Second annual conference of The World in the City looks at empire, city and nature

The International Graduate Research Program – The World in the City: Metropolitanism and Globalization from the 19th Century to the Present – is holding its second annual Conference looking at the theme of “Empire, City, Nature”.

Thirty-six PhD students will present on urban themes in a broad spectrum of disciplines, along with senior urban CITYConfPosterresearchers and scholars from Berlin, New York and Toronto. The three-day conference will run from May 30 to June 2 with the first day taking place at York University’s Keele campus and the following two days at the University of Toronto.

This year’s conference theme, “Empire, City, Nature”, is a direct reference to the life and work of geographer Neil Smith, who died on Sept. 28, 2012 at the age of 58. He was one of the most distinguished international scholars of human geography and related disciplines and his research centred on the themes of imperial expansion and urban redevelopment as well as nature, space and society.

The conference program will include a reception and launch Thursday at the York University Bookstore of the book, The Oak Ridges Moraine Battles: Development, Sprawl, and Nature Conservation in the Toronto Region (University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division), by three York Faculty of Environmental Studies professors: Anders Sandberg, Gerda Wekerle and Liette Gilbert. There will also be urban and suburb tours on Friday and Sunday.

The following speakers will deliver the conference keynotes:

Distinguished Research Professor Leo Panitch, a Canada Research Chair in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies will discuss, “Rethinking Empire with Neil Smith”, while Stefan Krätke of the European University will talk about “Cities in Contemporary Capitalism”. Damaris Rose of the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique’s Centre Urbanisation LeoPanitchCulture Société will look at “Whither Critical Gentrification Research?”.

Leo Panitch

Dorothee Brantz, director of the Center for Metropolitan Studies at the Technische Universität Berlin, will deliver an address on “Uneven Natures: An Historian’s View on the Environmental Production of Urban Spaces”. Roger Keil, director of The City Institute at York, will talk about “The Urban Political Ecology of Ontario’s Greenbelt”. For a complete program, RogerKeilbtrclick here.

Roger Keil

The World in the City is a collaboration of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt Universität Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin, City University of New York, Columbia University, Fordham University, New York University and University of Toronto, as well as York University. Local organizers Jennifer Jenkins, Ute Lehrer, Kanishka Goonewardena and Roger Keil welcome students and faculty from the participating universities to Toronto.

DorothyBrantzDorothee Brantz

For more information about The World in the City collaboration, headed by Dorothee Brantz and sponsored by the German Research Foundation Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, see the Sept. 28, 2012 YFile article.

The conference is open to the public but there is limited capacity. RSVP at by May 29 at noon. For more information, contact Roger Keil at 416-736-2100 ext. 22604.