On African Urbanism(s)

On African Urbanism(s)

A two-part series organized by Princeton Mellon Fellows Devanne Brookins and Halimat Somotan. Co-sponsored by the Program in African Studies.

The series will explore the African urban condition through engaging a variety of dimensions and sites, seeking to deepen our understanding of essential characteristics of African cities including patterns of city formation and logics of place-making. Key dimensions under consideration are time – temporality and the dual presence of past and future in the production of the city; scale – the differentiation of the neighborhood, city, and metropolitan areas; and space – the intersections of territory, values and contestation. These dimensions implicate the role of architects, planners and developers in constructing representations of space that can be exclusionary, emancipatory or elusive. Threaded throughout these conversations is the human dimension, or the experience of urbanism, how individuals and communities navigate urbanscapes to survive, belong and create the city for themselves. 

Part 1: February 17 and March 10



Comparative Conceptualizations of Time in Nairobi and Lagos

Wednesday, March 10, 12pm EST

  • Bettina Ng’weno, UC Davis

  • Chrystel Oloukoï, Harvard 

  • Mamadou Diouf, Columbia

To register: https://princeton.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_dyRkBGo2Tl2HsRPbrPO4yA

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

How do the alternative constructions of – Afrofuturism and Afro Pessimism – confound linear time evidenced in African philosophy, literature, music, and film? How do these constructions intersect with everyday urbanism? Focusing on Nairobi and Lagos, this session will explore the imaginations and reconceptualization of time experienced by urbanites. Our panelists will consider how age, class, race, and gender shape the making of new temporalities in African cities. They will also unpack the socio-political and economic factors that have shaped how urban Africans produce new meanings of time. 

(Nda) The Twin Mask: Place-making in space and time

Wednesday, February 17, 12pm EST

  • Issa Diabate, Koffi & Diabaté Group

  • Mamy Tall, WEEX TALL  

  • Devanne Brookins, Princeton Mellon Fellow 

How is dualism conceptualized and reflected in processes of placemaking in African cities? This session will explore this question in two cities, Abidjan and Dakar, engaging how the past and future as temporal dimensions are represented and materialized in space through the built environment. Through the perspectives of place-makers, the discussion will also engage the dual city, one where spatial dynamics of fragmentation and segregation embedded in the colonial period are often reproduced in contemporary interventions.