Plenary Speakers

Spaces and Flows: An International Conference on Urban and ExtraUrban Studies will feature plenary sessions by some of the world’s leading thinkers and innovators in the field, as well as numerous parallel presentations by researchers and practitioners.

Michael Dear
Munehito Moro and Steven Nardi
Edward Soja

Garden Conversation Sessions

Plenary Speakers will make formal 30-minute presentations. They will also participate in 60-minute Garden Conversations – unstructured sessions that allow delegates a chance to meet the speakers and talk with them informally about the issues arising from their presentation.

Please return to this page for regular updates.


The Speakers

Michael Dear
Michael Dear is professor of City and Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley, and Honorary Professor in the Bartlett School of Planning at University College, London (England). Michael’s current research focuses on comparative urbanism, and the future of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. He was founding editor of the scholarly journal Society and Space: Environment & Planning D, and is a leading exponent of the Los Angeles School of Urbanism. His books include: From Chicago to LA: making sense of urban theory, Postborder City: cultural spaces of Bajalta California, and The Postmodern Urban Condition, which was chosen by CHOICE magazine as an “Outstanding Academic Title” in 2000. His latest edited volume, entitled Geohumanties: Art, History, Text at the Edge of Place, will be published in 2010. Michael has been a Guggenheim Fellowship holder, a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, and Fellow at the Rockefeller Center in Bellagio, Italy. He has received the highest honors for creativity and excellence in research from the Association of American Geographers, and numerous undergraduate teaching and graduate mentorship awards.

Munehito Moro and Steven Nardi
Munehito Moro studied literary criticism at the University of Tokyo from 2002 to 2005. He is finishing his bachelor’s degree at International Christian University in Tokyo, majoring in media and communication studies. Currently, he is collaborating with his academic advisor on a journal article comparing media environments in Korea and Japan. His academic interest mainly centers around Communication Infrastructure Theory and its application to urban space and different cultural contexts, and he has a long running interest in Chinese nostalgia films. He is to pursue his Ph.D in the field of media studies.
Steven A. Nardi is an Assistant Professor at Medgar Evers College, a college of the City University of New York in Brooklyn. He has a PhD from Princeton University. He was selected for a Fulbright in Japan in 2009-2010. His publications include work on Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance, as well as contemporary American poetry. He is working on a book titled “The Stars Pulled Down: Technology and Poetics in the American New Poetry and the Harlem Renaissance.” During his Fulbright, Nardi discovered a new range of interests in Asia and Japan in particular. This paper is the first product of that new focus.

 

Moro and Nardi met by chance while Nardi was taking language classes at the International Christian University. Moro was on staff at the University, guiding foreign students on cultural excursions. On the train back from seeing Kabuki, Moro’s chance reference to Focault led to the first of many involved conversations. Moro’s had already developed a fascination with China and Chinese film, and had made several research trips there in 2009. Intrigued by Moro’s account, Nardi asked him to write down the experience. Nardi’s enthusiasm for the resulting manuscript began their collaboration.

In December 2009, inspired by a mutual interest in Michael Dutton’s Beijing Time, they travelled to Beijing together. That field trip provided the guiding basis of this paper.


Edward Soja
Professor Soja teaches in the Regional and International Development (RID) area of Urban Planning and also teaches courses in urban political economy and planning theory. After starting his academic career as a specialist on Africa, Dr. Soja has focused his research and writing over the past 20 years on urban restructuring in Los Angeles and more broadly on the critical study of cities and regions. His wide-ranging studies of Los Angeles bring together traditional political economy approaches and recent trends in critical cultural studies. Of particular interest to him is the way issues of class, race, gender, and sexuality intersect with what he calls the spatiality of social life, and with the new cultural politics of difference and identity that this generates.

In addition to his work on urban restructuring in Los Angeles, Dr. Soja continues to write on how social scientists and philosophers think about space and geography, especially in relation to how they think about time and history. His latest book brings these various research strands together in a comprehensive look at the geohistory of cities, from their earliest origins to the more recent development of what he calls the “postmetropolis.” His policy interests are primarily involved with questions of regional development, planning and governance, and with the local effects of ethnic and cultural diversity in Los Angeles.