The field of global urban studies has seen renewed interest in comparisons. A “comparative gesture,” advocated by urban geographers such as Jennifer Robinson and others, has been influential in urban studies in the last decade. In this talk, Xuefei Ren discusses how urban studies can make a leap from a “comparative gesture” to theoretically engaged “structured comparison.” Drawing from her new book, Governing the Urban in China and India (Princeton University Press, 2020), she will discuss four methodological issues for launching structured urban comparisons—case selection, causality, historical analysis, and wider implications.
Xuefei Ren is a professor of sociology and global urban studies at Michigan State University. Her research focuses on urban governance, architecture, and the built environment in global perspective. She is the author of Governing the Urban in China and India: Land Grabs, Slum Clearance, and the War on Air Pollution (Princeton University Press, 2020), Urban China (Polity Press, 2013), and Building Globalization: Transnational Architecture Production in Urban China (University of Chicago Press, 2011). Her new project compares culture-led revitalization in rustbelt cities in China, Italy, and the U.S. She received her M.A. in urban planning from Tokyo Metropolitan University, and PhD in Sociology from the University of Chicago.
Presented by the Social Science Matrix Research Team, "The Asian City: New Models of City-Making."