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Preparatory Coursework
Visionaries Conference
Just Jerusalem Competition

Preparatory Coursework

In preparation for the Just Jerusalem Competition a number of academic initiatives were organized at MIT including a graduate course entitled "City Visions: Past and Future," and a seminar series. They are listed below:


The Cities Against Nationalism: Urbanism as Visionary Politics speaker series was held in the Spring of 2004. This weekly seminar series brought a variety of different speakers to MIT to discuss issues relating to the politics of modern life in contested urban spaces.

March 1
"Urban Governance and the Production of New State Spaces: Western Europe, 1960-2000"

Presentation by Neil Brenner, New York University
Professor Brenner is Associate Professor of Sociology, Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science in 1999 from the University of Chicago. His research interests include: Urban sociology, urban political economy and urban theory; political sociology, state theory and political geography; comparative European and North American urban, suburban and regional development; comparative capitalisms; critical social/spatial theory; globalization studies.


March 8
"Urban Utopias"

Presentation by David Harvey, CUNY Graduate Center
David Harvey, is a leading theorist in the field of urban studies whom Library Journal called "one of the most influential geographers of the later twentieth century," earned his Ph.D. from Cambridge University, was formerly professor of geography at Johns Hopkins, a Miliband Fellow at the London School of Economics, and Halford Mackinder Professor of Geography at Oxford. His reflections on the importance of space and place (and more recently "nature") have attracted considerable attention across the humanities and social sciences. His highly influential books include The New Imperialism; Paris, Capital of Modernity; Social Justice and the City; Limits to Capital; The Urbanization of Capital; The Condition of Postmodernity; Justice, Nature, and the Geography of Difference; Spaces of Hope; and Spaces of Capital: Towards a Critical Geography. His numerous awards include the Outstanding Contributor Award of the Association of American Geographers and the 2002 Centenary Medal of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society for his "outstanding contribution to the field of geographical enquiry and to anthropology." He holds honorary degrees from the universities of Buenos Aires, Roskilde in Denmark, Uppsala in Sweden, and Ohio State University.


March 15
"Contested Cities: Conflict and Co-existence in Bosnia, Kashmir, and Northern Ireland"

Presentation by Professor Sumantra Bose, London School of Economics
Sumantra Bose is a specialist in the politics of sovereignty and self-determination conflicts and the daunting challenge of devising solutions to such intractable disputes. His expertise spans South Asia and Southeastern Europe, and he has published acclaimed books on Kashmir, Sri Lanka and Bosnia. He has a particular interest in peace processes and in the role of international intervention in the negotiation and implementation of peace settlements. His next book (forthcoming, late 2006, Harvard University Press), is Contested Lands: Israel-Palestine, Kashmir, Bosnia, Cyprus and Sri Lanka. Bose is also interested in a wide range of issues and debates in comparative politics and international relations, and in politics in contemporary India.


March 29
"Uniting a Divided City: Post-apartheid Johannesburg"

Presentation by Professor Jo Beall, London School of Economics
Professor Jo Beall is a specialist on development policy and management, with expertise on urban social development and urban governance. Other interests include gender, social policy and international development, social exclusion and local responses to crisis and conflict. She has conducted extensive research in Southern Africa and South Asia and has advised and consulted for a range of international development agencies, national governments and non-governmental organizations.


April 5
"Iconic Architecture and Global Cities"

Presentation by Leslie Sklair, London School of Economics
Leslie Sklair is Professor Emeritus in Sociology at LSE. He received his PhD from LSE, and his thesis, Sociology of Progress, was published by Routledge in 1970 and was then translated into German. In 1973 he published Organized Knowledge: Sociological View of Science and Technology (which was translated into Spanish). In the 1980s he carried out field research on the developmental impacts of foreign investment in Ireland, Egypt and (more intensively) China and Mexico. He published Assembling for Development: the Maquila Industry in Mexico and the United States in 1989, with a second updated edition in 1993. These works provided the material basis for Sociology of the Global System (published 1991, second updated edition in 1995, translated into Portuguese, Japanese, Persian and Chinese). A third edition completely revised and updated, of this book, Globalization: capitalism and its alternatives, was published by OUP in 2002, and Portuguese and Chinese translation are forthcoming. His book The Transnational Capitalist Class (2001) is now in Chinese.


April 12
"Cities as Spaces for Democracy"

Presentation by Professor Richard Sennett, London School of Economics
Richard Sennett is Professor of Sociology at the LSE and Bemis Professor of Social Sciences at MIT. In the school, he teaches in the Cities Programme and trains doctoral students in the sociology of culture. His three most recent books are studies of modern capitalism: The Culture of the New Capitalism, (Yale, 2006), Respect in an Age of Inequality, (Penguin, 2003) and The Corrosion of Character, (Norton 1998). He is currently writing a book on craftmanship. Professor Sennett has been awarded the Amalfi and the Ebert prizes for sociology. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Society of Literature, the Royal Society of the Arts, and the Academia Europea. He is past president of the American Council on Work and the former Director of the New York Institute for the Humanities.


April 26
"Identity and National Conflict"

Presentation by Professor Jonathan Glover, Kings College London
Professor of ethics at King's College, University of London, Jonathan Glover also serves as the director of the Center for Medical Law and Ethics. In that role, he guides the center's teaching, research, and discussion of law and ethics in relation to medicine and health care. He currently is working on ethical issues in psychiatry and questions raised by the Human Genome Project.

Dr. Glover is the author of several books on ethics, including Causing Death and Saving Lives and an investigation of evil, entitled Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century. He chaired a European Commission Working Party on Assisted Reproduction, which produced Ethics of New Reproductive Technologies: the Glover Report to the European Commission. For many years, he was a Fellow of New College at Oxford University.


May 3
"The Global and the Local in Jerusalem"

Presentation by Professor Bruce Mazlish, MIT
Bruce Mazlish, Professor of History, received his Ph.D. from Columbia University. Professor Mazlish's areas of interest and expertise are Western intellectual and cultural history, with a special nod to history of science and technology, the culture of capitalism, and history of the social sciences. He is also an authority in the interdisciplinary field of
psychohistory as well as historical methodology; most recently he has spearheaded an effort to conceptualize global history (editing a volume by that name which appeared in 1993). His most recent publications are: Leviathans: Multinational Corporations and The New Global History, co-edited with Alfred D. Chandler, Jr., The Uncertain Sciences, The Fourth Discontinuity. The Co-Evolution of Humans and Machines, and A New Science: The Breakdown of Connections and the Birth of Sociology. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1986 he was awarded the Toynbee Prize, an international award in social science.


May 10
"Cities as Agents of Peace"

Presentation by Johan Galtung, University of Oslo
JOHAN GALTUNG is founder and Director of TRANSCEND - A Peace and Development Network for Conflict Transformation by Peaceful Means, with more than 300 members from over 80 countries around the world and Rector of TRANSCEND Peace University (TPU). An experienced peace worker and Professor of Peace Studies, he is widely regarded as the founder of the academic discipline of peace research and one of the leading pioneers of peace and conflict transformation in theory and practice. He has played an active role in helping mediate and prevent violence in 45 major conflicts around the world over the past four decades, and is author of the United Nations' first ever manual for trainers and participants on "Conflict Transformation by Peaceful Means: The TRANSCEND Approach" (UNDP 2000). He has taught Peace Studies at the Universities of Hawai'i, Witten/Herdecke, Tromsoe, Alicante, Ritsumeikan and the European Peace University, among many others. Galtung established the Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO) in 1959, the Journal of Peace Research in 1964, and co-launched the Nordic Institute for Peace Research (NIFF) in 2000.



This class introduces students to understandings of the city generated from both social science literature and the field of urban design. The first part of the course examines literature on the history and theory of the city. Among other factors, it pays special attention to the larger territorial settings in which cities emerged and developed (ranging from the global to the national to the regional context) and how these affected the nature, character, and functioning of cities and the lives of their inhabitants. The remaining weeks focus more explicitly on the theory and practice of design visions for the city, the latter in both utopian and realized form. One of our aims will be to assess the conditions under which a variety of design visions were conceived, and to assess them in terms of the varying patterns of territorial "nestedness" (local, regional, national, imperial, and global) examined in the first part of the course. Another will be to encourage students to think about the future prospects of cities (in terms of territorial context or other political functions and social aims) and to offer design visions that might reflect these new dynamics.