York researchers to discuss how Toronto informs urban research in sociology

skyline of the city of Toronto
skyline of the city of Toronto

York University researchers will lead a panel at a prestigious event on July 18 to share the contributions of Toronto urban research in the field of sociology.

Roger Keil
Roger Keil

The panel discussion, organized by Faculty of Environmental Studies Professors Ute Lehrer and Roger Keil, is titled “Sh!t Is Hot up in the 6 Right Now (Drake): the Toronto School of Urban Thinking” and will be presented as part of the prestigious International Sociological Association’s (ISA) world congress, which takes place once every four years. This year, the world congress will take place in Toronto, July 15 to 21.

York PhD student Sam Tecle (sociology) and Professors Stefan Kipfer (environmental studies) and Ranu Basu (geography), as well as colleagues from Ryerson University and the University of Toronto, will participate in the panel and share expertise and insights on the “Toronto school of urban thinking.”

Urban and regional sociology often frames what we are doing in “schools of thought” – from Chicago to Los Angeles to New York City, say Ute Lehrer and Roger Keil, organizers and York University researchers in the Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES).

“In a globalized environment, every place now contributes to the making of urban theory and knowledge. Toronto is one such place. This session will examine what is specific, if anything, about the way urban scholarship and practice here contribute to understanding life in the urban world,” says Keil, who is the York Research Chair in global sub/urban studies and the principal investigator in a long-term study on global suburbanization.

This panel presents Toronto as an interesting laboratory that generates specific modes of theorizing the city, of developing methodologies of urban inquiry and, by examining the city by looking at other places.

The panel discussion will present questions such as:

  • How has Toronto influenced their work?
  • What is specific about “the 6”, as the city has more recently been referred to by hiphop artist Drake, that is generative of urban thought?
  • Can we learn from its “hyper-diversity”?
  • Does Toronto reveal its urban constellations one neighbourhood at a time, or is the “real-existing region” the binding frame for how to understand the place?
  • Is there a universal urbanism in Toronto that breaks the city-ist mold of the particular?
  • What does Toronto do with/to urban policy? What does it have to offer to better understand our urban r/age?
  • Is Toronto a place of theory and/or action?

The panel discussion takes place July 18 from 8:30 to 10:20 a.m. at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, South Building. 715B. Other panelists include: Pamela Robinson (Ryerson University), Ron Vogel (Ryerson University), David Roberts (University of Toronto), and Cheryl Teelucksingh (Ryerson University).

During the seven-day conference, Keil will deliver the keynote address sponsored by the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research on the topic Political Ecology Beyond the Urban: Situated Peripheries and Capitalocenic Limits. This will be presented July 19 from 5:30 to 7:20 p.m.