Urbanization in the Global Cold War: Thinking the Third World through the Second World
Urban knowledge production in hegemonic Western centers is characterized today by a double bind: the call for a diversification of this knowledge beyond normative Western concepts is paralleled by a systematic erasure of such diversity as it actually existed in the second half of 20th century. However, the focus of a number of schools of architecture in postcolonial and post-dependence countries in the 1960s and 1970s, including Kumasi (Ghana), Zaria (Nigeria), Constantine (Algeria) and Baghdad (Iraq), shows a real diversification of knowledge about urbanization processes beyond its unilateral flow from Western (colonial) metropoles.
Benefiting from the multiplicity of the global networks of solidarity during the Cold War, which were not restricted to the dichotomy between socialist and capitalist countries but included a variety of “Third-Worldist” projects, these sites became centers where competing concepts, methodologies and epistemic frameworks were debated, tested and developed. These diversified ecologies of urban knowledge were buried in the rubble of the Berlin Wall and devaluated as ‘ideological’ according to Western Cold War discourse.
By drawing on archival materials from West Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe, Łukasz Stanek revisits these ecologies in order to rethink urbanization since the Cold War beyond Cold War categories.
About the speaker
Stanek is a senior lecturer in architecture at the University of Manchester, England, and a visiting associate professor of architecture at the University of Michigan. He is the author of Henri Lefebvre on Space: Architecture, Urban Research, and the Production of Theory (2011) and editor of Lefebvre’s book Toward an Architecture of Enjoyment (2014). His new book, Architecture in Global Socialism. Eastern Europe, West Africa, and the Middle East in the Cold War, will be published by Princeton University Press in 2019.
Stanek previously taught at ETH Zurich and Harvard University Graduate School of Design. He received fellowships at the Jan van Eyck Academie (Maastricht, the Netherlands), the Institut d’Urbanisme de Paris, the Canadian Center for Architecture (Montreal, Canada) and the Center for Advanced Study in Visual Arts (CASVA) at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, where he was the 2011-2013 A. W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow. He holds a PhD from the Delft University of Technology.