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An Urban Humanities Initiative

Summer City Seminar

Summer City Seminar 2016: Understanding the Divided City, Urban Methods

On May 24-26, 2016, the Divided City hosted the inaugural Summer City Seminar. The 2016 theme, “Understanding the Divided City, Urban Methods,” focused on methodologies to approach the issue of urban segregation. In interactive, method-focused workshops led by experts, participants examined the Divided City through urban ethnography, oral history and public records (real estate, census, legal documents).

The seminar began with a tour of the Greater St. Louis area led by Robert Hansman, associate professor of architecture, that highlighted significant locations in the history of the region’s struggle with racial division and injustice. Rev. Starsky Wilson, president and CEO of Deaconess Foundation and co-chair of the Ferguson Commission, gave the opening-night keynote address.

Rev. Starksy Williams gives the opening keynote    

On the second day of the seminar, three workshops were offered. Waverly Duck, assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh and associate fellow with the Yale Ethnography Project, led an Urban Ethnography Workshop. Geospatial Resources Librarian Andy Rutkowski, from the University of California, Los Angeles, offered a workshop on geographical information systems (GIS), mapping and communities. Dan Kerr, associate professor and director of American University’s public history program, led an Oral History Workshop. On the final day of the seminar, Kevin McGruder, assistant professor in the Department of History at Antioch College and an expert in community development, joined Thomas Harvey, executive director of Arch City Defenders, a nonprofit provider of holistic legal advocacy, to lead a workshop titled “Using Real Estate Records to Track Segregation Practices.” They provided an overview of public real estate records, which can provide a wealth of information on residential segregation practices, and sometimes even the intent of the buyers and sellers, when used in conjunction with census, local newspaper and other records

Lecture by Professor Waverly Duck, University of Pittsburgh

Agenda with Biographies


Summer City Seminar 2017: Critical Spatial Practices St Louis (CPSTL)

On May 5-6, 2017, the Divided City Initiative will convene our second Summer City Seminar in collaboration with Pulitzer Arts Foundation, George B. Vashon Research Center Museum, the Griot Museum of Black History, the Sheldon, and the Contemporary Art Museum.

Critical Spatial Practices St. Louis is a multi-platform convening that takes on the spatial politics of the city. Organized by the Divided City, an Andrew Mellon Foundation-funded initiative in Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities, CSPSTL constellates around a series of city-wide exhibitions addressing the entanglements between (sub)urbanism, landscape, and race.

As the second in the Divided City’s Summer City Seminar series, the conference brings together scholars and creative practitioners working at the intersection of spatial and political concerns, with a particular eye to the ways creative practice and historical research mingle in the fields of exhibition and institution building. Across a range of disciplines — art, architecture, geography, history, and urbanism — the participants all bring to the table a particular way of seeing, of responding to, and of communicating the imbrications of politics and space.

Central to the orientation of the seminar is building relationships among institutions, practitioners, and activists in St. Louis and beyond, and providing a platform for collaborative projects across the city. As a form of social practice itself, this paripatetic seminar will structure a convergence among institutions and projects in order to nurture critical dialogue around art, politics, and history in St. Louis. Our goal over the long weekend will be to reflect upon, and to put into practice, a range of methodologies – historical, creative, architectural, geographic, etc. – that reorient our received ways of approaching the Divided City.

Please visit CSPSTL’s website here: https://www.cspstl.org/collaborators/

RSVP here