Cities Built of Violence
A Global Perspective on Urban Space and Conflict
For my next larger research project, I will build on my dissertation work on post-WWII urban history, and explore issues in the analysis and historicization of urban space and conflict. Drawing on a global array of examples, I will investigate questions such as ‘Who has the right to exercise violence in cities, under what circumstances? How are the politics of space enmeshed with the occurrence of conflict? Whose political claims become either reinforced or undermined by violence? And how do acts of violence become interpreted discursively—as acts of aggression, as appropriate countermeasures, as brave moments of civil disobedience, as desperate cries for help, as callous acts of terrorism? How are they responded to, and how are they remembered?’
Violence in cities is easily understood as the destruction of architecture caused by war, or as the escalation of protests and other conflicts. I argue that violence has a permanent presence in urban environments—not only in moments of physical harm and destruction inflicted on individuals and buildings, but in the ways in which history and memory are subject to constant renegotiation through the medium of architecture, and have real consequences for future developments in the city. Taking a global perspective on different models of urban space and conflict, this research will lead to a deepened understanding of the politics of the city that become played out through acts of violence.
Framing Potsdamer Platz: Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Mies van der Rohe
Violence and Trauma in the Architecture of Warsaw: A Case for Non-Linear Urban History
Recording Trauma, Overcoming Trauma. Architectural Annihilation and Paintings of Hiroshima