Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Institut für Europäische Ethnologie

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Institut für Europäische Ethnologie | Das Institut | Institutskolloquium | Archiv | Sommersemester 2019 - The world/s at the ends of the city. Explorations in urban and environmental anthropology

Institutskolloquium im Sommersemester 2019



dienstags 14 - 16 Uhr c.t.
Hausvogteiplatz 5-7
10117 Berlin
Raum 0007



  • Die Veranstaltungen finden wechselnd auf Deutsch oder Englisch statt.
    Events will take place variously in German and English. 
  • Abendveranstaltungen finden von 18 - 20 Uhr statt.
    Evening events take place from 6-8pm.
  • Veranstaltungen mit einem * finden zu anderen Zeiten oder in anderen Räumlichkeiten statt. Bitte konsultieren Sie dazu das unten stehende Programm.
    Events with * will take place at deviant times, days or locations - Check the programme below


The world/s at the ends of the city.
Explorations in urban and environmental anthropology


What if the city was not a world in itself, but an interface to multiple, overlapping, often invisible and conflicting worldings? That is, more or less powerful, more or less precarious ways of composing urban ecologies that sustain–and impede–forms of life. But also, what if those worldings were the end of the city as we have come to know it to date? This departmental lecture series wishes to explore the world/s at the ends of the city, giving this term a twofold sense:

  • Firstly, the series pays attention to nonhuman worldly forces both shaping and challenging urban cohabitation. The challenges these forces bring with them lead us to explore the potential shape of an urban cosmopolitics in the Anthropocene. We are thus interested in understanding how organic and inorganic, geological, chemical and biological forces challenge our understanding of the city and the modes of operating in it.
  • Secondly, we want to zoom into critical and experimental ecologies of practices un-doing and re-doing the city at the edges of habitability. That is, social movements but also movements or, rather, displacements of the social be they reclaiming infrastructures, apprehending or appropriating urban ecologies. We aim to explore what it could mean to rethink urbanism, in its constructive and moral/citizenship dimensions, from different kinds of engagements of human and nonhuman others. We aim to make visible arts of survival, inquiry, and design that unfold in the ruins of the city as a modern project of social integration through infrastructural connection.

The departmental lecture series ‘the world/s at the ends of the city’ will thus shed light onto what an urban politics might involve in the face of disruptive irruptions of both nonhuman and unruly forces through the boundaries, thresholds and interstices of urban worlds: that is, the spaces where what we call ‘the city’ not topographically, but mainly ontologically, ends. Exploring these ends is critical, especially considering that while in policy worlds cities are increasingly targeted as a key site to achieve a sustainable future, many other critical voices suggest we should dismiss the city as a useful analytical and political category. In this context, it seems crucial to articulate the discussion about worldly forces at the ends of the city with the question of the ends (telos) of our inquiries and interventions in urban worlds. At stake are not just the conceptual apparatuses to decenter the city, but most prominently the necessary re-articulation of the epistemic politics of an urban and environmental anthropology.

Three interrelated avenues of disciplinary reflection might shape our conversation: How to follow and immerse ourselves in the life of urban biomes, bees, microclimates, tsunamis, so that we can represent and give a voice to such urban actors? How to learn from the methods invented by different urban ecologies of practices and collectives to know, represent, intervene and engage with unknown worldly forces? How to collaborate with scientists and artists in the production of in/commensurable accounts of the world/s at the end of the city?




  Titel Vortragende_r

9. April

NaturenKulturen: Denkräume und Werkzeuge für neue politische Ökologien - Book Launch

Michi Knecht / Katrin Amelang (Uni Bremen)

Commented by Tahani Nadim (MfN/HU Berlin)

16. April

Growing city surfaces: anthropology and the urban soil sciences

Germain Meulemans (EHESS, Paris)

23. April

The air as an end of the city?

Nerea Calvillo (CIM, Warwick)

30. April

Beyond Concrete: Imagination, Material Futures and Construction in Times of Ecological Crisis

Rachel Harkness (University of Edinburgh)

7. Mai

Integrating edible city solutions for socially resilient and sustainably productive cities

Ina Säumel (IRI THESys, HU Berlin)

14. Mai

Quer-denken – A cosmo-politics of urbanthropocene?

Anders Blok (University of Copenhagen) / Regina Römhild (HU Berlin) / Jörg Niewöhner (HU Berlin)

21. Mai

Ruderal City

Bettina Stoetzer (MIT)

28. Mai*

Violence and vigilance: on militarized sentience and phantasms of terror in Paris, France
Sondertermin: 6-8pm c.t.

Robert Desjarlais (Sarah Lawrence, NY)

4. Juni

The liberation of culture. Anthropology and after

Alberto Corsín Jiménez (CSIC, Madrid)

11. Juni

Low Tide: Submerged Humanism in a Colombian Port-City

Austin Zeiderman (LSE)

18. Juni

Re-imagining detoxification beyond the molecular register

Nick Shapiro (UCLA)

25. Juni

Quer-denken – Remaking the city: How to care?

Tomás Criado / Martina Klausner / Beate Binder (HU Berlin)

2. Juli*

Können wir Städte bauen? Für eine rekursive Anthropologie des Urbanismus
(inaugural lecture/Antrittsvorlesung)
Sondertermin: 6-8pm c.t. am IfEE, Raum 408

Ignacio Farías (HU Berlin)



Hinweis zur Barrierefreiheit

Wir bemühen uns um größtmögliche Barrierefreiheit. Der Zugang zum Gebäude ist rollstuhlgeeignet (Eingang Hausvogteiplatz durch den Hof, nächster U-Bahnhof mit Aufzug: Stadtmitte).