Global Urban Humanities

Global Urban Humanities: Engaging the Humanities and Environmental Design gathers scholars and practitioners from the fields of architecture, urban design, city and regional planning, landscape architecture, and multiple humanities disciplines to develop new theoretical paradigms, research methods, and pedagogical approaches that address the complex problems facing today's global cities and regions. The program consists of a lecture series, cross-disciplinary seminars and workshops, and on-site research studios in the Pacific Rim cities of Los Angeles, Guangzhou/Pearl River Delta, and Mexico City. This initiative is funded by the Mellon Foundation and organized by the Division of Arts and Humanities and the College of Environmental Design. For more information, visit the Global Urban Humanities page.

Past Events

Courses | May 30, 2016

Spring 2016 academic courses include a research studio traveling to Mexico City to investigate approaches to aesthetics and activism within its layered and complex urban spaces; a seminar exploring theories of the city and built environment with a focus on memory; and an interdisciplinary seminar investigating the making and influence of urban artifacts: ideas and objects that create and could only be created in the city.

Symposium | October 23, 2015

This wide-ranging symposium will examine urban art, commerce, politics, history and performance on both sides of the Pacific. Speakers including Ruben Gallo, Tatiana Flores, Minerva Cuevas, and Jesusa Rodríguez will address Mexico City. Winnie Wong (Rhetoric) and Margaret Crawford (Architecture) will present their students' research on urban art villages in China's Pearl River Delta.

Courses | August 19, 2015 - December 11, 2015

Fall 2015 academic courses include a seminar exploring the connection between literature and urban form in the modern and contemporary world; an interdisciplinary hands-on workshop utilizing methods of observing, analyzing and representing time, space and experience in the urban realm in order to better understand and communicate about cities; and an interdisciplinary seminar constructing a cross-section through the complex history of Mexico City.

Discussion | April 22, 2015
Book Chat Winnie Wong

Professor of Rhetoric Winnie Wong’s book explores contemporary art in the world's largest production center for oil-on-canvas painting and shows how its painters force us to reexamine preconceptions about creativity and the role of Chinese workers in redefining global art.

Artist Talk + Workshop | April 09, 2015
Artist Talk and Workshop with Maya Krishna Rao

Maya Krishna Rao combines years of intensive Kathakali practice with burlesque, political cabaret, street theater and new media tactics to create compelling solo pieces that critically engage current socio-political issues in urban India. In recent years, her performances have thematically addressed the questions of rural-urban migration, contemporary consumerist culture in New Delhi, gender-based violence in the city, and urban protest culture.

Lecture | March 05, 2015

Ramón H. Rivera-Servera, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Performance Studies at Northwestern University, discusses his latest book, Exhibiting Performance: Race, Museum Cultures, and the Live Event, which looks at the ways race has been collected and exhibited in North America and the Caribbean since the mid-1990s. A conversation with UC Berkeley Professor Julia Bryan-Wilson will follow the keynote address.

Exhibition | February 12, 2015 - March 15, 2015
Homesteading Art & Culture Exhibit

A group exhibition, Refuge in Refuse: Homesteading Art & Culture Project, includes slideshows, video, photography, painting, sculpture, printed and interactive maps and 3D scans reflecting methods from urban planning, landscape architecture, archaeology, and art. Atlas of the Albany Bulb is an ongoing participatory mapping and oral history project supported by Cal Humanities, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Symposium | December 11, 2014

View student work and join the discussion on the role of sensors and data in understanding urban metabolisms. Sensing Cityscapes: Sensors, Cities, Policies/Basic Protocols for New Media is an interdisciplinary course that is part of the Global Urban Humanities Initiative  and is taught by Greg Niemeyer (Art Practice and the Berkeley Center for New Media) and Ronald Rael (Architecture). 

Lecture | November 20, 2014

Jordan Sand is Professor of Japanese History and Culture at Georgetown University in Washington, DC and he will present his research on the activities of a Tokyo slumlord at the turn of the 20th century.

Lecture | October 30, 2014

Marta Gutman will speak about the radical reconceptualization of children by design professions from the 1970's through today.  Her recent book, A City for Children: Women, Architecture, and the Charitable Landscapes of Oakland, 1850-1950, focuses on the use and adaptive reuse of everyday buildings in Oakland, California, to make the city a better place for children. Guzman explores the industrial landscape of Oakland and its effects on social inequality and racial prejudice. 

Lecture | October 09, 2014

Harsha Ram (Slavic Languages and Literature and Comparative Literature) will draw from his research project, City of Crossroads: Tiflis Modernism and the Russian-Georgian Encounter, an exploration of what happens to (historical) modernity and (literary/cultural) modernism in Tiflis (Tbilisi), Georgia, a city remote from the great metropolitan centers of Europe and the West.