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Scott Bollens

Tue, Apr 4, 2023    1:15pm

Researching Urban Political Conflict: 7 Countries, 3 Decades

Lecture by Scott A. Bollens, Professor of Urban Planning and Public Policy at the University of California, Irvine, where he holds the Warmington Chair in Peace and International Cooperation.

Professor Bollens studies the role of urbanism in cities and countries challenged by nationalistic ethnic conflict and political transformations. He has interviewed over 360 urban and community leaders in 9 politically polarized cities over the past 25 years. His sixth book on this subject is Bordered Cities and Divided Societies: Humanistic Essays of Conflict, Violence, and Healing (March 2021, Routledge.) Professor Bollens most recent book is a dystopian futurist novel, ReStart: Stories of the Cairn Age (September 2021, Atmosphere Press.) The sequel, ReForm: Combating the Algorithmic Mutation, will be published early 2023.

Politically contested cities in Israel, Palestine, South Africa, Northern Ireland, Lebanon, Spain, former Yugoslavia, and Cyprus represent a complex and emotional kaleidoscope of hostility and competition among groups defined by ethnic, religious, and nationalistic identity. Professor Bollens will discuss the ethnographic research, field work, and interviews he has undertaken in 9 politically polarized urban areas in 7 countries. In these cities, urbanism and nationalism intertwine. He will present his findings through specific snapshots of people and places that illuminate the larger society-wide challenges facing polarized cities. Also discussed will be the research design and practical issues involved in carrying out research in conflict areas.

LiPS events are open to the Columbia University community.