Mediating and Representing Slums I

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Urban Geography Specialty Group, Political Geography Specialty Group, Cultural Geography Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM (Eastern Standard Time)
Room: Napoleon, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 41st Floor
Organizers: Maxwell Woods, Jason Finch
Chairs: Maxwell Woods


The 2003 UN-HABITAT report, The Challenge of Slums, announced the continuing growth of the urban phenomena of slums, noting that by 2030 the global number of slum dwellers was predicted to increase to about 2 billion. This empirical discussion, however, is complicated by arguments that slums are myths, “constructions of the imagination” that respond to political tensions and struggles, rather than simply “neutrally” describing modern urban forms (Mayne 1993). Indeed, even if one accepts the UN’s statistical figures, this does not resolve the problem of how to mediate and represent the urban areas conceptualized as ‘slums’ and the effect and function of such mediations. This panel therefore seeks to investigate the function and effect of the mediation and representation of slums throughout the world. We seek papers and presentations from a diverse set of areas, languages, and time periods. A variety of methodological approaches would be welcomed, including but not limited to those offered by participants with backgrounds in fields such as human geography, cultural geography, urban history, literary studies, anthropology, sociology, and the history of art, architecture and design. We are interested in presentations from all geographical locations, with particular interest in presentations situated in the Asian and North American continents. Questions we are asking include (but are not limited to):

How are slums mediated, conceptualized, and represented in literary works, artwork, cinema, formal reports, planning documents, and news media?

What are the functions and effects of such mediations and representations?

How are slums being reconceptualized in the Anthropocene and/or the era of global climate change?

How do race, gender, and class participate in the mediation and representation of slums?

Can urban areas across time, space, and cultures be mediated through the concept of ‘slum,’ or should new modes of mediation be developed?

How does the history of the concept of the slum, including the history of the word ‘slum’ and related lexical items, affect an understanding of actual urban areas?

What becomes of the representations of slums in the era of planetary urbanization? Can we begin to speak not only of planetary urbanization but of the planet of slums (Davis 2006)?

We hope following a successful session to organize a special edition or collected volume on this subject. Interested participants are encouraged to contact the chairs Jason Finch ( and Maxwell Woods ( prior to submission of abstracts with any questions they may have. Abstracts of 300 words are due to Finch and Woods by October 25.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Maxwell Woods*, , Thinking the Slum of the Planet in Patrícia Galvão’s Industrial Park 20 8:00 AM
Presenter Paroj Banerjee*, London School of Economics, Beyond the ‘slum’ trope: Understanding the ‘global’ city through varied marginal living practices 20 8:20 AM
Presenter Shaun Teo*, University College London, Re-mediating the urban village: The Urbanism and Architecture Biennale @ Nantou Village, Shenzhen 20 8:40 AM
Discussant Jason Finch Åbo Akademi University 20 9:00 AM

To access contact information login