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The conference is designed to provide a new lens through which scholars from the humanities and social sciences can examine, reflect upon, and understand global city life. It draws together and showcases an array of junior and senior scholars whose research goes beyond the general rubric of urban studies to take the street as an object of research and analysis. Aimed at a broad audience, the conference lays the groundwork for establishing “street life” as a recognized site for multidisciplinary scholarly inquiry.

All events are free and open to the public.
Call 416 946 8464 or email for details.

Click here to view changes for Friday, April 20.
Click here to download the Conference Program.
Click here to download the Urban Issues Film Series Program.

Saturday, April 14  - Sunday, April 15
Town Hall, Innis College, 2 Sussex Avenue
19:00 - 22:00

Saturday: Oscar-nominated short Walking and the acclaimed
Street Musique, Ryan Larkin; Painted Nation, Cyrus Sundar Singh; When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, Spike Lee.

Sunday: 23 Skidoo, Julian Biggs; When Hockey Came to Belfast, Linda Conway; Through a Blue Lens, Veronica Alice Mannix; Downtown 81, Edo Bertoglio and starring American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Wednesday, April 18
Sidney Smith Hall, 100 St. George Street, foyer

An exhibition of research and information on various aspects of street life in Toronto and beyond. Participants include graduate and undergraduate students, as well as local community groups and organizations, including:  Street Health, Walk21, [murmur], Multistory Complex, Toronto Public Space Committee, Spacing Magazine, PhotoVoice Project.

Also including a PARKING METER PARTY AND DESIGN CHARETTE AT THE CORNER OF WILCOX AND ST. GEORGE, hosted by Streets are for People!  Bring a blanket, a picnic, intruments, and ideas.  Over music and lunch, in reclaimed parking spaces, we'll reinvision St. George and the surrounding campus streets for people, not cars.  Bring a little spare change for the meter to park your Earth-friendly vehicle (bike, trike, skateboard). 12 til 4 pm.

Thursday, April 19 - Sunday, 22
Robert Gill Theatre, Koffler Student Services Centre
214 College Street, Third Floor     

Thursday, April 19

Welcome Address: Dean Pekka Sinervo
Faculty of Arts and Science, University of Toronto
Opening Address: Ato Quayson
Director, Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies

Street Politics
Chair: Asef Bayat (Leiden University)
Ken Kawashima (University of Toronto)
Urban Expropriation and the Improprieties of Street Life:Korean Struggles over Housing and the Politics of the Proper Name in Japan, 1920-1940
Olena Nikolayenko (University of Toronto)
Street Performances in Non-Democracies: Kyiv during the Orange Revolution
Emma Jo Aiken-Klar (University of Toronto)
Cartography of the Jewish Street
10:30-10:50       Coffee Break
10:50-11:20       Discussion by Asef Bayat
11:20-12:00       Open Discussion
12:00-14:00       Break

Street Cultures
Chair: Birgit Meyer (Free University, Amsterdam)
Bhekizizwe Peterson (University of the Witwatersrand)
“Natives at Large”: Johannesburg, Memory and Desire in Black South African Literature and Popular Culture
Anna Shternshis (University of Toronto)
Community on Benches:Brighton Beach Avenue and Tauentzienstraße as Centers of Russian Jewish Culture in New York and Berlin
Erik Harms (Duke University)
Vietnam’s Civilizing Process and the Retreat from the Street
15:00-15:20       Coffee Break
15:20-15:50       Discussion by Birgit Meyer
15:50-16:30       Open Discussion

Friday, April 20
Street Spaces
Chair: James Holston (University of California)
Andre Sorensen (University of Toronto)                                   
Neighborhood Streets and Meaningful Spaces: Transforming Streets and Lanes into Civic Spaces in Tokyo
Margaret Crawford (Harvard University)
On the Streets of L.A.
AbdouMaliq Simone (University of London)
Navigating the virtual and the ruined: African urban economies and (everywhere) the street
10:30-10:50       Coffee Break
10:50-11:20       Discussion and Paper by James Holston
11:20-12:00       Open Discussion
12:00-14:00       Break

Knowing and Representing the Street              
Chair: Vicente L. Rafael (University of Washington)
Neil Hertz (Johns Hopkins University)
People and Stones
Mariana Valverde (University of Toronto)
"The Street" in North American Urban Law
Willi Goetschel (University of Toronto)
Rogues/Voyous: The Traffic of Street Signs
15:00-15:20       Coffee Break
15:20-15:50       Discussion by Vicente Rafael
15:50-16:30       Open Discussion
16:30-17:00       Coffee Break

Friday, April 20
Robert Gill Theatre, Koffler Student Services Centre
214 College Street, Third Floor

Arjun Appadurai
Senior Advisor for Global Initiatives
John Dewey Professor in Social Sciences
The New School, NY
The Gaze, the Stare, the Look and the View: Street Optics in Hard Cities”
Arjun Appadurai is a renowned socio-cultural anthropologist who specializes in globalization, public culture, and urban studies.

Saturday, April 21
Street Histories
Chair: Sarah Nuttall (University of the Witwatersrand)
Achille Mbembe (University of the Witwatersrand)
The Gated Street and the Indoor Street
Yosef Eli (Tel Aviv University)
A night out in Pera, February 1955 – Placing the memory of Old Pera Street life in the framework of the Turkish cultural Debate10:10-10:30      
Ashwini Tambe (University of Toronto)
The Making of a Red Light Area in Colonial Bombay
Tom Odhiambo (University of the Witwatersrand)
The Biography of a Street in Braamfontein,  Johannesburg
10:50-11:10       Coffee Break
11:10-11:50       Discussion by Sarah Nuttall
11:50-12:30       Open Discussion
12:30-14:00       Break
14:00-17:00       Streetcar Ride Through Toronto
Tickets are to be distributed on first-come, first-served basis. Please come to our office on Wednesday, April 18th from 9:30 to 12:30 (170 St. George St, Medical Arts Building, room 202).

Special thanks to James Barrass from Sutton Group - Bayview Realty Inc., Brokerage, who provided great commentary during the streetcar ride. For real estate matters, contact James at

Sunday, April 22
Streets of Toronto

Chair: Abigail Sone (University of Toronto)
Erika Khandor and Kate Mason (Street Health)                        
Making Research Matter: Community-based Research at Street Health         
Nancy Halifax, Jim Meeks and Erika Khandor (University of Toronto, Street Health)                          
A day in the life: Stories & Photos of Health & Homelessness in Toronto
Shawn Micallef (Spacing Magazine, murmur)
Storytelling Goes Mobile
Andrea Winkler and Katie Rabinowicz (Multistory Complex) 
The Reign of the Hot Dog: A Brief Analysis of Street Food Vending in Toronto
Shamez Amlani, Kelsey Carriere and Michael Louis Johnson (Streets are for People!)
Street Life: Getting Out of the Box
10:20-10:30       Discussion by Abigail Sone
10:30-11:00       Open Discussion
11:00-11:30       Coffee Break

Street Art
Chair: David Dernie (University of Manchester)           
Julie Boivin (University of Toronto)
Street Construction: Unexpected Aesthetic Encounters in the Streets and the Transformation of the Banal Streetcorner
Kay Armatage (University of Toronto)
Film in the Streets
12:10-12:30       Discussion by David Dernie
12:30-12:50       Open Discussion
12:50-13:10       Closing Address: Ato Quayson
Director, Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies

Thursday, April 19 - Sunday, 22
Robert Gill Theatre, Koffler Student Services Centre
214 College Street, Third Floor

"Toronto Suite"
The work of Toronto-based independent documentary photographer Vincenzo Pietropaolo will be on display during the academic conference.

“Baltimore at night”
The work of Neil Hertz, Professor Emeritus of Humanities at Johns Hopkins University, who taught classes on, among other things, the literature of the city and the history of urban photography.  

Student Photo Exhibit
Wednesday, April 18 - Sunday, April 22
Map Room, Hart House, 7 Hart House Circle

A student photo competition organized in cooperation with the Hart House Camera Club. A panel composed of HHCC executive members and conference organizers will judge the images and prizes will be awarded.

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