International Researcher Saskia Sassen Talks About Urban Expansion and “Global Cities” at the AMQF

 

In cooperation with the International Academy of Art Palestine, the A. M. Qattan Foundation (AMQF) hosted Saskia Sassen, a renowned academic researcher. At the AMQF main office, Sassen delivered a lecture on Massive Loss of Habitat: Measured As "Development".

 

In her lecture, Sassen introduced a set of ideas  about the “global city” – a term she coined. These concepts have resulted in a new role of cities, which was not known before. Sassen also addressed the consequences of economic globalisation, capital, social structure, and the role of the state and authority in light of these new consequences across cities.

Sassen teaches sociology at the Columbia University, USA. Her extensive publications include research papers and books on globalisation and global migrations. Sassen received many significant awards.

 

 

Sassen showed interest in investigating the situation in Palestine, making clear that she still needed a strong bridge to do in-depth research on this situation. Commenting on the current context in Palestine, Sassen stated that “the Israeli policy will definitely not last long… Walls have not, and will not, be of any use at all. We do not need hope now. We need clarity.”

 

The AMQF Public Programme organises a series of lectures and encounters with a group of artists, academics and researchers from Palestine and abroad. These cover a variety of themes.

 

Yazid Anani, Director of the AMQF Public Programme, remarked: “It is important that we recognise the latest theories, details and manifestations of urban development and expansion around the world. We also need to link Saskia’s hypothesis to the projects we work on as well as to the Subcontracted Nations exhibition, currently under preparation. We will ask her to make a presentation in that exhibition.”

 

According to the Open Call for Subcontracted Nations, the exhibition attempts to unpack multi-layered questions on the contemporary issues of nations, political structures, neoliberal economy and societies by means of looking at the historical transformation of the concept the state, the state’s public service policies and various political forms which regulate the relation between the people and the state.

 

 

Anjad Hithnawi, a participant in the event, said that “the lecture draws attention to certain themes and questions that can be further researched.” Another participant, Dima Surouji, stated that “the idea of city management and how a city grows was so significant for me. This issue is not widely addressed here. The city of Ramallah is a significant example that can be the object of further research. Ramallah is of a specific nature and features many borders, which do not exist in any other place.”

 

In cooperation with the AMQF and International Academy of Art Palestine, the Architecture Department of Birzeit University also organised an encounter with Sassen. The encounter addresses transfer processes around the world, including complications and “brutality” in the modern age.