The Time of the City
Politics, philosophy and genre
Routledge – 2010 – 228 pages
The Time of the City is a trans-disciplinary work with a focus on genre-city relationships as they articulate the micropolitics of urban life in diverse cities. Shifting the territorial emphasis of political studies from the mosaic of states to the global network of cities, the book draws on urban theory rather than traditional forms of official city politics. Deriving their methodological approaches from aspects of urban theory and philosophies of aesthetics, the chapters deploy concepts from philosophy, political theory, literary studies, cinema studies, poetics and aesthetic theory on diverse cities, among which are Berlin, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, DC.
Investigating a wide variety of urban formations, and developing a geophilosophy appropriate to urban space, this multi genre approach to urban life provides stunning insights into the micropolitics of ethnicity, identity, security, subjectivity and sovereignty.
There are few political thinkers writing today who can bear the burden of breadth that an aesthetically sensitive mode of political theorizing demands. Michael Shapiro is exemplary amongst them. In "The Time of the City", Shapiro’s bold bricolages take center stage by re-energizing our lethargic political methodologies and infusing them with a perspicuous attention to the aesthetic modes of association and dissociation in democratic life. This is not simply a work that anyone interested in film, urban politics, race studies, and cultural and democratic theory must read; it is a book they will want to read over and over again. - Davide Panagia, Co-Editor, Theory & Event and Canada Research Chair in Cultural Studies, Trent University, Canada
Starting with his brilliant insights on Berlin’s new status as the cultural capital of Western Europe, Shapiro masterfully cuts across conventional disciplinary boundaries and reflects on diverse artistic genres as he exposes his readers to the crucial global-local dynamics of the contemporary urban experience. - Manfred B. Steger, Professor of Global Studies and Director of the Globalism Research Centre Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia
Film is becoming ‘for real’ as its techniques are transferred into the city and the city becomes understood through its techniques. Shapiro understands this complex inter-play as a way of rethinking the political and method at one and the same time, thereby producing a new means of studying film and the city and an indispensable book for urbanists, political scientists, and scholars of film. - Nigel Thrift, Vice-Chancellor, Warwick University, UK
As attuned to the spatial as it is to the temporal, and as theoretically sophisticated as it is politically relevant, this is a powerful and intriguing meditation on cities of the page, the screen and the moment. - Stuart Elden, Professor of Political Geography, Durham University, UK
[Time of the City] is an exemplary combination of political theory and the study of urban politics…Like Machiavelli's trip to the hillside and the valley, to princes and popular factions, Shapiro's journey to global cities is an exercise in political vision, and I recommend accompanying him. - Ronald J. Schmidt, Theory and Event (December Issue 14.4)
1. Introduction: Geophilosophy, Aesthetics, and the City 2. The Now Time(s) of the GlobalCity:Displacing Hegel's Geopolitical Narrative 3. Managing Urban Security: City Walls and Policing Metis 4. Neo-Noir and Urban Domesticity: The Wachowski Brothers’ Bound 5. Gothic Philadelphia: Divided Subjects and Fractionated Assemblages 6. Bodies and the City: Washington DC 7. Walt Whitman and the Ethnopoetics of New York 8. Inter-City Cinema: Hong Kong at the Berlinale
Michael J. Shapiro is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Hawaii. Among his publications are Methods and Nations: Cultural Governance and the Indigenous Subject (2004), Deforming American Political Though: Ethnicity, Facticity, and Genre (2006) and Cinematic Geopolitics (2009).