The enduring relevance of the Chicago School of Sociology for contemporary Urban Studies

16Mar2017 17Mar2017 09:00


This two day workshop will consider the enduring relevance or irrelevance of the historic Chicago School of Sociology for contemporary urban research.

Chicago School of Sociology

The emergence of the Chicago School at the beginning of the 20th century is considered to have marked the foundation of a systematic urban studies, but is often decried as having been ethno-, phallo-, and race-centric, particularly within contemporary geographical debates about the need for a “Southern urbanism”. Recent research has however problematized this particular representation, highlighting how the CSS can in many ways be considered the first global urbanists, and how many of their theories and methodological approaches continue to have widespread purchase today.


Seen from this perspective, and also explicitly acknowledging the fact that academic endeavour always “stands on the shoulders of giants”, this workshop will explore how and why the CSS might have continuing relevance to contemporary urban studies from an epistemological, conceptual, and empirical point of view. It will do so by juxtaposing work by CSS scholars with contemporary urban research that is taking place in both Northern and Southern cities. More specifically, workshop participants will each be asked to consider the enduring relevance or irrelevance of a classic CSS monograph on a topic relating to their own research.


The participants include a mix of University of Amsterdam urban researchers from different disciplines (Hein de Haas, Rivke Jaffe, Jan Rath, Dennis Rodgers, Nanke Verloo), as well as external scholars (Javier Auyero, Caity Collins, Katie Jensen, Gareth A. Jones, Jennifer Robinson, Julie Ren, Ola Söderström). Members of the University of Amsterdam’s Centre for Urban Studies who are interested to attend the workshop should email Dennis Rodgers ( by 1 February 2017. Note that places are limited and individuals will be accepted on a first there, first served basis.

This workshop is organised by CUS member Dennis Rodgers and made possible by a CUS Seed Grant.



Nieuwe Achtergracht 170, Amsterdam (CREA).

Published by  CUS