Benjamin Fraser, Digital Cities. The Interdisciplinary Future of the Urban Geo-Humanities (Palgrave McMillan 2015). Digital Cities stakes claim to an interdisciplinary terrain where the humanities and social sciences combine with digital methods. Part I: Layers of the Interdisciplinary City converts a century of urban thinking into concise insights destined for digital application. Part II: Disciplinary/Digital Debates and the Urban Phenomenon delves into the bumpy history and uneven present landscape of interdisciplinary collaboration as they relate to digital urban projects. Part III: Toward a Theory of Digital Cities harnesses Henri Lefebvre’s capacious urban thinking and articulation of urban ‘levels’ to showcase where ‘deep maps’ and ‘thick mapping’ might take us. Benjamin Fraser argues that while disciplinary frictions still condition the potential of digital projects, the nature of the urban phenomenon pushes us toward an interdisciplinary and digital future where the primacy of cities is assured.
Dr. Fraser is also author of Toward an Urban Cultural Studies (Palgrave McMillan series in Hispanic Urban Studies 2015). Blending Urban Studies and Cultural Studies, this book grounds readers in the extensive theory of the prolific French philosopher Henri Lefebvre. Appropriate for both beginners and specialists, the first half of this book builds from a general introduction to Lefebvre and his methodological contribution toward a focus on the concept of urban alienation and his underexplored theory of the work of art. The second half merges Lefebvrian urban thought with literary studies, film studies and popular music studies, successively, before turning to the videogame and the digital humanities. Benjamin Fraser’s approach consistently emphasizes the interrelationship between cities, culture, and capital.
Jill Twark, ed., Envisioning Social Justice in Contemporary German Culture (Camden House Studies in German Literature, Linguistics, and Culture 2015). Social-injustice dilemmas such as poverty, unemployment, and racism are subjects of continuing debate in European societies and in Germany in particular, as solutions are difficult and progress often comes slowly. Such discussions are not limited to opposing newspaper editorials, position papers, or legislative forums, however; creative works expound on these topics as well, but their contributions to the debate are often marginalized.
This collection of new essays explores how contemporary German-language literary, dramatic, filmic, musical, and street artists are grappling with social-justice issues that affect Germany and the wider world, surveying more than a decade’s worth of works of German literature and art in light of the recent paradigm shift in cultural criticism called the “ethical turn.” Central themes include the legacy of the politically engaged 1968 generation, eastern Germany and the process of unification, widening economic disparity as a result of political policies and recession, and problems of integration and inclusivity for ethnic and religious minorities as migration to Germany has increased.
Contributors: Monika Albrecht, Olaf Berwald, Robert Blankenship, Laurel Cohen-Pfister, Jack Davis, Bastian Heinsohn, Axel Hildebrandt, Deborah Janson, Karolin Machtans, Ralf Remshardt, Alexandra Simon-López, Patricia Anne Simpson, Maria Stehle, Jill E. Twark.