PhD course: "Global urbanism" (23-27 April 2018, Stockholm)

Deadline: 11 Dec 2017!

Swedish National Program in Human Geography PhD Education is calling for applications (**Deadline December 11**):

PhD Course: Global Urbanism: Exploring the remaking of cities and regions

Course Organizers

The course is organized by the Department of Human Geography, Stockholm University, The Stockholm Urban and Regional Research Environment (SURE), and the Department of Human Geography, Lund University.

Course leaders at Stockholm University:

From Lund University:

  • Professor Eric Clark. Department of Human Geography and Economic Geography, Lund University. Tel: +46 2229496

Course description

Cities can be thought of as constituting nodes in networks of international flows of material and immaterial resources; power, knowledge, finance, communication and ideas. However, cities are differently positioned in such networks. Some cities exercise considerable influence over others and some have become models of ‘successful’ urbanism that inform cities in other countries and continents. Other cities are rather less connected to such networks and/or connected through relations of subordination or dependency. An important factor influencing the positioning, level and forms of interconnectedness concerns the international circulation of certain strategies and ideals, which get uprooted from the specific urban and regional contexts within which they originate and then implemented in very different social, economic cultural and political local contexts. Such circulating policies, strategies, development concepts etc., which are often premised on neoliberal norms of urban and regional development, tend to give priority to economic growth and the ‘international competitiveness’ of cities and regions. At the same time we can observe a growing concern about unjust spatial development at various scales.

Governments in highly diverse geographical contexts increasingly and actively seek to project and materialize ¨world city¨ visions, by applying a variety of disciplining techniques as well as through concrete strategies and interventions. In many cities, such strategies contribute to increasing economic inequality, residential segregation, gentrification, and instrumentalisation of cultural heritage and creative expressions, and can be seen as part of a general turn towards ‘revanchist urbanism’. These developments are commonly accompanied by a shift in urban and regional politics towards entrepreneurial forms of governance, ‘consumerist citizenship’ and a shrinkage of the space for meaningful political and cultural engagement. However, these trends also raise pertinent questions concerning counter‐trends, opposition and resistance and, not least, possible alternatives. 

The course aims to critically engage with different theoretical approaches and debates for understanding the above processes. These include (among others) theories associated with conceptual debates on planetary urbanization, global urbanism, post‐colonialism, planetary gentrification, and travelling theory/policy. The course further aims to reflect upon the possibilities and avenues for an international comparative urban and regional studies that seeks to ‘learn across’ different geographical contexts and that embraces a diverse range of experiences and trajectories. It will explore the varied manifestations and socio‐spatial configurations resulting from processes of urban and regional restructuring and the pursuit of, for instance, smart, sustainable and/or competitive cities and regions, in various geographical contexts around the world. Particular focus will be placed on issues including strategic planning, governance arrangements and actor‐networks through which the re‐making of cities and regions are mobilized and channeled. What are their geographies, what are their life‐spans, what are the institutional arrangements and to what extent do they imply contestations over the use of space for instance?

In particular, the course will highlight scholarship on cities and regions in both the Global North and Global South that facilitate the bridging of a long‐standing divide in urban and regional studies. By focusing on how cities and regions are understood and how that understanding is challenged by a view from “elsewhere”, the course will provide a critical toolbox including the latest theoretical developments in urban and regional research.


The course will combine lectures, seminars and a half day field excursion (Stockholm). The two invited guest lecturers are internationally prominent scholars in the field of global urban studies.

Shorter lectures (ca. 30 mins) will be given by Assoc. Prof. Thomas Borén, Professor Dominic Power, Senior Lecturer Andrew Byerley, Assoc Prof. Peter Schmitt, Lecturer Ida Andersson (all from the Department of Human Geography, Stockholm University) and Prof. Eric Clark (Department of Human Geography, Lund University).

A Stockholm field excursion will be held on the afternoon of day 1. This aims both to highlight key course themes and concepts and to provide a socializing arena for the participating students. The course will be given in English. 

Reading instructions concerning the course literature will be provided in the week following the course application deadline.


Examination will be based on a final hand‐in paper (ca. 20 pages) which demonstrates knowledge of key course themes and concepts, as well as the ability to apply these to a specific theme of their own choosing. The student papers are expected to integrate key elements of the course literature with a selection of individually sourced literature. This paper is to be submitted one month after the week long course meeting. This will be the final version of the draft paper that is to be submitted by each student one week prior to the course meeting. During the week long course meeting, the invited international scholars will provide feedback (detailed formative assessment) on these draft texts at a day‐long seminar to be held on day 3 of the course.

Examination will also include a seminar where each student is expected to act as opponent to another student’s draft paper.

Course evaluation will comprise two components. The last 30 minutes of the final course date will be allocated for a verbal evaluation. Course participants will be asked to spend 15 minutes discussing the course evaluation in groups which will be followed by a 15 minute discussion with teachers.

The second component will comprise an electronic individual course evaluation.

Course period

The course will comprise one week‐long meeting at the Department of Human Geography, Stockholm University 23rd to 27th April 2018.

Submission of draft paper: By the latest Monday 3rd of April 2018

Submission of final paper: Friday 19th May 2018

How to apply:

Applications to be submitted at the latest by Monday 11th December 2017 to

Applications should include: name and e‐post address, their home institution’s name and address, and a very brief motivation for wishing to take this course and how it relates to their ongoing doctoral project (ca. 50‐100 words).

Further information: Course details (pdf)




University of Basel
Centre for African Studies
Rheinsprung 21
CH-4051 Basel
Tel.: +41 (0)61 207 34 82