This is a blog recording the announcements that are sent out on the CASCA listserv.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

CASCA: Conferences, Calls for Papers, Events/Colloques, Appels à communication, Évènements

Conferences and calls for papers/Colloques et Appels à communication:

Les colloques et appels à communication suivants viennent d'être ajoutés à
notre page web:

The following conference announcements and calls for papers have just been
added to our web page:

-CFP - Spring/Summer 2015 issue of The Postcolonialist

-Australian National Conference (AAS) - December, 2015

-CFP - Consuming Intimacies: Bodies, Labour, Care, and Social Justice
- Brock University, October 2015

-Call For Papers: Intersectional Approaches to Surveillance - Queen's
University, June 2015

-Beyond the 49th Parallel: Canada and the North – Issues and
Challenges: Conference of the Central European Association for
Canadian Studies - October 2015, Zagreb, Croatia

-Call For Proposals: "Mapping Nations, Locating Citizens" An
interdisciplinary conference on nationalism and identity - October
2015, Humber College

-Call for Papers & Participation: Engaging Boredom Symposium @ Queen's
University, April 2015

See them and others on our website:

Consultez-les ou voyez toute la liste en visitant notre site web:


Symposium - After Empirical Urbanism
February 27 - March 1, 2015

Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design
University of Toronto
Room 103, 230 College Street
This symposium is free and open to the public, no registration is required.
You are here

After Empirical Urbanism

Friday, February 27, 2015 - 1:30pm to Sunday, March 1, 2015 - 7:00pm
Room 103, 230 College Street
This symposium is free and open to the public, no registration is required.

A new empirical urbanism has emerged over the past two generations,
drawing habits of mind and methods of observation from the natural and
social sciences, and making use of emerging forms of statistical and
visual analysis. Such practices take observation, systematic
documentation, and artful analysis of the city, as given, as a
precondition to any designed intervention. For our purposes Empirical
Urbanism is a framework for revealing the sometimes hidden
philosophical assumptions, and design alibis among a diverse group of
urban theories and practices that, while often thought to represent
opposing ideologies, share an empirical approach.

This symposium will interrogate this trend, asking how urbanism as an
art and a set of practices may gain from more explicitly deciphering
the relationship between the ways we characterize the past and present
city, and how we go about projecting alternate futures for it. Our
title notwithstanding, we do not imagine an end to empirical urban
research. Rather, the discussion and debates we hope to sponsor have
the aim of repositioning observation-based practice, and airing new
approaches to seeing and designing the city.

Visit the After Empirical Urbanism symposium website.


Friday, February 27

1:30 PM: Introduction

2:00 PM: Carto Graphics
Jill Desimini, Harvard Graduate School of Design
Jesse LeCavalier, New Jersey Institute of Technology
Sarah Williams, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Moderator: Mason White, Daniels Faculty

Ian McHarg's Design With Nature broadened the scope of the design
disciplines to address the regional scale and exerted great influence
in the development and application of Geographic Information Systems
(GIS). McHarg developed a mapping technique that represented
different, and competing urban and environmental forces with a series
of separate drawings, and then layered these readings to create a
synthetic view. The composite overlay, it was argued, provided an
objective reading of a combined built and natural environment and the
necessary evidence to support unbiased decision-making processes,
including design.

Most maps are a register of data, and as such, give the appearance of
representing fact. However, mapping is in part a process of filtering
and selection that can shape information. As Mark Monmonier notes,
maps can become ideological symbols and powerful tools for effecting
public opinion. Seemingly banal decisions about how to crop, orient or
color a map can conceal intentions and effect how information is
perceived. In this way maps perform as rhetorical devices where
aesthetic license can matter as much as the data and facts used to
make them.

These seemingly conflicting qualities of maps – performing as both
objective and subjective representations – have led historians to
study their power as political tools for affecting debate. Following
this trend, scholars explore the 'fictional status' of maps and their
potential to construct new realities. Practitioners are increasingly
using mapping techniques not only to portray existing conditions but
also to project - and convince a public - of possible outcomes. This
panel will explore the selective methods and persuasive techniques of
visualizing urban information, and question the value and shortcoming
of an artful medium that carries the force of numeric fact.

3:45 - 4:00 PM: Break

4:00 PM: The Bias of Data
Mona El Khafif, University of Waterloo
Dietmar Offenhuber, Northeastern University
Mark Shepard, University at Buffalo
Moderator: Ultan Byrne, Daniels Faculty

With The Social Logic of Space (1984), Bill Hillier and Julienne
Hanson began developing "space syntax" as one means of mathematically
describing urban conditions. Carlo Ratti and others have recently
drawn attention to the limitations and biases of this method –
focusing specifically on the reductive character of the model relative
to the actual complexity of the built form and social geography of
cities. This has led some practitioners to develop alternative, more
comprehensive models which are driven by combinations of static and
real-time "big data" sources. Others have sought to supplement such
empirical data with interfaces for participation, establishing new
models of civic engagement in urban design processes.

Meanwhile, historians have contributed broader critiques to this whole
field of study, by positioning concepts such as "data" and "interface"
within a much longer historical arc of intellectual and technological
developments. Theorists, for their part, have begun to question the
political and legal implications of these data sets, interfaces, and
algorithms. Such critiques have raised questions about the
subjectivity involved in curating data, the implications of
algorithmically-based modes of parsing and interpreting information,
and the effect that chosen representational techniques have on the
translation of data. This panel brings together practitioners
(programmers, urbanists, media artists) with theorists and historians
to debate the status of data – in its various forms and sources – in
urban analysis and design.​

Saturday, February 28

10:30 AM: Leveraging the Marketplace
Robert Bruegmann, University of Illinois at Chicago
McLain Clutter, University of Michigan
Tim Love, Northeastern University
Roger Sherman, University of California
Moderator: Robert Levit, Daniels Faculty

Robert Moses' projects in New York City - an expansive network of
roads and "urban renewal" - were an exercise in highly controlled
centralized planning. In this context, Jane Jacobs' role in defeating
the proposed Lower Manhattan Expressway, and thwarting Moses, was as
much an indication of the rise of libertarian politics as it was an
expression of community activism. In Death and Life of the Great
American City, Jacobs elevates the seemingly unplanned, accretive,
transactional spaces of the 19th century mercantile city as an ideal.

Jacobs' writing and activism popularized the idea of self-organization
within the discipline. Urbanists, in turn, have studied unplanned
settlements in places such as Africa or South America, and the
dispersed spaces of apparently unregulated, market-based North
American cities like Atlanta and Houston. From these studies,
practitioners have sought to extract lessons or mimic conditions. Rem
Koolhaas, for example, draws his theory of bigness from the airports
and malls he observes proliferating in the liberalized global economy.
Critics have described projects akin to OMA's "extra" large buildings
as an effort to engage the unregulated context of market driven
urbanization, but seem to be uncertain, or unwilling to speculate on
the broader implications of such an approach to architecture and

Over the past decade a group of scholars have advocated for an
architectural practice that engages market forces without "giving in"
to them. Some practitioners have taken this argument as a call to
openly embrace development in order to actively participate in the
production of cities. Others see the potential for leveraging such
engagement as a means to achieve some form of public good. With this
panel we hope to gather critiques and stories about working with or
within the marketplace, and to debate the role design plays in
imagining, and changing the course of market-driven urbanization.

12:30 - 1:30 PM: Break

1:30 PM: Fictions of the Ordinary
Tobias Armborst, Vassar College
Marshall Brown, Illinois Institute of Technology
Alex Lehnerer, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule
Moderator: Michael Piper, Daniels Faculty

Robert Venturi and Denise Scott-Brown presented their studies of Las
Vegas and Levittown as an effort to "withhold judgement" of the
commercially produced American city to identify new potential in a
very particular, ordinary, everyday urbanism. Through both their
analysis and design proposals, they sought to demonstrate how the
architecture of the strip and subdivision could perform as a system of
communication: engaging popular sentiment and the new subjectivities
produced by the widespread use of the automobile. Proponents of
'Everyday Urbanism' have continued to "look at the city", finding –
for example – expressions of public life within the quotidian
commercial space of garage sales and street vending in Los Angeles.
Incorporating technics from ethnography and other fields of research,
these urbanists have opened up a broad spectrum of the built
environment to study. Yet, the very choice of which particular
as-found conditions to focus on – and their curation for analysis –
constitutes a mode of judgment, or a critical lens.

Recently scholars have developed analytical techniques that more
explicitly reframe the ordinary through the subjectivity of such
lenses. Some urbanists create fictional narratives of existing
everyday space, while others locate alternative urban visions within
popular media. Amongst practitioners, some have developed design
methods that exaggerate the ordinary as a method of invention. For
this Panel, we are seeking to present work in this field and to turn a
critical eye toward the problems and potentials of accepting fiction
as an operative aspect of analysis and story telling as a mode of

3:30 - 3:45 PM: Break

3:45 PM: The Use and Misuse of History
George Baird, Daniels Faculty
Eve Blau, Harvard Graduate School of Design
Margaret Crawford, University of California
Kazys Varnelis, Columbia University
Moderator: Richard Sommer, Daniels Faculty

In the latter half of the twentieth century, a number of influential
urbanists and architects used historical models, and the idea of
precedent, to challenge the utilitarian basis of functionalist
planning. Influenced by a European debate in the 1960's between
advocates of structuralism and phenomenology, Aldo Rossi introduced
the idea of the "urban artifact", recasting the city as a cultural
product. In North America, theorists and practitioners investigated
historical precedents of various urban fabrics, posing them as an
alternative to the putatively a-contextual, object qualities of Modern
Architecture. J.L. Sert's humanism and Colin Rowe's contextual
formalism, both appropriated the spatial and civic qualities of the
preindustrial city as a basis for the emergent practice of urban design.

Amidst political and economic transitions in the 1970s, urbanists
would also freight history with an ideological purpose. Colin Rowe and
Fred Koetter's Collage City (1978) and Rob Krier's Urban Space (1977)
legitimized the use of older models of compact urban form as the
counter to a "sprawling" condition they attributed to capitalist
urbanization. With a less explicitly political motivation, New
Urbanists adopted the gridiron American city of early
industrialization, as empirical evidence of good city form that could
be transformed and re-applied to reform a dispersed suburbia.

After a lag among the most recent generation, a perhaps new use of
history seems to have emerged. The work of architect-educators such as
Pier Vittorio Aureli at the AA in London, and Christ and Gantembein at
the ETH in Zurich, have reasserted history as field to establish an
urban architecture in between political engagement and disciplinary
autonomy. In the light of these more recent experiences, this panel
will explore history and precedent as source of inspiration and
legitimacy to engage, or escape from, the complexity of the
contemporary city.

5:45 PM: Closing Remarks

6:30 PM: Reception in front lobby

Sunday, March 1

10:30 AM: Guest speaker - Graeme Stewart

11:00 AM: Student presentations

11:45 AM: Round table discussion

12:30 PM: Break

1:30 PM: Guest speaker - Alexander Eisenschmidt

2:00 PM: Student Presentations

2:45 PM: Round Table Discussion

3:30 PM: Closing Remarks

Upcoming Talk

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
Islands of Decolonial Love: Exploring Love on Occupied Land.

6:00-8:00pm, March 4, 2015
Women & Gender Studies Institute
Bahen Centre for Information Technology
40 St George Street,
University of Toronto

International Women's Day Lecture
Open to the Public

Upcoming Talk and Documentary Screening "Salute"

Talk by Dr. John Carlos
Screening of the documentary Salute
Monday, March 2, 6:30 pm: talk by Dr. John Carlos / 7:15 pm: film screening
Innis Town Hall, 2 Sussex Avenue

Details: The story of Australian Peter Norman and his alliance with
Tommie Smith and John Carlos, the 1968 African-American 200m Olympic
medalists who raised their gloved fists in protest for human rights.

Prior to the film screening, The University of Toronto is pleased to
present Dr. John Carlos to recount, in his own words, his journey to
the black power salute at the '68 Olympics and beyond in a scheduled
talk and screening of the film Salute, The story behind the image.

Dr. John Carlos is an African American former track and field athlete
and professional football player, and a founding member of the Olympic
Project for Human Rights. He won the bronze-medal in the 200 meters
race at the 1968 Summer Olympics, where his Black Power salute on the
podium with Tommie Smith caused much political controversy. He went on
to equal the world record in the 100 yard dash and beat the 200 meters
world record. After his track career, he enjoyed brief stints in the
National Football League and Canadian Football League but retired due
to injury. He became involved with the United States Olympic Committee
and helped to organize the 1984 Summer Olympics. He later became a
track coach at a high school in Palm Springs, where he now resides. He
was inducted into the USA Track & Field Hall of Fame in 2003.

When: Mon., March 2, 6:30 pm: talk by Dr. John Carlos / 7:15 pm: film
Where: Innis Town Hall, 2 Sussex Avenue
Cost: Free / Seating is limited, arrive early

Panel discussion and Q&A to follow the screening.

Presented in partnership with the Equity Studies Students Union, the
Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, the Anti-Racism and
Cultural Diversity Office and the Multi Faith Centre for Spiritual Study

Go here for more information on the Conscious Activism Documentary Series:

Conscious Activism Film Series

Hart House
University of Toronto

Hart House continues its tradition of free programming that engages
the mind, awakens the spirit and acts as an incubator of thoughtful
exchange, and a call to action for the curious and the concerned.

Born of a desire to address injustice, each documentary we screen is
an exploration of the complex relationship between social justice,
spirit and activism. This semester's screenings follow our model of
showing award-winning documentaries that represent a diverse landscape
spanning local, national, and global issues of social justice, and
giving audiences the opportunity to engage the filmmakers and
activists involved.

Upcoming Screenings:
February 23, 2015 – F(l)ag Football / Sports, Equity & the Pan Am Games
March 2, 2015 – Salute (Innis Town Hall) / Sports, Equity & the Pan Am Games
March 9, 2015 – The Yes Men are Revolting
March 17, 2015 – Just Eat It

Thank you/Merci

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