Panel 2: Comparative Cities, South and North

Loren Kruger – ‘Edgy Cities South and North: Transnational Contexts for Comparing Johannesburg and Chicago’

Pamila Gupta – ‘Blue Johannesburg’

Terence Cave – ‘China Miéville’s Weird Collocations’

Building on the previous panel’s diverse geographical explorations, the workshop’s second panel emphasises the comparative dimension of the Planned Violence Network’s interrogations to see how infrastructure and violence work in similar as well as different ways in different post/colonial cities. Loren Kruger’s paper undertakes this through a comparative study of Chicago and Johannesburg at the beginning of the twentieth century, contrasting their policies of racial segregation through housing infrastructure. Pamila Gupta then offers a reflection on the Portuguese diasporic community in Johannesburg, reapplying Michel de Certeau’s notion of walking the city to the movement of the automobile, for which the city’s infrastructure is primarily designed. In conclusion, Terence Cave repositions the literary at the centre of the discussion through comments on China Miéville’s distinctive syntax, particularly what Cave here calls his ‘weird collocations’, analysing how this stylistic trait can enable new ways of imagining urban space.


(From the fourth Planned Violence Workshop, ‘Comparative Infrastructures, South and North’, held in Oxford in September 2015)

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