Month: July 2015

Yan Hairong

Development Seminar

Suzhi (素质 ) Travels: Northeast Asia, China, Africa

Friday January 15
12 – 2 pm
in AP 246, 19 Russell Street

Lunch provided, please register here:

In the reform era, suzhi (quality) has emerged as a new conceptual template to understand and justify competition and mobility. Drawing upon archival and field research data, this talk will trace the historical trajectory and current global circulation of suzhi. The concept of the national quality was present not only among social thinkers in Europe (e.g. Weber), but also among post-colonial nationalists in Asia and Africa. I will begin with the Japanese usage in the 19th Century and track how it travelled to China and Korea in the early 20th Century context of Japanese colonialism. I will then examine the competing discourses of suzhi and class in 20th Century China, the neoliberalization of suzhi (partly detached from the nation) since the 1990s, and the travel of suzhi with Chinese who “go global” to Africa. The logic that links this concept’s historical and national instances will be discussed with the audience.

Yan Hairong, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, is the author of New Masters, New Servants: Migration, Development, and Women Workers in China (Duke University Press, 2008). She has published in disciplinary and area-study journals. Her current research projects focus on global China and include “Rural China in globalization: the soybean crisis and its everyday impact” (PI) and “Going local while going local?: Chinese enterprise localization in Africa and in comparative perspective” (Co-I).

This Development Seminar is co-sponsored by Intersections.

Aseem Inam

John Bousfield Public Lecture

Las Vegas: The Prismatic City

Friday 22 JanuaryInam_Las_Vegas-March_#523D3
*4 to 6 pm*
in SS 2125 (Sidney Smith Hall, 100 St. George Street)

Las Vegas has long been portrayed by urban scholars and practitioners as an outlier and exemplar of what urbanism should not be.  The talk argues otherwise:  that Las Vegas is not only worthy of serious analysis, but also serves as a prism for understanding the true nature of urbanism in North America.  This argument is illuminated through four episodes in the history of Las Vegas:  how an infrastructure project outside the city designed the downtown, why the Las Vegas strip was the result of an unusual partnership, how one isolated hotel-casino project reinvented the city, and ways in which the most recent high-profile intervention in the city is emblematic of how so-called “public-private partnerships” work in reality.  Ultimately, the talk argues against singular narratives about the design of cities and in favor of urban theory that emerges out of fine-grained empirical analysis.


Aseem Inam is the 2015-2016 John Bousfield Distinguished Visitor at the University of Toronto.  His work focuses on developing critical and creative theories, strategies and practices of urban transformation.  He is  the Director of TRULAB:  Laboratory for Designing Urban Transformation, and was the founding director of the highly innovative MA Theories of Urban Practice Program at Parsons School of Design and The New School in New York City.  Dr. Inam is the author of the books, Planning for the Unplanned, and Designing Urban Transformation, several journal articles and book chapters, including in the recent books, The Emerging Asian City, and Companion to Urban Design.  His work has received awards from the SOM Foundation, the American Planning Association, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  He has practiced as an urbanist in Brazil, Canada, France, Greece, Haiti, India, Morocco and the United States.

Allan Young

A Psychiatric Mystery Story with Two Solutions

Anthropology Colloquium

Friday 22 January
2 to 4 pm
BA 1220
Bahen Centre, 40 St. George Street

A largely undetected epidemic initiated around year 2000 affects a quarter of a million American war veterans. These patients exhibit incongruous features and possibly incurable symptoms. Rival solutions have been suggested: a solution based on self-interest and a solution based on a novel conception of the human brain and memory.

RSVP to this Anthropology Colloquium event:

Co-sponsored by Intersections



Libby Lunstrum

When Conservation Meets Militarization: Militarized Anti-Poaching in South Africa



Friday 29 January
3 to 5 pm
in SS 2125
100 St. George Street, Sidney Smith Hall, 2nd Floor

Military practices, logics, and technologies have increasingly spread from the battlefield and into everyday life. One perhaps surprising arena into which militarization has expanded is that of conservation. Nowhere is this stitching together of conservation and militarization more pronounced than in the fight against commercial rhino poaching unfolding in South Africa. In its attempt to protect the iconic rhino, the South African state has further paramilitarized its ranger force, relocated “insurgent” communities, and deployed both high-tech surveillance drones and the national Army. The outcome has been deadly, with an estimated 500 suspected poachers killed in the last 5 years. In this talk, I draw from my long-term research in South Africa’s Kruger National Park to outline this intricate dovetailing of conservation and militarization, focusing on the rise of militarized conservation, its theoretical implications, and its unanticipated consequences, including its threat to the very species it is deployed to save.

Libby Lunstrum is an Associate Professor of Geography and Resident Scholar at the Centre for Refugee Studies, York University. Her research interests include the militarization of conservation practice, conservation-induced displacement, and the political ecology of international borders. She conducts research in Southern Africa and North America.

Sarah Hunt

Rupturing Colonialscapes: politicizing the relational sites and scales of Indigenous resurgence

Friday 5 February
3 to 5 pm

in Sidney Smith Hall, Room 2125 (2nd Floor)
100 St. George Street, University of Toronto

In recent years, the cultural, political and legal resurgence of Indigenous nations has taken shape through the actions of Indigenous people whose political consciousness arise from an orientation toward Indigenous, rather than colonial, law. These diverse expressions of Indigenous resurgence cannot be contained within colonially-delineated Indian reserves, but instead enact a network of territorial relations which together cover all of what is now known as Canada. Yet realities of gendered violence serve as a stark reminder of the urgent need to challenge colonially imposed divisions between public and private space, which continue to depoliticize and deprioritize much of the intimate work of decolonization. In this talk, I will discuss the relational nature of strategies of resurgence across diverse sites of decolonial thought/action and their potential to actively rupture what I call colonialscapes – the interrelated spatial rationales of terra nullius, the frontier and Indian reserves. Through a series of recent examples, I will explore the potential for multi-scalar activations of Indigenous territorial relations to create ruptures in colonialscape relations, actively resisting the closure of settlement.

sarah.huntSarah Hunt is a Kwagiulth scholar whose work in Indigenous and legal geographies critically takes up questions of violence, justice, resistance, self-determination and resurgence. She was awarded a Governor General’s Gold Medal for her doctoral research which investigated the relationship between law and violence in ongoing neocolonial relations in BC, asking how violence gains visibility through Indigenous and Canadian socio-legal discourse and action. Sarah is assistant professor in First Nations and Indigenous Studies and the Department of Geography at UBC. Her recent publications can be accessed at

Crisis and the Humanitarian Present

Thinking Through the 2015 Nepal Earthquakes

A remaining window of a collapsed house is pictured after an earthquake at Barpak villageFriday 5 February
9 am – 5 pm


208N, North House
Munk School of Global Affairs
1 Devonshire Place, University of Toronto



Register Here:

This symposium aims to widen and sharpen debates about the politics of humanitarianism and development by reflecting on the devastating 2015 earthquakes in Nepal. The symposium focuses on Nepal to pose broad questions that engage public conversations in the social sciences and politically-engaged humanities on the histories of post-colonial states, their administrative architectures, and global geographies and technologies of humanitarianism. Key questions for discussion include: Who responded, and in what ways? How does seismic instability articulate political power and instability? How was Nepal “territorialized” for and by earthquake relief? What tensions arise in the mix of differently scaled responses, between solidarity and inequality, assistance and domination, progressive and regressive possibilities? What, crucially, is, or could be, the role of the critical humanities and social sciences in troubling and refining the humanitarian present?

The proceedings are organized to facilitate discussion among scholars, development practitioners, and policy makers, and will feature cross-regional perspectives from other Asian contexts. Registered participants are invited to join a lunch, followed by an afternoon workshop hosted by the Toronto-based network, Asha (Hope) Toronto, oriented to exploring strategies for promoting aid accountability and critical social science in and for Nepal, and in the thought and application of disaster relief and the dispensing of humanitarian projects more broadly.

Co-sponsors: Asha Toronto, Asian Institute, Centre for the Study of Korea, East Asia Seminar Series, Department of Geography and Planning, Development Studies Seminar Series, Dr. David Chu Program in Asia-Pacific Studies

Sutapa Chattopadhyay

Migrations, Squatting and Radical Autonomy: Personal reflections as a South Asian migrant scholar in Europe

Friday 12 February
3 to 5 pm

in Sidney Smith Hall, Room 2125 (2nd Floor)
100 St. George Street

Abstract of ‘Migrations, Squatting and Radical Autonomy’ (in press) with Routledge: Space, Place, Politics Series

Migrations, Squatting and Radical Autonomy offers a unique contribution, exploring how the intersections among migrants and radical squatter’s movements have evolved over past decades. The main argument of the book is to explicitly represent migrants outside the usual victimization, to challenge the assimilationist descriptions and to describe the complexity and importance of squatting practices. The complexity and importance of squatting practices are analyzed from a bottom-up perspective, to demonstrate how the spaces of squatting can be transformed by migrants. With contributions from scholars, scholar-activists, and activists, this book provides unique insights into how squatting has offered an alternative to dominant anti-immigrant policies, and the implications of squatting on the social acceptance of migrants. The book illustrates the different mechanisms of protest followed in solidarity by migrant squatters and Social Center activists, when discrimination comes from above or below, and explores how can different spatialities be conceived and realized by radical practices.

Contributions adopt a variety of perspectives, from critical human geography, social movement studies, political sociology, urban anthropology, autonomous Marxism, feminism, open localism, anarchism and post-structuralism, to analyze and contextualize migrants and squatters’ exclusion and social justice issues. This book is a timely and original contribution through its exploration of migrations, squatting and radical autonomy. 

Sutapa Chattopadhyay is a geoSutapaChattopadhyaygrapher and currently working at the University of Toronto. Previously she has worked as an Assistant Professor and researcher at the universities of Minnesota-Duluth, Maastricht (Faculties of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences and School of Governance), United Nations. Her areas of interest are migrations, alternative development, indigeniety, anarcha-ecofeminism and radical autonomy. She is currently pursuing her own research on migrant incarceration and counter struggles in Rome, Italy and on indigenous food sovereignty in Andhra Pradesh, India. She is in the advisory board of ACME. She has published in ACME; Gender, Place and Culture; Population, Place and Space, Environment and Planning D, and Capitalism, Nature, Socialism on indigenous anti-colonial struggles, development-induced dislocation, colonial appropriation of nature, feminist research methods and border politics. She has several manuscripts in progress that focus on radical pedagogy, food sovereignty, gender-class struggles and militarization of borders. She is working on a book on wider indigenous struggles with Palgrave and on two journal special issues on academic class struggles and discourses on the migrant position for two key radical journals.

Chris Krupa

** Please note: this event has been rescheduled to 12 February!

Development Seminar

Book Launch: State Theory and Andean Politics by Chris Krupa

Friday 12 February (rescheduled from 29 January)

12-2 pm
in Anthropology Building, AP 246, 19 Russell Street

Lunch will be provided, please register for this Development Seminar here:

This Development Seminar event is co-sponsored by Intersections


Anna Joo Kim

Welcome to the New South: Immigration and Segregation in Metropolitan Atlanta

AnnaKimFriday 26 February
3 to 5 pm

in SS 2125
Sidney Smith Hall, 2nd Floor
100 St. George Street

Atlanta envisions itself a new Global City, spurred by the addition of more than 250,000 new immigrants from India, South Korea, Mexico, and Ethiopia in less than ten years. Georgia is at the national nexus of new immigration, and Atlanta emerges as one of the largest cities in the South seeking to embrace this demographic change (Welcoming America, 2014). However, the growth has been rapid, uneven, and predominantly to the suburban fringes of Metro Atlanta. These suburban preferences have created new tensions, both spatially and socially. Although some smaller cities are embracing transnational capital investments by international firms and the influx of “high-skill” immigrant workers that come with them, other cities lack the resources and capacity to provide basic services. A newly positive attitude towards (some kinds of) immigrant growth also obfuscates the impact of statewide anti-immigrant and anti-refugee legislation, and ignores class segmentation among and between different ethnic groups.

Anna Joo Kim is an assistant professor of city and regional planning at Georgia Institute of Technology. Her research examines the blurred boundaries between informal and formal jobs for low wage immigrant workers, and how these semi-formal employment arrangements translate into strategies for local economic growth in ethnic neighborhoods. Dr. Kim teaches community and workforce development, planning for immigrant communities, and other courses on social, economic, and environmental justice. Prior to coming to Georgia Tech, she held the Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in Environmental Analysis at Pomona College.  Recently Dr. Kim has been awarded the highly competitive GT-FIRE (Transformative Research and Education Award) for her study of workforce development in Atlanta’s westside neighborhoods. For her graduate studio on multi-ethnic immigrant communities and immigration policy in Georgia she has also been nominated for the “Faces of Inclusive Excellence” honor at Georgia Tech. Her research and community collaborations have received grant awards from the National Science Foundation,  National Institutes of Health, American Studies Association, Center for Urban Innovation, UC Center for New Racial Studies, UC-CHIS, and the UCLA Labor Center.

Robert A. Hill

And Still We Rise: A New Generation of Black Students Arises for a New Time

Public Lecture hosted by Caribbean Studies at New College, University of Toronto

26 February
6.30 pm
Earth Sciences Centre, Room 1050
23 Russell Street


Robert A. Hill is Research Professor of History at the University of California-Los Angeles; Editor-in-Chief, The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers; and Editor, The CLR James Archives.


SPONSORED BY: African Studies; Canadian Studies; Centre for the Study of the United States at the Munk School of Global Affairs; Diaspora and Transnational Studies; Equity Studies; Geography and Planning; History; New College Initiatives Fund; Political Science; Social Justice Education; Women and Gender Studies at the University of Toronto.