University, Julia Sattler from TU Dortmund University, Lena Mattheis from Universität Duisburg-Essen and Elisabeth Haefs will act as commentators for the book. Charting Literary Urban Studies is available open access here.

Please register with Upon registration, you will be sent the Zoom details.

February 12-13, 2021 City Scripts members at Conference “Ruhr PhD Forum 2021”

On February 12 and 13, the RuhrCenter of American Studies will jointly host its yearly conference workshop for early career scholars, the “Ruhr PhD Forum”. This time, the event will take place virtually on ZOOM.

It will bring together more than a dozen doctoral and post-doctoral speakers from the Ruhr region and larger Germany to present their current research. Two invited senior experts, Prof. Dr. Regina Schober (Düsseldorf) and Prof. Dr. Birgit Spengler (Wuppertal) will join the RuhrCenter’s professors and the wider audience in providing productive feedback.

The City Scripts members Hanna Rodewald and Katharina Wood will speak on their work(s) in progress. Hanna, Chris Katzenberg, Johannes Krickl, and Elisabeth Haefs are also among this year’s doctoral organizers.

February 11, 2021 City Scripts Virtual Colloquium: Talk by Florian Freitag

On February 11, 2 to 4 pm, Prof. Dr. Florian Freitag from the University of Duisburg-Essen will visit the City Scripts colloquium to give an online talk and discuss his research with the group members. The title of his talk is "Scripting Fun: Theme Park Paramedia."

February 08, 2021 Prof. Dr. Jens Martin Gurr at "Climate Change Communication" Workshop Series

On February 8th, Prof. Dr. Jens Martin Gurr will participate in the "Climate Change Communication" Workshop Series, conducted by the Universities of Leeds, Duisburg-Essen, Cologne, and Koblenz Landau. The title of his talk is called: "'Models of' and 'Models for': Model Theory and Cli-Fi Novels".

January 28, 2021 City Scripts Virtual Colloquium: Talk by Joern Langhorst

On January 28, from 4 to 6pm, Joern Langhorst from the University of Colorado-Denver will visit the City Scripts colloquium to give an online talk and discuss his research with the group members.

The title of his talk is "Contested Space and Enacting Dissent: Deliberation, Agonism, Spatial Strategies and Spatial Tactics."

January 25-29, 2021 Theme Week “Scripting Urban Space during COVID-19”

From January 25th to 29th, members of the City Scripts research group will collaborate with the website In Media Res for the Theme Week “Scripting Urban Space during COVID-19.” Each day one member of the research group will curate a cultural artifact from their research to demonstrate how the global COVID-19 pandemic effects urban living and the city scripts that circulate about it.

In July 2020, the United Nations announced the release of a new policy brief on COVID-19 and cities by describing urban areas as “ground zero of the COVID-19 pandemic, with 90 percent of reported cases”. While cities across the globe struggle to respond to the challenges of the pandemic (health systems, sanitation, housing), it is surprising how quickly COVID-19 was framed as primarily an urban phenomenon, an opportunity to rethink and restructure urban communities, as well as possibly a warning sign to overthink urban concentrations altogether (see, for example, The New York Times article “New Yorkers Are Fleeing to the Suburbs” from August 2020).

Our theme week explores which narratives (or scripts) surrounding urban life circulate as a result of COVID-19 and its media coverage. Contributors seek to continue and expand upon the discussion started by the In Media Res theme week “The Pandemic and Public Memory” (June 28-July 3, 2020) by focusing on urban space and their usage, perceived pandemic-related changes, and practices of storytelling/scripting.

The contributions range from the narrative of fleeing the contagious city and the urban/rural dichotomy (Maria Sulimma), the utopian fantasy of urban gardening during a pandemic (Elisabeth Haefs), the precarious role of artist communities and urban protests such as Black Lives Matter (Florian Deckers), urban museums and socially distant walking tours (Hanna Rodewald), as well as strategies of urban stadiums to respond to pandemic security measures (Juliane Borosch).

To access all the contributions, please follow the link here.

Aerial View of Cleveland, Ohio / Photo: DanMS

Johannes Maria Krickl awarded EAAS Transatlantic Travel Grant

For his research on the recent urban history of Cleveland, Ohio and the city’s substantial re-scripting efforts to propel the image of a sustainable Waterfront City, Johannes Maria Krickl was awarded a 2020 Transatlantic Travel Grant funded by the European Association for American Studies (EAAS).

As soon as measures against the current COVID-19 pandemic will allow travel, Johannes will spend six to eight weeks in Ohio’s north. He aims to collect historical data for the project Waterfront Reconquista and to cooperate with Cleveland State University’s History Department and Center for Public History + Digital Humanities, which will generously serve as his host institutions. Johannes will further present his research at CSU’s Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs.

January 15, 2021 Third “Barcamp” on Urban Diversity in Essen

On January 15, 2021, the third “Barcamp” put on by the City Essen, the University Duisburg-Essen, and other civic actors will take place as a webinar. Scripts Speaker Barbara Buchenau is part of the Barcamp's planning team and will moderate a roundtable (Topic: “Rassismus in unserer Stadtgesellschaft: Wir müssen reden…und…?“) with panelists Dr. Noa K. Ha, Dr. Mayannah N. Dahlheim, Safwat Raslan, and Lina Kabangu. Several City Scripts members will be present and discuss their research with participants of the barcamp.

For more information see the website of the Barcamp here.

January 14, 2021 City Scripts Virtual Colloquium: Talk by Colton Saylor

On January 14, from 6 to 8pm, Colton Saylor from San José State University will visit the City Scripts colloquium to give an online talk and discuss his research with the group members. The title of his talk is "Monstrous Elsewheres: The Horror Spatial Imaginary in Black Fiction."

Thomas Heise

December 17, 2020 City Scripts Virtual Colloquium: Talk by Thomas Heise

On December 17, from 2 to 4pm, Thomas Heise from Penn State University will visit the City Scripts colloquium to give an online talk and discuss his research with the group members. The title of the talk is "From Broken Windows to Glass Condos: Narratives of Crime, Gentrification, and the Postindustrial City" and will especially examine post-1990s Crime Fiction in New York City.

Thomas Heise is the author of Urban Underworlds: A Geography of Twentieth-Century American Literature and Culture (Rutgers University Press 2011), a book in the American Literatures Initiative. His current manuscript "Detecting New York: Crime Fiction, Gentrification, and the Postindustrial City" is under contract with Columbia University Press for the Literature Now series.

He has also published essays in African American Review, Modern Fiction Studies, Twentieth-Century Literature, Journal of Urban Cultural Studies, American Literary History, as well as the experimental novel Moth; or how I came to be with you again (Sarabande 2013) and Horror Vacui: Poems (Sarabande 2006). A former professor at McGill University, he is now a faculty member in the Department of English at Pennsylvania State University (Abington).

December 14, 2020 City Scripts at KoMet Conference

On December 14, members of the research group will participate in an online conference organized by the Competence Field Metropolitan Research/Kompetenzfeld Metropolenforschung on the topic "Future Narratives for Metropolitan Regions." Barbara Buchenau, Jens Martin Gurr, Juliane Borosch, Johannes Krickl, Katharina Wood, and our participating investigator Julia Sattler will give talks, moderate, or contribute to panels. The conference will take place in German. To register and get more information on the conference, follow this link.

© Routledge

December 11, 2020 Publication of monograph Charting Literary Urban Studies by Jens Martin Gurr

We congratulate our co-speaker Jens Martin Gurr on the publication of Charting Literary Urban Studies: Texts as Models of and for the City with Routledge. The monograph will be out in print early 2021 but is already available open access here.

It includes the joint chapter “Scripts in Urban Development” that is co-written with City Scripts speaker Barbara Buchenau.

From the publisher’s abstract: “Are the blueprints or 'recipes' for urban development that most quickly travel around the globe – such as the 'creative city', the 'green city' or the 'smart city' – really always the ones that best solve a given problem? Or is the global spread of such travelling urban models not least a matter of their narrative packaging? In answering these key questions, this book also advances a literary studies contribution to the general theory of models, tracing a heuristic trajectory from the analysis of literary texts as representations of urban developments to an analysis of literary strategies in planning documents and other pragmatic, non-literary texts."

Tazalika te Reh

December 3, 2020 City Scripts Virtual Colloquium: Talk by Tazalika te Reh

On December 3, from 2 to 4pm, architect and cultural studies scholar Tazalika te Reh will visit the City Scripts colloquium to present "A Project Report." Besides her teaching engagement as a faculty member and fellow at the Salzburg Global Seminar, she is currently also managing a re-construction project in Cologne, on which she will put a focus in her talk. Tazalika was a member of the Mercur graduate research program “Spaces – Communities – Representations: Urban Transformations in the United States."

She defended her dissertation "Under Construction. Between Architecture, Space, and the Racial Black Spaces of Transformation in New York City between 1925/26 and 2007" at the TU Dortmund University in 2020. As an independent scholar and architect, she combines resonate sets of professional and academic interests, that speak not only to the City Scripts profile, but present an intriguing angle and vantage point for more critical urban thinking.

Current photo and design of Tazalika te Reh's current
construction project in Cologne. © Tazalika te Reh

House Planning

November 24-26, 2020 Online Symposium “Scripts, Scapes und Situierte Normativität“ in Essen

Together with its sister research group “Neues Reisen - Neue Medien“ (University of Freiburg), the City Scripts group is currently in the process of planning and acquiring funding for a shared symposium called “Scripts, Scapes und Situierte Normativität.“ The symposium will bring together researchers of both groups to discuss findings, concepts, methodologies, and the intership phases of the junior researchers.

**Due to the current COVID-19 protective measures and the lockdown in Germany, the symposium will have to take place online.

Magda García

November 12, 2020 City Scripts Virtual Colloquium: Talk by Magda García

On November 12, from 6 to 8pm, Magda García from the University of Santa Barbara, California, will visit the City Scripts colloquium to give an online talk and discuss her dissertation project with the group members.

Her talk is called "Carving Coraje: Rage, Death, and the Domestic on Celeste De Luna's Border Visual Art."

November 9, 2020 Barbara Buchenau joins panel on implications of US elections on East Asia

On November 9, from 6.30 to 8pm, City Scripts speaker Barbara Buchenau will partake on a panel discussion regarding the implications of the US election on East Asia. The panel is organized by IN-East, the institute of East Asia Studies which is located at the University of Duisburg-Essen.

November 5, 2020 City Scripts Virtual Colloquium: Talk by Zohra Hassan-Pieper

On November 5, from 2 to 4pm, Zohra Hassan-Pieper from University of Duisburg-Essen will visit the City Scripts colloquium to give an online talk and discuss her dissertation project with the group members.

October 23, 2020 Interview with Walter Grünzweig in Deutschlandfunk

On Friday, October 23, 2020, Walter Grünzweig was interviewed by Deutschlandfunk about the second presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. Listen to the full interview here.

August 23, 2020 Barbara Buchenau hosts Climate Debate of the Mayoral Candiates for Essen

On August 23, City Scripts speaker Barbara Buchenau will host a debate of the five local politicians seeking election as the next mayor of the city of Essen. The debate will especially focus on the mayoral candidate’s plans to make the city more sustainable, inclusive, and climate-friendly. During the debate, local sustainability organizations will fact-check the statements made by the candidates.

The livestream of the debate can be accessed via the YouTube channel of the non-profit organization Gemeinsam für Stadtwandel here. A shorter written summary of the debate is available here on the Gemeinsam für Stadtwandel website.

August 21, 2020 Maria Sulimma gives online talk on N.K. Jemisin's "The City We Became"

On August 21, 2020, Maria Sulimma will participate in the online symposium “Representing Urban Change: Gentrification and Displacement in Literature and other Media” hosted by Uppsala University. The event is organized by Hanna Henryson (Uppsala University), Jason Finch (Åbo Akademi University), and Åse Richard (Uppsala University). James Peacock (Keele University) will hold the keynote lecture.

Maria’s talk takes place in the session “Fiction, History and Urban Transformation,” and is titled “Is that how Lovecraftian Horror Works Now?!: On Gentrification, Cultural Homogeneity, and Dichotomies of Consumerism in N.K. Jemisin’s The City We Became.”

A recording of Maria's talk can be watched here. All other talks of the symposium are also available online.

July 16, 2020 Hanna Rodewald takes participants for evening walk around Dortmunder U

Upheaval, reconstruction, relocation, rethinking – during the last decade, the Dortmunder U, one of the city's most symbolic buildings, underwent several crucial changes. This evening walk will explore all these puzzle pieces of the restructuration and show, how this former industrial basement skyscraper became a cultural beacon of an entire region. Hanna Rodewald will guide this exploratory trip to the surrounding neighbourhood, thereby collecting impressions and experiences that are otherwise so often ignored. 

Little Friday is part of the 10-year anniversary programme of the Dortmunder U: every Thursday from 7-9pm, exclusive events will take place at different locations in and around the Dortmunder U. For more information on this series, check the homepage of the Dortmunder U here.

July 7, 2020 Maria Sulimma in Braunschweig for „Kernbegriffe für die Stadt der Zukunft“

On July 7th, Maria Sulimma will give the talk “Unmittelbare Stadt” [„The Immediate City“] in the lecture series “Kernbegriffe für die Stadt der Zukunft“ [Key concepts for Cities of the Future] at the TU Braunschweig. The interdisciplinary lecture series is organized by Prof. Dr. Eckart Voigts and Dr. Maria Marcsek-Fuchs of the Department of British and American Studies at the TU Braunschweig.

Due to the current COVID-19 crisis, this talk took place as an online video-conference event. Watch a recording of Maria's talk (in German) in the window below.

Lade den Film...

June 17-19, 2020 Hanna Rodewald at Virtual Conference: The City and Complexity

From June 17-19th, Hanna Rodewald will participate at the interdisciplinary conference "The City and Complexity–Life, Design and Commerce in the Built Environment" organized by City, University of London and AMPS. Initially planned to take place in London, the conference will have to be moved to a fully virtual event due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. With her talk on “Postindustrial Cities as Polyrational Frontiers of Creativity,” Hanna Rodewald will analyze the use of the frontier metaphor in creative postindustrial urban reimagination.

June 12, 2020 City Scripts meets Barbara Eckstein and James A. Throgmorton

As the symposium “Transatlantic Rust Belts” in Detroit had to be postponed to 2021, due to the current COVID-19 crisis, the organizing team arranged a virtual meeting with the symposium’s keynote speakers, Barbara Eckstein and James Throgmorton, prior to the in-person meeting next year. Their interdisciplinary approach to look at cities as literary phenomena, as well as urban planning as a narrative enterprise, stands at the theoretical core of this research group. With their cooperatively published book Story and Sustainability (2003), as well as Throgmorton’s publication on Planning as Persuasive Storytelling (1996), they have created parts of the intellectual foundation for City Scripts.

On Friday, June 12, the group virtually met with both and discussed two of their recent papers.

May 28, 2020 Talk by Conrad Kickert on Detroit

On May 28, Conrad Kickert will give a talk in Essen that will detail parts of his recent book Dream City: Creation, Destruction, and Reinvention in Downtown Detroit (2019, MIT Press). He is an assistant professor of urban design at the University of Cinncinnati, focusing his research on the shape and shaping of the city, and the effect its design has on the inner working of the city.

This talk will take place online from 4 to 6pm. If you are interested in joining the research group City Scripts for the lecture and discussion with Conrad Kickert, please contact Jens Martin Gurr.

May 25-29, 2020 Digital writing week at the KWI with Scripts member

Scripts doctoral researcher Katharina Wood engaged in a week-long online workshop at the KWI in Essen, which helped doctoral candidates of the UA Ruhr to tackle difficulties in writing their theses. The "Digital KWI Schreibwoche" aimed to create a space of exchange for talking about writing problem, which is especially pivotal, as the current time of isolation offers less possibilities to discuss and reflect ideas to develop writing.

The days started with a writing phase in the morning with moderated breaks for exchanging the progress, followed by input phases and tandem feedback sessions in the afternoon. Inputs were provided by Anja Schürmann (state of research and research thesis), Hanna Engelmeier (shortening), Stefan Höhne (paragraph transition and ending) and Julika Griem (terminology). On wednesday, the participants engaged in a panel discussion regarding the recently published anthology "Institutsprosa" (edited by Kevin Kempke, Lena Vöcklinghaus, Miriam Zeh) ), which discusses writing as a form of art and scientific endeavor, especially involving literary institutes at universities.

© Hanna Rodewald

May 11-16, 2020 Hanna Rodewald presents collection of Museum Ostwall

As public life and thus also museums had to close over the last couple of weeks, doctoral researcher Hanna Rodewald took over the social media channels of the Museum Ostwall (May 11 to 16) to provide a virtual tour of the current collection exhibition titled "Body & Soul. Denken, Fühlen, Zähneputzen" (Thinking, Feeling, Brushing Teeth).

Based on the exhibition title, her presentation introduced a specific body part to the viewers, the belly! The thematic investigation shows the manifold forms of the belly and its representation and reception in art and everyday life. From Otto Mueller to Pablo Picasso, bellies can be indicators of our physical and psychic well-being and more often than we know they even influence our decision-making.

For more information on her presentation see the Museum's Instagram page here.

The collection exhibition "Body & Soul" will run until February 27, 2022.

May 8, 2020 Scripts members join talk by historian Robin Kelley (UCLA) on "Lessons Learned in confinement"

On May 8, scripts members Florian Deckers and Chris Katzenberg will join an invited talk by the renowned African American historian Robin D.G. Kelley (UCLA). The transnational event is organized online by Prof. Rene Moreno at the Chicana/o studies department at CSUN, who is one of the US mentors of the Scripts group.

Prof. Kelley will speak on "Lessons Learned in Confinement", reflecting both on how confinement (differently) affects African Americans in the current pandemic, and how it resonates with experiences of forced confinement and restricted mobility in African American history, from slavery to urban segregation and racially-skewed mass incarceration. Kelley will discuss how these forms of confinement have not only produced suffering among Black Americans, but have also driven the creative imagination of radical alternatives.

We want to thank Prof. Moreno for extending the invitation to this fascinating transatlantic exchange with Prof. Kelley, who, among other achievements, has made important contributions to the study of American cities and social movements from a Black perspective with works such as Yo' Mama's DisFunktional!: Fighting the Culture Wars in Urban America, Race Rebels: Culture, Politics and the Black Working Class or Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination.

March 16-20, 2020 City Scripts at the RUDESA Spring Academy

From March 16-20, 2020, the American Studies Spring Academy RUDESA of the American Studies’ Departments at the University of Duisburg-Essen and the Radboud University (NL) will take place. The Spring Academy allows students and faculty of both universities to meet and discuss their current work. As in the year before, City Scripts members will attend and assist the organizers Dietmar Meinel and Frank Mehring. Barbara Buchenau and Maria Sulimma look forward to traveling to Nijmegen with the students and organizers. For more on RUDESA click here.

March 7, 2020 Maria Sulimma at Berlin Feminist Film Week

At this year’s Berlin Feminist Film Week, on March 7th, Maria Sulimma will be involved in a Screening of the German movie bandits (1997) by director Katja von Garnier. The Film festival claims the movie as “Feminist Film Heritage,” and Maria will give a lecture on the film, its genre hybridity, and gendered spin on genres such as the prison film, the road movie, or the music video. Further, Maria will compare bandits to the television series Orange is the New Black (Netflix, 2013-2019).

After the screening, Maria will speak with actor Jasmin Tabatabai about her experiences shooting the movie, its gendered reception in 1997 and today, and how gender and feminism matter in the movie industry.

For more information go to:

March 5-7, 2020 Juliane Borosch, Florian Deckers, and Elisabeth Haefs at Narrative Conference in New Orleans

Narrative 2020 is the annual conference for the International Society for the Study of Narrative. It is hosted by Mississippi State University and sponsored by the University of New Orleans as well as Tulane University, including support from numerous affiliated institutions. The conference is organized by Kelly Marsh and Dan Punday (both from Mississippi State University), with help from Nancy Easterlin (University of New Orleans).

To present their work in progress, three City Scripts members will partake in this international format. On Friday, March 6, Juliane Borosch will hold a talk on “Projecting Narratives for Change: Postindustrial Monuments as Media.” Florian Deckers’s talk explores the topic of “Narrating Nationality: German/American Automobile Advertising in Print and TV.” The paper presented by Elisabeth Haefs focuses on “Scripts and Emplotment: A Theoretical Approach to Narrative in Urban Planning.”

Elisabeth Haefs also receives the Society's Graduate Student International Travel Award.

Information on the society, as well as past and future conferences, can be found here.



March 3, 2020 Workshop “Theme Parks and Urbanity” with Florian Freitag, Filippo Carlà-Uhink, and Jan-Erik Steinkrüger

Theme parks and urbanity are closely interwoven through, for instance, the representation of urban spaces (including [post-]industrial urban spaces) within theme parks, the typical locations of theme parks close to metropolitan regions, and the influence of theme parks on the design of urban spaces, often referred to as “Disneyfication.”

Organized by Prof. Dr. Florian Freitag (Duisburg-Essen), this interdisciplinary workshop will bring together members of the research group City Scripts with historian Prof. Dr. Filippo Carlà-Uhink (Potsdam) and geographer Dr. Jan-Erik Steinkrüger (Bonn) to explore and examine different aspects of the relationship between urbanity and theme parks, as well as their relevance for the City Scripts projects. In addition to text work, lectures and discussions, a short excursion to the shopping centre "Limbecker Platz" is also planned.

The workshop will take place on March 3, 2020, from 1:30 pm to 6 pm at the University Duisburg-Essen (Campus Essen, Casino).

February 17-23, 2020 Visit at the University of Cincinnati: Urban Layers Conference and Signing of Cooperation Agreements

From February 17 to February 23, a delegation from the University of Duisburg-Essen (Prof. Dr. Rolf Parr, German Literary and Media Studies, Dr. Thomas Küpper, German Literary and Media Studies, and Prof. Dr. Jens Martin Gurr, British and Anglophone Literature and Culture and co-speaker of the Scripts Group) will be visiting the University of Cincinnati.

During their stay, they will contribute to the second part of the Dortmund/Cincinnati conference on "Urban Layers - Rust Belt and the Ruhr". Scripts co-speaker Jens Gurr gave a keynote during the first part of the conference in Dortmund in November and will now act as respondent to the keynote by Sherry Lee Linkon (Georgetown University, Washington).

The group will meet with several key representatives of the University of Cincinnati to discuss options for further cooperation. As a member of the UDE's University Council (Hochschulrat), Jens Gurr will represent the University in signing several cooperation agreements of the Faculty of Humanities, the University of Duisburg-Essen, and the University Alliance Ruhr with the University of Cincinnati.

February 13-14, 2020 Input presentation by Chris Katzenberg at RuhrFutur

At the RuhrFutur offices, Chris Katzenberg gives an input presentation on the initiative's formalized collaborative approach of “Collective Impact” for a delegation from the Czech social-educational project Eduzměna (Educhange), who are visiting to learn from the initiative's experience with regional collaborative reform. Together with RuhrFutur's Laura Plümecke, he leads the guests through the first day of their two-day visit. On the following day, the delegation joins members of the Essen office for practice-oriented workshops, with Chris offering translation support.

For a report on the visit, see RuhrFutur's homepage here.

February 6, 2020 Talk by Laura Bieger in Essen

The American Studies scholar Prof. Dr. Laura Bieger will give a talk on "Public Space and Public Sphere" on February 6, 2020, from 4 to 6pm at the campus in Essen (R12 R04 B02).

Publics need space in order to exist. The talk takes as its starting point the assumption that publics exist in and through social relations to explore how concrete and particular spatial forms make these relations public. Drawing on Hannah Arendt’s idea of public space as a space of appearances, she shows how Arendt’s ocular, theatrical model of public space can elucidate our understanding of the public sphere as a social space; and how retrieving the lost geography of this space can help us gain a firmer grasp on the possibilities for political action within it.

Laura Bieger is Professor of American Studies, Political Theory and Culture at the University of Groningen, where she co-directs the Research Center for Democratic Culture and Politics. She is the author of  Belonging and Narrative (2018), which considers the need to belong as a driving force of literary production and the novel as a primary place and home-making agent. In another book, Ästhetik der Immersion (2007), she examines public spaces from Washington DC to the Las Vegas Strip that turn world-image-relations into immersive spectacles.

February 5, 2020 Workshop by City Scripts and NEMO

On February 5, the City Scripts researchers will collaborate with the NEMO (Neue Emscher Mobilität) project in a joint workshop. NEMO aims to contribute to the redevelopment of the Emscher region, providing analysis, visions, and models that present possibilities for sustainable mobilities. The project furthers the dialogue between scientists, practitioners of urban development, and the local community. In the workshop, the researchers of NEMO will present and discuss their findings with the City Scripts group.

February 3-4, 2020 Maria Sulimma at 19th century Symposium 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, Leisure, and Cities."

January 31-February 1, 2020 City Scripts members at Conference “Ruhr PhD Forum 2020” in Bochum and Dortmund

On January 31 and February 1, the RuhrCenter of American Studies  will jointly host its yearly conference workshop for early career scholars, the “Ruhr PhD Forum”. This time, the event will take place in Bochum and Dortmund.

It will bring together more than a dozen doctoral and post-doctoral speakers from the Ruhr region and larger Germany to present their current research. Two invited senior experts, Profs. Frank Mehring (Nijmegen) and Diane Negra (Dublin), will join the RuhrCenter’s professors and the wider audience in providing productive feedback.

The City Scripts members Elisabeth Haefs, Chris Katzenberg, Johannes Krickl, and Hanna Rodewald will speak on their work(s) in progress and are also among this year’s doctoral organizers.

January 30, 2020 Interdisciplinary Research Seminar with Diane Negra (University College Dublin)

On January 30th, 2020, the Essener Kolleg für Geschlechterforschung will host an Interdisciplinary Research Seminar with Prof. Dr. Diane Negra of the University College Dublin and Maria Sulimma. The Research Seminar will introduce current research at the conjunction of media studies and gender studies. It features the lecture “Terms of Intimacy in the Contemporary ‘Chick Flick’” by Diane Negra and a response by Maria Sulimma.

It will take place from 4 pm (s.t.) to 6:30 pm in room R12 S06 H01. Please register beforehand at by January 28th.

For more information and the schedule, please visit the event page of the Essener Kolleg für Geschlechterforschung here

January 23, 2020 Cosima Werner visits City Scripts

On January 23, 2020 Doctoral Researcher Cosima Werner from the graduate program “Authority and Trust in American Culture, Society, History, and Politics” at the Heidelberg Center for American Studies (HCA) will visit the research group in Essen. The geographer will give the talk “At the Store: The social constitution of convenience stores in deprived neighborhoods.” Afterwards, she will also share her experiences of Detroit and discuss how to conduct and include field work in research with the City Scripts researchers.


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

January 21, 2020 Talk by Jens Gurr at Uni-Colleg in Duisburg

On January 21, Jens Gurr will give a presentation in the Uni-Colleg in Duisburg, a series of lectures in which UDE scholars talk about their current research. Jens Gurr will give a talk entitled "Von der Gartenstadt zur Smart City: 'Rezepte' der Stadtentwicklung und ihre globale Verbreitung". This is part of a largely completed book project on texts as models of and models for urban developments.

The talk will take place at 13:00 on the Duisburg Campus, at the NanoEnergieTechnikZentrum (NETZ), room 2.42, Carl-Benz-Straße 199. For more information, please the follow the link here

January 17, 2020 Chris Katzenberg moderates democratic education workshop

On January 17, Chris Katzenberg co-moderates a workshop on democratic education (“Demokratiepädagogik”) at the practitioner conference „Schulen im Ruhrgebiet: Für die Zukunft lernen“ (Schools in the Ruhr: Learning for the Future) in Gelsenkirchen, jointly organized by RuhrFutur, the city of Gelsenkirchen and the state ministry for schooling and education. The workshop is conceptualized and chaired by Prof. Silvia-Iris Beutel (TU Dortmund) and Dr. Wolfgang Beutel (educational support program „Demokratisch Handeln“).

January 16, 2020 Barbara Buchenau at Heidelberg Center for American Studies

On January 16, Prof. Dr. Barbara Buchenau will give a talk on “Transatlantic Scripts for Postindustrial Urban Futures” at the Heidelberg Center for American Studies. She will introduce the work of the City Scripts research group and expand on its conceptual foundation.

The event is a cooperation with the fellow Research group Authority & Trust (GKAT) . It takes place at 6.15 pm at the Curt und Heidemarie Engelhorn Palais.

January 13, 2019 Ruhr Lecture: Modelling Urban Complexity

During the Ruhr Lecture series 2019/20, Prof. Jens Martin Gurr together with Prof. Jochen Gönsch (Mercator School of Management) will give a presentation on "Modelling Urban Complexity: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches". In the winter term of 2019/2020, the Ruhr Lecture series is concerned with "Methodologies in Metropolitan Research: Disciplinary Differences , Challenges and Solutions". The session will take place from 4-7pm at UDE, in the Glaspavillon in R12. 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).

January 10-11, 2019 “Barcamp” on Urban Diversity in Essen

On January 10 and 11, 2020, members of the research group will participate in a second “Barcamp” put on by the City Essen, the University Duisburg-Essen, and other civic actors. The two-day event centers on questions surrounding diversity, inclusivity, and community in urban spaces. Prof. Dr. Karim Fereidooni  (Ruhruniversity Bochum) and City Scripts speaker Prof Dr. Barbara Buchenau will open the barcamp with keynotes. Ali Can of the VielRespektZentrum will give the talk „Mehr als eine Heimat – Wie ich Deutschsein neu definiere.“ On the second day, several City Scripts members will present and discuss their research with participants of the barcamp. For more information see: 

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 scripts for Postindustrial Urban Futures) and moderated the discussion round "Wie kann die Region durch Partizipation eine klimaresiliente Zukunft gestalten?" (How can the region design a resilient future through participation.

The artist Marie Jacobi summarized the conference in visual recordings:

Zukunftsformate der Region_ausschnitt

Zukunftsformate der Region_Marie Jacobi

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:

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.

Norman Klein during his lecture in Essen.

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, Memory and the City" 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.

For a workshop report visit:

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.

October 11-12, 2019 Chris Katzenberg moderates Global Young Faculty workshop

In extension of his work with RuhrFutur, Chris Katzenberg moderates the project group "Grenzüberschreitungen: Auslöser, Gefühle, Wirkungen" (Border Crossings: Triggers, Feelings, Effects) at the kick-off workshop of the Mercator Foundation's Global Young Faculty initiative. The GYF brings together interdisciplinary teams of post-doctoral researchers and young business people for funded 3-year projects that promote the exchange between up-and-coming scholars and wider society in the Ruhr.

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: 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]