European University Institute, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies,

Florence, Italy
20-22 March 2019

Over the last thirty years, a notable strand of research has focused on global cities: late-modern versions of city-states that construct global profiles, often bypassing any sense of nationhood, and which are characterized by the contemporaneous presence of local/global elites and a low-paid (and often migrant) service class that is indispensable for the city to function. But major centres of socioeconomic and cultural power are clearly emerging outside the West in our current multi-polar and highly dynamic geopolitical and cultural landscape. New scholarship calls into question the “global cities” model and calls our attention to how cities in Asia and Africa are constructing their own relation to the world. This new scholarship emphasises the role of culture, religion, and knowledge circulation rather than focusing primarily on economic and financial life as did earlier approaches.

This international conference focuses on cities that are emerging (or striving to emerge) as regional centres of power in the Global South. We focus on capital cities and major urban centres in Asian, African, and Latin American countries at different stages of the nation building process. We ask what terms like “urban,” “diversity,” and “cultural pluralism,” actually mean in these contexts.

The conference includes selected speakers that will cover some of these cases but we also invite interested researchers to submit a paper proposal (1000 words) outlining the scope of the paper, its methodology and its (expected) results, along with a short biographical note (500 words) to: and by 25 September 2018.

We are interested in papers that explore individual or comparative case studies of cities in the global south and which critically engage with cultural policy and cultural pluralism at the urban scale. Selected participants will be notified by mid-late October 2018. We have a limited number of travel grants to cover for the participation of scholars from countries outside Europe and North America.

For further information, please consult website: the


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