Jadaliyya announces the launch of its new Cities Page. Cities are important economic, social, political, and cultural centers. They are the home of more than half of the globe’s population, and urban centers continue to grow rapidly in different parts of the world. Despite the central role of cities in a our global era, various debates and studies referring to urban space still use it as a backdrop to economic, social, political and cultural action. The Cities Page seeks to promote critical understandings and investigations of urban life and space, beyond the dominant formal and physical narration on cities.
The Cities Page focuses on a critical understanding of the Middle East at a crucial juncture, when many cities in the region have become main sites for massive protests to demand freedom, social justice, and political participation. While many capital cities, like Cairo, were the focus of such popular uprisings, other capital cities, like Damascus, remained to some extent marginal to their development. How and why does urban space contribute to public action and social movements? What is the relationship between power, space, and resistance? How do different groups utilize space to mobilize and facilitate collective action? Which forces that shape space (physical and technological, as well as social, historical, political and economic) are combined to guide this action? More broadly, how are cities shaped by specific historical, national policies, and global forces? How are different inequalities constituted by urban life and how do they reconstitute the city? How do the ordinary practitioners of the city negotiate, navigate, appropriate, resist, and transform urban forms?
In order to develop a deep understanding of these processes, there is a need to produce knowledge, initiate discussions, and engage in debates that situate ongoing struggles for change and justice in cities, between cities, suburbs, and rural areas, and amongst cities in the Middle East within a larger mapping of processes of socio-spatial marginalization and urban inequalities. The Cities Page publishes works from different fields that deepen our understanding of the social production of diverse urban geographies and the contestation around them. It aims to consolidate an interdisciplinary and integrated approach to reading and writing about space and cities, incorporating historical, social, cultural, political, legal, economic and technological dimensions.
The Cities Page invites conceptual and methodological innovative studies of the city, urban life, spatial practices and planning interventions, as well as more applied pieces intended to foster debate and critical thinking around these important issues. It welcomes contributions in various formats, languages, and on various urban geographies and histories (see Submission Guidelines for more information).
The Cities Page also seeks to be a bridge between scholars, practitioners, and citizens from the Maghreb to the Gulf and the Mashreq as well as across the Arab diaspora. Therefore, it welcomes contributions in Arabic, English, French or Turkish, acknowledging the legitimacy of these diverse languages and preventing any domination or framing by one hegemonic language.
Inaugural Articles of the Cities Page:
- Urbanists Can Never Afford to be Apolitical: An Interview with Nezar AlSayyad on Urbanization in the Middle East
- Who is `Ain al-Hilweh?
- The Geography of Public Lighting in Arab Cities
- New Texts Out Now: Lara Deeb and Mona Harb, Leisurly Islam: Negotiating Geography and Morality in Shi`ite South Beirut
- Symposium Report: "Gulf Cities: Space, Society, Culture"