I am Professor of Urban Studies at the École d’urbanisme de Paris (EUP). Before moving to Paris, I was Reader in Human Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London, where I taught between 2006-2013.
I studied urban planning and urban design at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey (undergraduate) and at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia (masters). I obtained my PhD in urban planning from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2003. Before moving to Royal Holloway in 2006, I was a postdoctoral research fellow in human geography at the Open University.
I am incoming editor of the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research (IJURR).
I am also co-responsible for International Relations at EUP.
The common thread that runs through my research is spatial and temporal orderings and their contestations. This conceptual thread guides me in my research, which spans different geographical contexts and historical periods, but remains focused on cities.
More specifically, my research is organised around three themes:
Space and politics:
This research explores the relationship between space and politics, both theoretically and empirically, in an innovative and interdisciplinary fashion. In 2012, I was awarded the Gill Memorial Award by the Royal Geographical Society for my research on space, politics and urban geography as an early-career researcher. Both space and politics are understood here in a broader sense; space as dynamic and its ordering contentious, and politics as something that cannot be exhausted by already established institutions. The main premise is that space is not ‘political’ in a univocal sense. It is as much about inauguration of politics as it is about its containment; it is as much about openings as it is about closings; it is as much ruptural as it is governmental. I have explored these themes in several articles and two book-length studies. My first book Badlands of the Republic: Space, Politics and Urban Policy (2007, Blackwell) analysed French urban policy and its preoccupation with banlieues from a spatial and political perspective. My recent book Space, Politics and Aesthetics (2015, Edinburgh University Press) is a theoretical attempt to explore the relationship between space and politics through an engagement with the political thought of Hannah Arendt, Jean-Luc Nancy and Jacques Rancière (see Publications).
This theme was already part of my Badlands book, but it has since extended to other contexts as well. My starting point here is the political and spatial aspects of urban uprising; how they expose injustices and make place for claims by opening up new spaces. I am currently completing a book on this theme, entitled Urban Rage, which will be published in 2017 by Yale University Press (more on this project in Publications).
Urban temporal infrastructures:
This theme was the object of a popular course at Royal Holloway, ‘Cultures of Time and Space’, which was listed by the Geographical Magazine as one of the ‘six most unique modules available to undergraduate geography students’ in the UK. Alas, in my new institution, I no longer get a chance to teach on such topics. This theme developed from this course, became a research project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council UK, and now on its way to becoming a manuscript on temporal infrastructures and politics of time in nineteenth-century Paris (more on this in Publications). My long-term project is to establish urban temporal infrastructures as a research domain by extending this research to other contexts, including London, Berlin, Vienna, Brussels and Istanbul.
B o o k s
Pumping Time: Temporal Infrastructures in Nineteenth-Century Paris (in preparation)
This is work in progress as I am still doing research. I also have a bigger project to expand this geographically.
Urban Rage (Yale University Press, forthcoming in 2017)
We now live, as UN-Habitat once famously declared, in an ‘urban age’. What has been labelled an urban age turns out to be an era of urban rage as well. Since at least the turn of the century, a wave of urban anger took a global dimension, in a period marked by financial crisis, austerity policies, militarisation of the police, and a growing worry about lack of prospects. This book takes the reader to cities in liberal democracies, the US and the UK, France, Greece, Turkey, and Sweden. The central argument is that contemporary urban processes produce forms of dissent that the established institutions of liberal democracies cannot accommodate in uncoercive ways. This is why urban uprisings cannot be reduced to individual pathologies or cultural traits. They are outburst of rage and acts of defiance that expose injustices and grievances, stage public appeals to justice, and raise claims about equality and accountability.
Space, Politics and Aesthetics (University of Edinburgh Press, 2015)
In this book I explore the spatial and aesthetic dimensions of politics. Focusing on the works of Hannah Arendt, Jean-Luc Nancy, and Jacques Rancière, I show the aesthetic premises that underlie their political thinking, and demonstrate how their conceptualisation of politics depends on the construction and apprehension of worlds through spatial forms and distributions. How these worlds are constructed, disclosed and disrupted, I argue, are matters of politics. Politics is about forms of perceiving the world and modes of relating to it, and that the disruption of such forms and modes is the sublime element in politics.
Badlands of the Republic: Space, Politics and Urban Policy (Blackwell, 2007)
This book is about a specific urban policy programme (la politique de la ville) conceived to address the problems of social housing neighbourhoods in banlieues of French cities, which, I argue, contributed largely to the consolidation of negative images associated with them – turning them into the ‘badlands’ of the Republic. As the issues around banlieues have wider resonance, with connotations ranging from threats to French identity to terrorism, this urban policy programme has been widely debated. This book provides a wide-ranging analysis of this policy by bringing together policy discourses and alternative voices expressed in its intervention areas. It offers an approach to urban policy that makes space central, and looks at the ways in which space is imagined and used in policy formation in the broader context of state restructuring. In so doing, it provides insight into the relationship between space, politics and policy.
J o u r n a l a r t i c l e s
(forthcoming) ‘Theorising the politicising city’, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research (with Erik Swyngedouw)
(forthcoming) ‘The Modern Atlas: compressed air and cities c.1850-1930’, Journal of Historical Geography (with Carlos Lopez Galviz)
(forthcoming) ‘Disruptive politics’, Urban Studies
(2013) ‘Beginners and equals: political subjectivity in Arendt and Rancière’, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 38(1): 78-90
(2013) ‘Immigrants, banlieues and dangerous things: ideology as an aesthetic affair’, Antipode 45(1): 23-42
(2012) ‘Politics is sublime’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 30(2): 262-279
(2012) ‘Space as a mode of political thinking’, Geoforum 43(4): 669-676
(2012) ‘Space, politics, and urban futures’, Badlands of the Republic Book Forum, Author’s response to Critics, Political Geography 31(5): 324-333
(2010) ‘Colonial minds, postcolonial places’, Antipode 42(4): 801-805
(2009) ‘The “where” of asylum’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 27(2): 183-189
(2009) ‘Introduction: Extending hospitality: giving space, taking time’, Paragraph 32(1): 1-14 (with N Clark and C Barnett)
(2009) ‘Space, politics and (in)justice / L’espace, le politique et l’injustice’, justice spatiale | spatial justice, no. 1, septembre; available at http://www.jssj.org
(2008) ‘Éditorial: repenser l’espace et le politique’ (Editorial: rethinking space and politics), Espaces et sociétés 134(3): 11-18 (with J-P Garnier)
(2007) ‘Space, governmentality, and the geographies of French urban policy’, European Urban and Regional Studies 14(4): 277-289
(2007) ‘Revolting geographies: urban unrest in France’, Geography Compass 1(5): 1190-1206
(2006) ‘Badlands of the Republic? Revolts, the French state, and the question of banlieues’ Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 24(2): 159-163
(2006) ‘Two decades of French urban policy: from social development of neighbourhoods to the republican penal state’, Antipode 38(1): 59-81
(2005) ‘Space, politics, and the political’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 23(2): 171-188
(2004) ‘Voices into noises: ideological determination of unarticulated justice movements’, Space & Polity 8(2): 191-208
(2002) ‘Pera, peras, poros: longings for spaces of hospitality’, Theory, Culture & Society 19(1-2): 227-247
(2002) ‘Police, politics, and the right to the city’, GeoJournal 58(2-3): 91-98
(2002) ‘Right to the city: homage or a new societal ethics?’, Capitalism, Nature, Socialism (CNS) 13(2): 58-74 (with L Gilbert)
(2001) ‘Justice and the spatial imagination’, Environment and Planning A 33(10): 1785-1805
J o u r n a l i s s u e s e d i t e d
(forthcoming) ‘Radical urban politics: theorising the politicising city’, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research (with Erik Swyngedouw)
(2009) Special issue of Paragraph 32(1) on hospitality (with N Clark and C Barnett)
(2008) ‘Repenser l’espace et le politique’ (Rethinking space and politics), Espaces et sociétés 134(3), edited with J-P Garnier
B o o k c h a p t e r s
(forthcoming) ‘Hate’, in Y. Gunaratnam and A. Chandan (eds) A Jar of Wild Flowers: Essays in Celebration of John Berger (London: Zed books)
(forthcoming) ‘Rage and fire in French banlieues’, in M. Mayer et al. (eds) Urban Uprisings: Challenging the Neoliberal City in Europe (London: Palgrave Macmillan)
(2011) ‘The politics of the banlieue’, in M Gandy (ed.) Urban Constellations (Berlin: Jovis); 58-61
(2011) ‘Public sphere’, in J Agnew and D Livingstone (eds), Sage Handbook of Geographical Knowledge (London: Sage)
(2009) ‘Justice and the spatial imagination’, in P Marcuse et al. (eds) Searching for the Just City (New York: Routledge) [revised re-print of Dikeç, 2001]
(2008) ‘Right to the city: politics of citizenship’, in K Goonewardena et al. (eds) Space, Difference, Everyday Life: Reading Henri Lefebvre (Routledge: New York); pp 250-263 (with Liette Gilbert as main author)
I try to use different teaching and learning methods, which helps to keep all of us engaged. I very much welcome class discussions and encourage students to question taken-for-granted notions. If you find the photo below reassuring or uplifting, then you are probably looking for another course…
Most of my teaching is at the master’s level, but I also teach modules for undergraduates and PhD students. Only one of my courses – the one on cities – is taught in English. All the others are in French.
The two main courses I teach at the master’s level are the following:
Cities: Emerging Issues and Challenges: This course aims to familiarise students with the intellectual landscape of contemporary debates around cities and urban issues. It has an introductory aspect, and covers a wide range of themes and concepts in contemporary urban studies. However, this is an advanced level course, so we do not limit ourselves to introductory definitions, but critically explore urban dynamics and ways of thinking about them. The focus of this course is not on urbanism as profession, but on urban studies as a field of critical inquiry and research in order to provide the essential intellectual tools for those aspiring to be reflexive practitioners rather than unquestioning technocrats. Here is the course programme:
Introduction to the course
Part I: Cities in the World
The city – then and now
The ‘urban age’ and its discontents
The political economy of urbanisation
Part II: Worlds within Cities
Cities of difference
Espresso bars, food banks, and urban informality
Natural disasters and cities
Urban commons and the right to the city
Part III: Disrupted Cities
Cities and war
Public space: This course is in French and has a cumbersome title which I inherited and cannot change for the moment. But it is a course on public space, conceptually questioning its meanings, and empirically documenting its different uses and functions. The course also involves a blog fed by students, which includes images of public spaces and short commentaries. The sessions are organised as follows:
I also teach two undergraduate modules, one on urban theories, and the other on cities in fiction, which is quite fun to teach.
I really enjoy the PhD modules I teach. One of them is on writing. It is not a technical writing course, but one that aims to change the way PhD students see writing. It is a module particularly useful for PhD students who are stuck and can no longer write, or who suffer from having to write, or who are waiting for inspiration (which seems to have long forgotten them). So we usually start by debunking some myths about inspiration and the so-called writer’s block, and try to see if we can approach writing in a different – less painful – way.
The other module is on publishing in English, and builds on my own experience of writing and editing. This module is aimed at familiarising students with the expectations of Anglophone journals, and to help them advance in a concrete publishing project, preferably an article.