Ato Quayson: "Urban Studies and the Practice of Theory"

Tue January 11th 2022, 1:30 - 2:45pm
Online via Zoom
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Ato Quayson: "Urban Studies and the Practice of Theory"

About this talk: Deploying an interdisciplinary approach that draws on geography, anthropology, archival and historical research, as well as perspectives from literary criticism and cultural studies, this project refocuses the discussion of Accra, New York, London, and Hong Kong in ways that have gained scant attention in the published literature. We marry theoretical concepts to everyday research practice by attending to the relationships between high streets and business districts, street life, spatial morphologies, and the character of inequalities that are inextricably entangled with these cities. We study how high streets and other urban phenomena intersect with various elements and vectors of urban life such as restaurants, ethnic food stores, transport systems, parks, and the real estate market, among other phenomena, even when these do not appear to be obviously related to one another in the first instance. The project also has an interest in the apparent messiness of migration and settlement for understanding the different ways in which globalization has been sedimented in these cities in the 20th and 21st centuries. 

 About the speaker: Ato Quayson is the Jean G. and Morris M. Doyle Professor in Interdisciplinary Studies and Professor of English at Stanford. He studied for his undergraduate degree at the University of Ghana and took his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge, where he taught in the Faculty of English from 1995-2005. Prior to Stanford he was Professor of African and Postcolonial Literature at New York University (2017-2019) and Professor of English and inaugural Director of the Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies at the University of Toronto (2005-2017). He has lectured widely in Africa, Europe, Canada, the United States, Singapore, Turkey, Hong Kong, Australia, and various other places. He was President of the African Studies Association (2019-2020) and is an elected Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Society of Canada, and of the British Academy.