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‘Doing Urban History in an Urban World’



Dr Shane Ewen

Dr Shane Ewen, Senior Lecturer in Social and Cultural History, Leeds Beckett University

By 2008, according to UN-HABITAT, the majority of the world’s population lived in towns and cities rather than the countryside. The vast majority of urban growth in recent decades has centred on Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, with many millions of people living in mega-cities and other urban agglomerations with populations exceeding 10 million.

In an urban world, urban history is more important than ever, especially in explaining the huge social, economic and environmental challenges facing us all today, but also in understanding our increasingly recognisable global urban culture. Urban history provides a combination of traditional and innovative approaches and ideas for researching the history of an urban place and its position in the wider world, and this talk, based on the speaker’s new book, What is Urban History? (Polity Press, 2015), introduced and explored some of these through a series of examples.

This event was part of the 'Leeds Cultural Conversations' series, presented by Leeds Beckett University and Leeds City Council. 'Leeds Cultural Conversations' are a series of monthly talks programmes by the Centre for Culture & the Arts at Leeds Beckett University.

More information on the series.