Lecture on Urbanicide

Why would anyone wish to destroy a city, and why are we so outraged when this happens? Brendan Humphreys's lecture on a distrust of the urban and the destruction of urban centres will be held in Porthania P219 on Friday, September 21 at 14.00 - 15.30!

The Department of Geosciences and Geography, the Aleksanteri Institute, and URBARIA (Helsinki Institute of Urban and Regional Studies) welcome you to a lecture as part of a series on urban geography:

Urbanicide: reflections on urban/rural dynamics in modern conflicts

Why would anyone wish to destroy a city, and why are we so outraged when this happens?

A distrust of the urban is a marked – if highly disconcerting and illogical – aspect of modern conflict. Certain extreme instances of this phenomenon can be called urbanicide, meaning the deliberate targeting and destruction of urban centres.

The paper deals with this phenomenon. It firstly looks at varying definitions, and makes an important distinction between functional unbanicide, and cultural urbanicide, although the latter is an imperfect expression.

Trying to explain cultural urbanicide is an elusive process, and forms the core topic here. The paper will trace patterns that seemingly connect the biblical and classical narratives (Jericho, Sodom and Gomorrah, and Carthage), with the actual horrors of Kampuchea and Bosnia in the late 20th century.

In doing so, urban/rural dynamics in various conflicts and contexts are examined, and the paper ends with a discussion on the increasingly-contested term genocide, which is often axiomatically attached to instances of urbanicide.

Time: September 21, 2018 at 14:00–15:30

Venue: Lehtisali P219 (2nd floor, Porthania), Yliopistonkatu 3, Helsinki

Click here to see the event on Facebook.