Edward W Soja Lecture

Edward W Soja lecture at Greenwich University
Monday 18th November 2013 – 6pm
Maritime Campus, King William Building KW315

Edward W. Soja is distinguished Professor (Emeritus) of Urban Planning at UCLA. He is the author of Postmodern Geographies (1989; new Verso edition), Thirdspace (1996), Postmetropolis (2000), Seeking Spatial Justice (2010) and most recently My Los Angeles, forthcoming in 2014 from University of California Press.

In Thirdspace, Soja reached beyond dualism to describe a theory in which “everything comes together… subjectivity and objectivity, the abstract and the concrete, the real and the imagined, the knowable and the unimaginable, the repetitive and the differential, structure and agency, mind and body, consciousness and the unconscious, the disciplined and the transdisciplinary, everyday life and unending history.” (Thirdspace, 1996)

in an article for the Journal of Literary Theory by Kathrin Winkler, Kim Seifert and Heinrich Detering titled “Literary Studies and the Spatial Turn” [JLT 6/1 (2012)], we read:

“The term “spatial turn” was introduced by the human geographer Edward W. Soja, who used it in the mid-nineties to call for greater attention to be given to the category of space, which he believed had been neglected. […]This article draws on Edward W. Soja’s concept of a thirdspace in arguing for real and imagined spaces to be brought together. In his concept of space, Soja turns to ideas of the French sociologist Henri Lefebvre, in whose model of space the separation of physical from mental space is set aside. On this basis, Soja identifies the perspectives of physical space alone (Soja’s firstspace) and mental space alone (Soja’s secondspace) as illusory truncations, for in neither case is the other and necessarily complementary aspect included. For Soja, space must be understood as simultaneously real and imagined (Soja’s thirdspace), for it always represents a link between physical, geographical spaces and mental, cultural constructions of space. Soja, a human geographer, is perfectly explicit about the fact that his concept of thirdspace is addressed not only at geography and other disciplines that are concerned by definition with geographical space, but at all disciplines that engage with spatiality as part of the spatial turn. ”

full abstract can be found here


about the lecture: “Urban restructuring over the past thirty years has been leading to a sea change in the very nature of the urbanization process. Signs of this change were recognized long ago in such terms as edge cities, outer cities, peripheral urbanization, boomburbs and metroburbia. But few realized that what was happening represented the end of the modern metropolis, the urbanization of suburbia, and the emergence of a very new urban form and way of life. This shift is what is behind such new terms as regional urbanization, city regions, regional cities, megacity regions, megaregions, and such notions as the urbanization of the world and planetary urbanism. This lecture will provide a detailed look at the regional urbanization process as it develops at several different scales.”

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