The Urban Humanities research group brings together faculty and students from across the college and university to explore the relevance of the humanities to the questions and problems raised by recent and past processes of urbanization. More specifically, this research group focuses on the ways in which the study of literature, language, visual and performance art, architecture, city design, and other cultural mediums can help urban intellectuals develop a more expansive and complex “urban imaginary”—one that addresses the inadequacies of the predominantly “western” urban theories that have dominated the study and development of cities.
The call from a new wave of urban intellectuals for a more expansive and complex “urban imaginary” is one that those in the humanities are particularly well positioned to address. In 2007, MLA President Patricia Yaeger urged those of us who make it our business to study languages, literatures, and culture to use our expertise to develop a “metropoetics that will enable us to rethink the urban imaginary in the light of contemporary urban crises.” Although Yaeger’s invitation has not been taken up by as many as she might have hoped, our research group will attempt to heed her call to rethink the urban imaginary through the disciplinary frameworks of the humanities.
For further information, contact Jamin Rowan (English).