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 ‘From Extinction to Abolition’, by Professor AbdouMaliq Simone, October – November 2020

 The first ‘Sheffield Urbanism’ Lecture Series

 The Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Sheffield hosts one of the most dynamic, productive and innovative sites of urban research in the UK. Work has made significant contributions to the conceptualizations of the socio-technical dimensions of urban life, the social philosophical underpinnings of the everyday, the policy and programmatic apparatuses mobilized to address climate change, the practices of co-constitution in urban governance, and the affective dimensions of life on the urban margins.

To recognise this critical mass, the Urban Institute is curating a ‘Sheffield Urbanism’ Lecture series with colleagues across the Faculty designed to provide a context for colleagues to present an innovative thesis in a systemic and programmatic manner over the course of a series of lectures.

The first ‘Sheffield Urbanism Lectures Series’ 2020 will profile work from Professor AbdouMaliq Simone, Senior Professorial Fellow in the Urban Institute.

 “From Extinction to Abolition” is a series which will draw on a long legacy of abolitionist history that draws a line from slavery through the present policies of incarceration as the continuity of a fundamental apparatus of anti-blackness that shapes urban life everywhere. The notion of “abolition” is mobilized as a potential modality to address the very prospects of extinction of that urban life.

The series is constituted by three lectures which would cover the following three themes:

  1. What lies for the human? How has the urban as the “proper” context for a self-reflecting, continuously self-improving human been based on fundamental misconceptions of both the human and of life? This lecture argues that the ambivalent generativity of blackness is a key resource in rethinking urbanization not just in terms of space and territory, but of the very reshaping of the human. Wednesday October 7th, 3-4.30pm
  2. What time is it? Invoking this ironical query of black resistance struggles, the intersection of quantum physics with black temporalities and the planetary scope of contemporary urbanization process amplify the heterogeneity of multiple times. In face of myriad potential extinctions (for instance, posed by climate change or financial indebtedness to the future), the collapse of clear temporal distinctions is increasingly folded into the operating systems of urban development. Wednesday October 21st, 3-4.30pm
  3. Where are we, why are we not there rather than here? While conventional responses to the implications of climate change on urbanization centre on intensifying the density and self-sufficiencies of human settlements, contemporary urban processes now largely produce wide-spread unsettling. Across vast expanses of diverse landscapes, settlement is now increasingly provisional and taking place in wildly disparate built environment settings and regulatory conditions. This lecture explores the questions and issues raised by such recognitions, including the possibilities for abolishing the historical dependence upon anti-blackness and human-centrism that has established extinction as our common horizon. Wednesday November 4th, 3-4.30pm.

 We will confirm nearer the time whether the lectures will take place in the ICOSS building, University of Sheffield or online. If you would like to express an interest in attending, click here to register and further information will be sent in due course.