Questioning Urban Diversities in the Persian Gulf and Beyond

Questioning Urban Diversities in the Persian Gulf and Beyond

Friday, March 1 / Andlinger Center, Meader Hall 103 / 9:30 am start

We intend to question Gulf cities’ cosmopolitanism, their transnational urbanism, the circulation of urban models (between the West and the East, as North American cities play a major role as sources of inspiration but also Singapore or Hong Kong). We will also explore the various processes of segregation and gentrification and compare with those of other urban contexts, trying to de-exceptionalize Gulf cities but at the same time, showing from case studies, that some concepts deeply embedded in American context, like segregation, may have here different meanings. Hence, we welcome the participation of scholars working on other contexts, and in particular on American cities, in order to see what the social sciences can learn from the Gulf.

Gathering geographers, historians, anthropologists, sociologists, urbanists, this workshop aims to explore the dynamics of coexistence, inclusion and exclusion in the cities of the two shores of the Gulf and to contribute to theoretical debates over various ways of experiencing and managing urban diversity in other “global cities”, belonging both to integrative and non-integrative contexts.

Encouraging cross-disciplinary exchange, this workshop provides opportunity to foster a comparative approach between American cities and Gulf cities, going beyond the traditional divide between western and non-western cities. The aim of Sharmin and Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies at Princeton University is to support teaching and research on all aspects of Iran and Persian Gulf studies and to create and support productive and innovative connections across universities and departments. The workshop is sponsored and organized by: AMIN MOGHADAM, Sharmin and Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies; DELPHINE PAGES-EL KAROUI, INALCO, National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilisations/ Paris Sorbonne Cité University; and AARON SHKUDA, Princeton Mellon Initiative in Architecture, Urbanism & the Humanities. 

9:30 - 10 Breakfast

10-10:15 Introduction by Michael Cook, Acting Director of Iran Center

10:15-10:45 Keynote: Joseph Heathcott, Associate Professor of Urban Studies and Design, The New School / Searching for Cosmopolis: Living Together, Apart

10:45-12:45 PANEL 1. Historicizing & Mapping Urban Diversity in the Gulf
Discussant: Harvey Molotch, NYU

Arang Keshavarzian, NYU: Between Port Cities, Company Towns, and Globalizing Cities: Thoughts on the relative absence of Gulf Urbanism in the 1950s-1980s
Kaveh Ehsani, DePaul: Militant Particularism in Oil Cities: Class, Labor, and Urban Activism in Abadan
Yasser Elsheshtawy, Columbia: Delphine Pagès-El Karoui (INALCO/USPC), Mapping Logics of Segregation in Dubai
Azam Khatam, York University: From Company Towns to Oil Labor Camps: Iran’s Counter Branding in Gulf’s Urbanism

12:45 - 1:45 Lunch

1:45-3:15 PANEL 2. Transnational Networks and Politics of Belonging
Discussant: Noam Shoked, Princeton Mellon Fellow

Lindsey Stephenson, Princeton: Capitalism, Colonialism, and the Crisis of Cosmopolitanismin the Early 20th Century Gulf
Aurelie Varrel, CNRS Centre for South Asian Studies, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales: Living In Dubai, Having Property in Bangalore: Transnational Property Dynamics of the Global City
Laure Assaf, New York University in Abu Dhabi: Building a Cosmopolitan Locality in Abu Dhabi: An Ethnography of the Arab Youth

3:15 Coffee Break

3:45-5:15 PANEL 3. Arts and Cultural Entrepreneurship in the City 
Discussant: Talinn Grigor, UC Davis University Visiting Scholar at Princeton Center for Iran and Persian Gulf Studies
Sarina Wakefield, Independent Researcher, United Arab Emirates: The Cosmopolitan ‘Container’: The Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum as a Site of Transnational Connection and Disconnection
Aaron Shkuda, Princeton Mellon Initiative: SoMan?: The Legacy of New York’s SoHo in Contemporary Gulf Cities
Amin Moghadam, Princeton: The Art Milieus in Dubai and the Shaping of the Cosmo-Nationalist Man