Urban Transformations

As a part of their collaboration in RuhrCenter of American Studies, the three partners in Bochum, Dortmund and Duisburg-Essen established a special project focusing on urban transformations in the USA. The project, entitled “Spaces – Communities – Representations: Urban Transformations in the USA” was financed by the Mercator Foundation’s Research Center Ruhr (MERCUR).
This interdisciplinary project examined, from a variety of perspectives, how urban transformations in the United States manifest themselves in the physical design and usage of spaces, in the make-up and interaction of communities, in cultural practices and in urban imaginaries. In its approach, the project paid tribute to a view of urban cultures as a result and expression of inter- and multicultural communication as well as of processes of negotiation and hybridization of individual and collective identities.
Research was conducted in six individual PhD projects, focusing on different aspects of “EthniCity” or on different fictional and non-fictional texts, urban narratives, and historical and political processes. Doctoral students investigated how urban transformations changed the design and use of spaces, the interaction within and the composition of urban society and the representation of the city in urban imaginaries. Their research makes visible the dynamics of urban transformation and the emergence of and the changes within so-called urban narratives. The project “Urban Transformations in the USA” productively integrated the research undertaken by the RuhrCenter Americanists and Historians. The ongoing research was presented at annual springtime symposia in 2013, 2014, and 2015.

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