Skip to content

panel's content

Panel 23. South-North dialogues on urban Indigenous politics


  • Andrés F. Ramírez, Urban Planning, University of California Los Angeles
  • Matthew Caulkins, Universidad de Concepción Grupo de Estudios Interculturales
    Urbanos y Territoriales and Universidad de Concepción
  • Phillip Horn, senior lecturer, Urban Studies and Planning, University of Sheffield


Urban research and practice have historically ignored Indigenous people, space, and knowledge, in favor of narratives that exonerate cities from their violent colonial past –while also justifying ongoing processes of racial dispossession, displacement and death. Indeed, the modern city has long been considered antithetical to notions of Indigeneity that are thought to be rural, traditional, and even backwards. Indigenous urban communities challenge these misconceptions, demonstrating diverse ways that Indigenous people inhabit cities, stake political claims, and partake in the production of urban space.

However, the way Indigenous peoples are addressed by and contribute to urban politics remains heterogeneous and uneven. Theories of settler colonialism and Indigenous urbanism, emanating mainly from the Global North and South-East, describe systems of spatial segregation and racial banishment, as well as transformative expressions of Indigenous resurgence, decoloniality and futurity. While these critical frameworks adequately explain Indigenous urban struggles in some cases, they have so far not sufficiently engaged with debates on urban Indigeneity in Latin America and other geo-political settings in the Global South.

More attention therefore needs to be paid towards how Indigenous urban practices manifest differently across regions, in relation to urban policies and planning interventions. In the settler colonial Global North, Indigenous urban planning is emerging as a prominent field, largely within the state and its institutions. In Southern contexts, Indigenous urban practices often take place on insurgent grounds, relying on informal, oppositional, and creative strategies to create space and community from the grassroots.

This panel asks scholars, activists, artists and practitioners to engage with distinct forms of Indigenous urban practices. These practices may be located anywhere in the Global South and Global North, but we are invested in understanding interdependent forms of historical difference, as well as their ongoing global and local implications. Beyond contributions focusing on distinct geographical locations, we invite interpretations that conceptualize Indigenous urban practices “otherwise” – especially from Indigenous epistemes. Thinking “otherwise” and through South-North Dialogues, the panel embraces emerging theoretical and practical debates on urban politics that include Indigenous knowledge and priorities.

We invite papers that engage with the following questions:

  • How do different currents within urban theory explain and/ or obscure Indigenous urban practices in distinct geo-political contexts?
  • How do Indigenous epistemologies challenge or decolonize existing urban theoretical frameworks?
  • How do urban policies and planning interventions in the Global South and Global North include or exclude urban Indigenous knowledge and praxis?
  • How do informal, oppositional, and creative strategies introduced by Indigenous activists and grassroots collectives lay the groundwork for new conceptualizations of inclusive urban politics?

Centro de Estudios de Conflicto y Cohesión Social.

Diagonal Paraguay 257,
Torre 26, Oficina 1504
Santiago – RM

Los Navegantes 1963
Providencia – RM