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Panel 25. The in-between as a site for urban theory: ‘Southern’ researchers, ‘Northern’ institutions, and transurban knowledge production


  • Afra Foli, PhD candidate in Urban Geography at the Amsterdam Institute for Social
    Science ResearchUniversity of Amsterdam
  • Carolina M. Frossard, PhD, Postdoctoral Researcher ‘The Human Factor in New
    Technology’ Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Dep. Human Geography,
    Planning & International Development StudiesUniversity of Amsterdam
  • Ceylin Idel, Ceylin is a PhD candidate in Urban Geography at the Amsterdam
    Institute for Social Science Research University of Amsterdam


The field of urban studies has for long accommodated critical questions on which cities serve as grounds for urban theory, and the power-laden means through which concepts travel between urban worlds. While transurban theoretical movements have been central in the postcolonial worlding of ordinary cities (Roy & Ong 2011, Robinson 2006), the mobilities of urban studies researchers have been largely kept out of the field’s engagement with the politics of knowledge production. Inspired by recent scholarship on academic migration that has dealt with labour precarity (Burlyuk & Rahbari 2023) and the politics of expertise (Musariri et al. 2023), this panel engages how the pendular South-North mobilities of researchers shape urban knowledge. Driven by our own experiences as ‘Southern’ researchers working on their countries and cities of origin from ‘Northern’ institutional contexts, we propose the in-between as an increasingly common standpoint. On one hand, persisting patterns of South-North academic migration serve as constant reminders of the asymmetries structuring the political economy of academic research and education. At the same time, however, our embodied mobilities and practices of translation across South-North reveal the limitations of thinking along the lines of these geographical and epistemic divides. How are Southern urbanisms shaped by distant and distinct institutional structures and demands? And how do Southern urbanists negotiate the contending commitments that shape their research practices? By posing these questions, we hope to open up the in-between as a relational position of encounter, which raises conceptual, methodological, and ethical questions. We welcome contributions interested in engaging and extending the in-between through themes that include but are not limited to:

  • (De)centering the canon of urban theory
  • Crossing and highlighting epistemic divides
  • What is lost and found in translation
  • Methodologies for transurban research
  • Writing and representing ‘far away’ urban contexts
  • Experiences of transurban mobility and belonging
  • Shifting tactics of politically engaged urban research
  • Negotiating ethical dilemmas at the in-between

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