COP3 - New Urban Life Across the Globe: Activism and Change in a World of Cities
24 July 2017 – 4 August 2017
Hosted by University of Copenhagen
"What is urban activism in a world of cities?"
For the first time in human history, more people now live in cities than outside them, and many of the major political contestations of the 21st Century occur in urban settings. Recent years have thus seen a surge in new urban-based political and social movements, experiments in local governance, innovative forms of protest, activism and grassroots initiatives in cities and smaller towns spanning from Barcelona to Istanbul, Hong Kong to Detroit, and Bogotá to Cape Town. Uniting these trends is the belief that the state and traditional political and social institutions cannot meet all the needs arising from urbanization, or that real societal change must begin from below. These developments demand a new ontology of the political that is “seeing like a city” and pays attention to urban political life as both localized and globalized, as well as a new epistemology of “the urban” that can take into account the diverse field of politics emerging in cities.
During this summer school, the students will be immersed in critical urban theory and practical approaches to urban ethnography, drawing from a broad range of excellent research at three faculties of the University of Copenhagen. The aim of the course is to cultivate knowledge of the relation between the urban and social and political change today. Students will develop a general skill in applying urban theory from the humanities and the social sciences on cases from urban societies across the world. Special emphasis will be placed on combining theory from the global north and south. Methodologically, the students will be trained in conducting urban ethnography and in gathering qualitative data for case studies on selected instances or processes of social and political change that could include activist communities, issues of contested authority, planning controversies and everyday city-making. Finally, they will be trained to work analytically with this kind of data, and to discuss urban theory in relation to the ethnography.
The course is developed through a collaboration between the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, Sociology and Centre of African Studies.
The summer school includes field trips in Copenhagen.
Target Audience/ Prerequisites
The target audience is Master students, but bachelor students in their 3rd year are welcome to apply.
The summer school is open to MA-level students from all disciplines but priority is given to those interested in urban issues, activism and political or social change. Apart from good English skills, it is required that the student immerses in the course syllabus, conducts a limited ethnographic exercise (“mini-fieldwork”) prior to the summer school and submits a draft synopsis based on that fieldwork in the first week of the summer school. The pre-summer school “mini-fieldwork” is estimated to amount to approximately 40 hours. Students are also welcome to use fieldwork data generated for the purpose of other courses and the summer school is particularly suited for students working on research for their MA dissertation.
Delivery Method & Learning Outcomes
The course consists of three phases. In the first phase, prior to arriving at University of Copenhagen itself, students study the syllabus with the aid of online lectures. Students are expected to undertake a limited ethnographic exercise (“mini-fieldwork”) and write a draft synopsis about it, which is to be handed in during the summer school. In the second phase, 24th of July to 4th of August 2017, students come to Copenhagen for a two-week summer school based on interdisciplinary seminars, lectures, debates and field trips. Finally, having submitted a final (reworked) synopsis during the second week of the summer school, the student finishes the course with an oral presentation based on the synopsis.
Students are expected to:
- Be prepared by having studied the required readings, by having conducted a limited ethnographic exercise (“mini-fieldwork”) and by having prepared a draft synopsis before the summer school begins (a total of 144 hours’ workload);
- Attend all sessions during the summer school;
- Actively participate in group work, discussions and field trips.
- Deliver a final synopsis during the summer school, which incorporates findings and discussions from the reading materials and the lectures;
The program seeks to cultivate a knowledge of:
- Social and political activism in urban settings and from a global perspective;
- The relations between processes of urbanization and new forms of political and social activism;
- The role of ethnography in studying urban political and social activism.
Students should develop skills in:
- Identifying, analysing and understanding the relations between political, social change and urbanization or urban societies;
- Applying the theories, methods and tools of the program and its required readings to the development of a case study;
Students will be trained in:
- Carrying out a limited ethnographic exercise (“mini-fieldwork”) in an urban setting;
- Formulating and presenting a case study on urban political or social activism;
- Discussing the case study in relation to other cases from a global and comparative perspective.
Oral presentation (10 mins.) based on submitted synopsis (5 pages). Passed/failed.
Credit equivalent at host university & contact hours
7,5 credits (European Credit Transfer System)
36 total contact hours (classroom) + 8 field trip hours (excluding self-study hours)
Lecturer(s) / Tutor(s)
Rasmus Christian Elling (Associate Professor), Amanda Hammar (Professor) and Anders Blok (Associate Professor) as well as invited guest speakers.
Housing will be made available through the UCPH Housing Foundation. Students are typically provided a single room in a student dormitory with access to kitchen / cooking equipment.
For more information, please refer to: http://housingfoundation.ku.dk/summer-students-accommodation/.
Students must arrive by 23 July.
Students will be able to check in from 2 July.
Check-out date 05 June.
Students have the option to stay longer upon request.
However, students may find accommodation on their own, but must arrive one day prior to course start.
Figures are estimates only. Click on each item for details.
IARU students whose home university has a GSP exchange agreement with the University of Copenhagen (ANU, ETH, NUS, UTokyo): no tuition fee (please seek details from your local GSP coordinator)
Students from EU/EEA countries: tuition fee is DKK 1,875
Students from non-EU/EEA countries with a permanent Danish residence permit: DKK 1,875
Students from non-EU/EEA countries without a permanent Danish residence permit: DKK 9,375
Field TripApproximately DKK 300-400
AccommodationAccommodation, including any deposits:
14 days: DKK 2400-3500
1 month: DKK 3800-5500
TextbooksPrinting costs apply
Living ExpensesApprox. DKK 1,500 - 2,500/month
Estimate of visa fee: Service fees vary. The Danish Immigration Service recommends that you check the requirements on the website of the diplomatic mission in advance.
Required and/or Recommended Insurance(s)
Further required Application Material
The applicants are expected to write and submit a letter of motivation (max. 500 words) that indicates a) the proposed case study for “mini-fieldwork”; and b) general areas of interest and plans for future studies.