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"Spectral Urbanism"
Jan Nijman
, Director, Urban Studies Institute; Distinguished University Professor, Geosciences, Georgia State University

This lecture, the first in a year-long series organized by STPL under the auspices of an Observatory on Urban Futures, develops the concept of spectral urbanism, a comparative formulation antithetical to urban theorists who would assume a single, uniform meaning for “the urban” as an object of knowledge and target of intervention. The theory of spectral urbanism explores the interdependence of multiple, variegated, yet intersecting processes and forms within a given urban system. Spectral urbanism is particularly salient in postcolonial societies, in which the contested dynamics of globalization seem to have unleashed a spectrum of novel forces and forms of urbanization. The lecture will reflect on the epistemology of urban comparison, and its arguments will center on a detailed analysis of both historical and contemporary trends in India, its evidentiary scope ranging from the densest megacities to transitional landscapes poised between rural and urban.


Jan Nijman is Director and Distinguished University Professor at the Urban Studies Institute, Georgia State University. He is also an Emeritus Professor of Geography, Planning, and International Development at the University of Amsterdam, and Emeritus Professor of Geography and Sustainable Development at the University of Miami. His thematic interests are in urban and regional development, urban theory, and comparative urbanism. His regional expertise is in North America, West Europe, and South Asia. His research in India spans more than two decades.

Event Details

  • Josh Widera
  • Zeke Wapner
  • Muyao Jiang

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