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58595-01 - Kurs: The City as Archive 3 KP

Semester Herbstsemester 2023
Angebotsmuster Jedes Herbstsemester
Dozierende Kenny R. Cupers (kenny.cupers@unibas.ch, BeurteilerIn)
Inhalt Course Description:

This course explores methods of urban and environmental research through the lens of the archive. As a site of selective public and/or private memory, a physical collection of records, and a metaphor for holding knowledge, the archive is key to the production of urban knowledge. Whereas governmental and institutional archives gather much of the material for the narration of history, social movements and civil society organizations have created a range of alternative collections, including oral history and sound records. Historians tend to approach these existing archives as repositories of potential evidence, yet built landscapes and ecologies can themselves be understood as historically layered deposits, constituting archives in their own right. At the same time, the rise of the internet has exploded the notion of what constitutes an archive.

This course trains students in archival and architectural methods for urban research, while reflecting on political, ethical, and epistemological questions that come with them. The course begins with the premise that archives are not a collection of neutral records of events, but shape power and otherness with regard to gender, class, ethnicity, sexuality, and ability. The course encourages students to approach research as archival intervention, in collaboration with community and advocacy organizations. Students will learn to combine creative, and critical approaches to research, and gain practical skills that prepare them for individual research projects in urban studies.

Research Theme for Fall 2022:

Food Ecologies, Corporate Power, and Colonial Urbanization through the Lens of Nestlé. This research theme is jointly developed and shared with the Critical Cartography course taught by Dr. Shourideh Molavi.

Lernziele Course Learning Outcomes:
• a practical ability to conduct archival research for urban studies
• a conceptual and critical understanding of the relationship between the archive and the urban / the built and natural environment
• an ability to analyze how knowledge is produced through recording, collecting, and curating, and how this shapes social, cultural, and political hierarchies
• an ability to develop strategies for creating and assembling records as part of an urban research project.
Literatur Rao, Vyjayanthi (2009), “City as Archive: Contemporary Urban Transformations and the Possibility of Politics,” in: International Association for Educating Cities (eds.), Education and Urban Life: 20 Years of Educating Cities, pp. 179-186.
Burgum, Samuel (2020), “This City Is An Archive: Squatting History and Urban Authority,” in: Journal of Urban History, Vol. 48, 3 (2022): 504–522
Ann Laura Stoler. “Colonial Archives and Arts of Governance.” Archival Science 2 (2002): 87–109.
Stephan Kipfer, “Fanon and space: colonization, urbanization, and liberation from the colonial to the global city” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space (2007): 701-726.
Brenner, Neil and Schmid, Christian. “Towards a New Epistemology of the Urban?” City, 19(2-3) (2015): 151-182. https://doi.org/10.1080/13604813.2015.1014712
Rita Kesselring and Gregor Dobler, “Swiss Extractivism: Switzerland’s Role in Zambia’s Copper Sector” Journal of Modern African Studies, 57, 2 (2019): 223-245
Zaheer Baber, “The Plants of Empire: Botanic Gardens, Colonial Power and Botanical Knowledge” Journal of Contemporary Asia, DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2016.1185796
Davis, Janae, Alex A. Moulton, Levi Van Sant, and Brian Williams. 2019. “Anthropocene, Capitalocene,... Plantationocene?: A Manifesto for Ecological Justice in an Age of Global Crises.” Geography Compass 13 (5).
Haraway, Donna. 2016. “Making Kin: Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Plantationocene, Chthulucene.” In Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene. 99-103. Durham: Duke University Press, 2016.
Ariella Azoulay, “Archives: The Commons, Not the Past,” Unlearning Imperialism (Verso, 2019). [Please read the chapter until and including the section “An Unshowable Photograph”]
Zeitlyn, David. “Anthropology in and of the Archives: Possible Futures and Contingent Pasts. Archives as Anthropological Surrogates,“ Annual Review of Anthropology (2012) 41: 461–80
Parick Gathara, “The path to colonial reckoning is through archives, not museums,” Al Jazeera, 14 March 2019
Callaci, Emily (2017), “Introduction,” Street Archives and City Life: Popular Intellectuals in Postcolonial Tanzania, Duke University Press, pp. 1-17.
Quayon, Ato. ‘Signs of the Times: Discourse Ecologies and Street Life on Oxford Street, Accra.’ City & Society, Vol. 22, No. 1 (2010): 72-96.
Bemerkungen The course is open to Master students from other programs with a priority for Critical Urbanisms students on timely registration


Teilnahmebedingungen The course is open to Master students from other programs with a priority for Critical Urbanisms students on timely registration
Unterrichtssprache Englisch
Einsatz digitaler Medien kein spezifischer Einsatz


Intervall wöchentlich
Datum 10.10.2023 – 12.12.2023
Zeit Dienstag, 10.15-14.00 Kollegienhaus, Hörsaal 119
Datum Zeit Raum
Dienstag 10.10.2023 10.15-14.00 Uhr Kollegienhaus, Hörsaal 119
Dienstag 17.10.2023 10.15-14.00 Uhr Kollegienhaus, Hörsaal 119
Dienstag 07.11.2023 10.15-14.00 Uhr Kollegienhaus, Hörsaal 119
Dienstag 14.11.2023 10.15-14.00 Uhr Kollegienhaus, Hörsaal 119
Dienstag 05.12.2023 10.15-14.00 Uhr Kollegienhaus, Hörsaal 119
Dienstag 12.12.2023 10.15-14.00 Uhr Kollegienhaus, Hörsaal 119
Module Modul: Fields: Environment and Development (Master Studiengang African Studies)
Modul: Fields: Knowledge Production and Transfer (Master Studiengang African Studies)
Modul: Interdisciplinary and Applied African Studies (Master Studiengang African Studies)
Modul: Praktiken (Master Studiengang Kulturtechniken)
Modul: Research Lab Kulturanthropologie (Master Studienfach Kulturanthropologie)
Modul: Research Skills (Master Studiengang African Studies)
Modul: Vertiefung Themenfelder der Geschlechterforschung (Master Studienfach Geschlechterforschung)
Modul: Ways of Knowing the City (Master Studiengang Critical Urbanisms)
Leistungsüberprüfung Lehrveranst.-begleitend
Hinweise zur Leistungsüberprüfung Pass/ Fail
An-/Abmeldung zur Leistungsüberprüfung Anmelden: Belegen; Abmelden: nicht erforderlich
Wiederholungsprüfung keine Wiederholungsprüfung
Skala Pass / Fail
Wiederholtes Belegen beliebig wiederholbar
Zuständige Fakultät Philosophisch-Historische Fakultät, studadmin-philhist@unibas.ch
Anbietende Organisationseinheit Fachbereich Urban Studies