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Message posted on 06/03/2019

The world/s at the ends of the city. Explorations in urban and environmental anthropology – IfEE, HU Berlin – Institutskolloquium SoSe19

Dear all,

It is our great pleasure to invite you all to the upcoming summer semester
2019 edition of the Institut für Europäische Ethnology’s
(Humboldt-University of Berlin) Institutskolloquium (our departmental lecture
series), under the title The world/s at the ends of the city. Explorations in
urban and environmental anthropology

These public lecture series will take place each Tuesday 2-4pm (except
otherwise stated, *) from April 9, 2019 until July 2, 2019 in the Room 0007 at
Hausvogteiplatz 5-7 10117 Berlin.

We’re enclosing all relevant information. And more information will be
available soon at

We would be really grateful if you could share it with anyone interested.

If you happen to be in Berlin any of those dates, don’t hesitate to come!

All the best,
Ignacio Farías, Tomás Criado & Jörg Niewöhner


The world/s at the ends of the city. Explorations in urban and environmental

What if the city was not a world in itself, but an interface to multiple,
overlapping, often invisible and conflicting worldings? That is, more or less
powerful, more or less precarious ways of composing urban ecologies that
sustain–and impede–forms of life. But also, what if those worldings were
the end of the city as we have come to know it to date? This departmental
lecture series wishes to explore the world/s at the ends of the city, giving
this term a twofold sense:

• Firstly, the series pays attention to nonhuman worldly forces both shaping
and challenging urban cohabitation. The challenges these forces bring with
them lead us to explore the potential shape of an urban cosmopolitics in the
Anthropocene. We are thus interested in understanding how organic and
inorganic, geological, chemical and biological forces challenge our
understanding of the city and the modes of operating in it.
• Secondly, we want to zoom into critical and experimental ecologies of
practices un-doing and re-doing the city at the edges of habitability. That
is, social movements but also movements or, rather, displacements of the
social be they reclaiming infrastructures, apprehending or appropriating urban
ecologies. We aim to explore what it could mean to rethink urbanism, in its
constructive and moral/citizenship dimensions, from different kinds of
engagements of human and nonhuman others. We aim to make visible arts of
survival, inquiry, and design that unfold in the ruins of the city as a modern
project of social integration through infrastructural connection.

The departmental lecture series ‘the world/s at the ends of the city’ will
thus shed light onto what an urban politics might involve in the face of
disruptive irruptions of both nonhuman and unruly forces through the
boundaries, thresholds and interstices of urban worlds: that is, the spaces
where what we call ‘the city’ not topographically, but mainly
ontologically, ends. Exploring these ends is critical, especially considering
that while in policy worlds cities are increasingly targeted as a key site to
achieve a sustainable future, many other critical voices suggest we should
dismiss the city as a useful analytical and political category. In this
context, it seems crucial to articulate the discussion about worldly forces at
the ends of the city with the question of the ends (telos) of our inquiries
and interventions in urban worlds. At stake are not just the conceptual
apparatuses to decenter the city, but most prominently the necessary
re-articulation of the epistemic politics of an urban and environmental

Three interrelated avenues of disciplinary reflection might shape our
conversation: How to follow and immerse ourselves in the life of urban biomes,
bees, microclimates, tsunamis, so that we can represent and give a voice to
such urban actors? How to learn from the methods invented by different urban
ecologies of practices and collectives to know, represent, intervene and
engage with unknown worldly forces? How to collaborate with scientists and
artists in the production of in/commensurable accounts of the world/s at the
end of the city?

9. April

NaturenKulturen: Denkräume und Werkzeuge für neue politische Ökologien -
Book Launch
Michi Knecht / Katrin Amelang (Uni Bremen)

Commented by Tahani Nadim (MfN/HU Berlin)

16. April

Growing city surfaces: anthropology and the urban soil sciences
Germain Meulemans (EHESS, Paris)

23. April

The air as an end of the city?
Nerea Calvillo (CIM, Warwick)

30. April

Beyond Concrete: Imagination, Material Futures and Construction in Times of
Ecological Crisis
Rachel Harkness (University of Edinburgh)

7. Mai

Integrating edible city solutions for socially resilient and sustainably
productive cities
Ina Säumel (IRI THESys, HU Berlin)

14. Mai

Quer-denken – A cosmo-politics of urbanthropocene?
Anders Blok (University of Copenhagen) / Regina Römhild (HU Berlin) / Jörg
Niewöhner (HU Berlin)

21. Mai

Ruderal City
Bettina Stoetzer (MIT)

28. Mai

Violence and vigilance: on militarized sentience and phantasms of terror in
Paris, France [
Sondertermin: 6-8pm c.t.]
Robert Desjarlais (Sarah Lawrence, NY)

4. Juni

Autonomia ethnographica: liberal designs, designs for liberation, and the
liberation of design
Alberto Corsín Jiménez (CSIC, Madrid)

11. Juni

Low Tide: Submerged Humanism in a Colombian Port-City
Austin Zeiderman (LSE)

18. Juni

Re-imagining detoxification beyond the molecular register
Nick Shapiro (UCLA)

25. Juni

Quer-denken – Remaking the city: How to care?
Tomás Criado / Martina Klausner / Beate Binder (HU Berlin)

2. Juli

Für eine Anthropologie des Urbanismus (inaugural lecture/Antrittsvorlesung)
Sondertermin: 6-8pm c.t. am IfEE, Raum 408]
Ignacio Farías (HU Berlin)

An event of each of these sessions will also be created soon at IfEE’s FB

Dr Tomás Sánchez Criado

Senior researcher at the Chair of Urban Anthropology
Institut für Europäische Ethnologie, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Møhrenstr. 41, R. 131 – 10117 Berlin
+49 (0)30 2093 70849 | @tscriado
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