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Urban Asia Series 2012.2013
York Centre for Asian Research and the City Insitute

The York Centre for Asian Research (YCAR) and the City Institute present the 2012.2013 Urban Asia series, highlighting current research on China, Pakistan, India, Nepal and the Philippines.

Series speakers include:
Alana Boland (University of Toronto) | 25 October 2012 | China
Tania Ahmad (York University) | 29 November 2012 | Pakistan
Karen Coelho (Madras Institute of Development Studies) | 31 January 2012 | India
Anne Rademacher (New York University) | 28 February 2012 | Nepal
Kenneth Cardenas (York University) | 28 March 2012 | Philippines

Upcoming Talks

Precarious Work and Persistent Poverty in a Resettlement Site: A Study of Kannagi Nagar, Chennai
Thursday, 31 January 2013 | 12 to 2pm | 626 York Research Tower | Keele Campus | York University

With Karen Coelho, Madras Institute of Development Studies, Tamil Nadu, India
Karen Coelho is an urban anthropologist working at the Madras Institute of Development Studies (MIDS) in Chennai. Her current work focuses on reforms in municipal governance, informal labour, urban ecologies, and urban civil society. She is currently completing the first of a three-part study called "Locations and Livelihoods", which examines how spatial factors determine the working options and strategies of the urban poor. The first part examined work and livelihoods of resettled slum-dwellers in the resettlement colony of Kannagi Nagar, Chennai.  This work comes on the heels of Professor Coelho's involvement in building an interdisciplinary collaborative research program called "Rethinking Informal Labour in Globalising and Urbanising Contexts in India". This talk is co-hosted by the Department of Anthropology.

Human Habitats and Ideologies of Sustainability - CANCELLED
Thursday, 28 February 2013 | 12:30pm to 2pm | 626 York Research Tower | Keele Campus | York University

With Anne Rademacher, New York University

When is housing an environmental problem? In this talk, I draw from long-term ethnographic engagement with the biophysical, cultural, and political dynamics of urban river degradation in Nepal’s capital city to describe the ways that conflicting concepts of urban ecology were used to categorize urban space as either “land” or “river.” As a consequence, thousands of informal settlements in the river’s riparian zone were either considered agents of degradation or icons of sustainability. When embedded in Nepal’s revolutionary political context, I further demonstrate the malleability of ecology in urban social life. I then turn briefly to more recent fieldwork among green design practitioners in Mumbai. Here, I consider how an emergent form of urban sustainability expertise, in this case environmental architecture, served as a critical arena within which ecologically appropriate housing was defined. In both cases, the social and political dynamics of sustainability in practice transform scientific concepts of ecosystem ecology into multiple and contested social practices of urban ecology.  This talk is co-hosted by the Department of Anthropology.

Disasters, Climate Risk, and Exclusionary Modernity in Manila
Thursday, 28 March 2013 | 12 to 2pm | 626 York Research Tower | Keele Campus | York University

With Kenneth Cardenas, Department of Geography, York University
In his talk, Kenneth Cardenas traces the role played by the idea of ‘irrationality’ in how Manila’s past and future is being imagined. It begins by reconstructing the experience of Manila with developmentalism, structural adjustment, and globalization to argue that the features of its urbanization which are often understood as consequences of irrationality were in fact produced by rational modern schemes for conquering and managing risks. It will then examine how the definition of disasters and climate change risk in terms of irrationality was used by experts, state agencies, and the Philippine media to articulate a vision for an exclusionary disaster-proofing of Manila by attributing the floods wrought by Tropical Storm Ketsana in 2009 to inadequacies in urban planning and an ‘irrational’ slum-dwelling poor.

Kenneth Cardenas is presently a PhD student in Geography at York University. He completed his MA in Sociology with Distinction at the University of Manchester, where he worked on examining how the definition and management of risks from disasters and climate change are being used to justify an exclusionary reconfiguration of Manila.


For more information, contact us at ycar@yorku.ca.

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