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Peripheries

​Felipe Hernandez

This seminar explores the concept of the 'periphery', which occupies an important position in post-colonial (de-colonial), subaltern, and cultural studies. The periphery is used to describe cultural practices and expressions that emerge in relation to others considered central. In this spatial and hierarchical arrangement, centre-periphery, the former carries authority and dominance, while the periphery is associated with subserviency, instability and transiency.

In the study of cities, the concept of periphery refers to multiple urban questions and situations. For example, non-Western cities (the world’s periphery), which are largely considered to have failed in relation to those in the centre (Europe and North America). More literally, the notion of 'urban peripheries' refer to developments on the outskirts of cities: suburbia, gated communities, industrial towns, university towns, retail centres and FTZs, amongst other cases which maintain an awkward relationship with the urban core. Informal and popular urbanisms are also a topic of interest because urban informality often refers to both a geographical periphery as well as to peripheral culture, illegality (or extra-legality), the unacceptable and the abject.

In short, this seminar uses the notion of periphery as a vehicle to study cities in Latin America in a comprehensive manner, looking at its physical configuration as well as the complex set of practices that exist within them.

Essential readings (see Moodle)

  • Caldeira, T. (2015) ‘Social Movements, Cultural Production, and Protests São Paulo’s Shifting Political Landscape’, in Current Anthropology, Vol. 56, No. S11, pp. 126-S136
  • Hoslston, J. (2009) ‘Insurgent Citizenship in an Era of Global Urban Peripheries’ in City & Society, Vol. 21, Issue 2, pp. 245–267
  • Quijano, A. (2008) ‘Coloniality of Power, Eurocentrism and Latin America’, in Morana, M., E. Dussel and C. Jauregui (eds) Coloniality at Large: Latin America and the Postcolonial Debate. Durharm: Duke University Press, 181-224.
  • Richard, N. (1996) ‘The cultural periphery and postmodern decentring: Latin America's reconversion of borders’, in Welchman, J. C. (ed.), Rethinking Borders. University of Minnesota Press, pp. 71-84.

Extra Readings

  • Duanfang, L. (2010) Third World Modernism: Architecture, Development and Identity. London: Routledge.
  • Edensor, T. and M. Jayne (eds) (2011) Urban Theory Beyond the West: A World of Cities. London: Routldge.
  • Escobar, Arturo (2008) Territories of Difference: Place, Movement, Life. Redes. New York: Duke
  • Featherstone, D. (2008) Resistance, Space and Political Identities: Mobilization for Global Justice. London and Cambridge (Mass.): Wiley Academy.
  • Harvey, D (2012) Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution. New York: verso.
  • Hernández, F., P. Kellett and L. Allen (eds) (2012). Rethinking the Informal City: Critical Perspectives from Latin America. Paperback edition. Oxford – New York: Berghahn Books.
  • Kaminer, T., M. Robles-Duran and H. Sohn (eds) (2011). Urban Asymetries: Studies and Projects on Neo-Liberal Urbanization. Rotterdam: 010.
  • Perlamn, Janice (2010) Favela: Four Decades of Living on the Edge in Rio De Janeiro. London: Oxford University Press.
  • Pieterse, E and A. Simone (2013) Rogue urbanism: emergent Africancities. Auckland Park, South Africa: Jacana.
  • Rama, A. (1996) The Lettered City. J.C. Chasteen (trans.). Durham: Duke University Press, pp 1-15 (available via jstor)
  • Zeiderman, Austin (2016) Endangered City: The Politics of Security and Risk in Bogotá. New York: Duke University Press.