064-0017-23L  Researching Otherwise: Pluriversal methodologies for Landscape and Urban research

SemesterAutumn Semester 2023
LecturersF. Persyn, N. Bathla, T. Galí-Izard
Periodicityevery semester recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish


064-0017-23 KResearching Otherwise: Pluriversal methodologies for Landscape and Urban research
No course on 27.10 (seminar week) and in the last to weeks of the semester.
2 hrs
Fri09:45-11:30HIL E 67 »
F. Persyn, N. Bathla, T. Galí-Izard

Catalogue data

AbstractResearching Otherwise is a call to craft another space for the production of knowledge. It posits that fluid epistemologies that respond to ways of decolonial, pluriversal, and more-than-human knowing can offer tools and ways for reimagining and reconstructing local worlds and transcending developmental paradigms of researching and operating.
ObjectiveResearch in landscape and urban studies just like in other disciplines has been subject to the act of border and boundary-making that mediates, conditions, and limits its horizons while determining its outcomes. Some of these borders and boundaries are more familiar than others. In terms of geographical boundaries, for instance, the global north-south boundary has haunted landscape and urban research shrouded under the narratives of developmentalism. However, there are other borders such as the disciplinary ones, which attempts to separate and isolate a domain from other similarly specialised disciplines. This according to Paul Feyerabend is due to the tendency of modernity whereby ‘scientific education, aims to simplify “science” by simplifying its participants.’ Then there are the methodological boundaries established due to ‘cartesian dualism’, which act in the practice and training of becoming objective, teach researchers to be content with studying the products of imagination rather than working with imaginative processes themselves. Then there is a third, onto-epistemological border which defines that the knowing subject in the disciplines is not transparent and disincorporated or untouched by the geopolitical configuration of the world in which people and regions have and continue to be ranked and configured racially. It argues for moving away from a one world ontology. Decolonial thinkers such as Walter Mignolo and Gloria Anzaldúa have proposed for border thinking as a method for politically and epistemically de-linking from the web of imperial knowledge, which has energised a number of disobedient and anarchic traditions of researching otherwise.

Researching Otherwise is a call ‘to craft another space for the production of knowledge – another way of thinking, un paradigma otro, the very possibility of talking about “worlds and knowledges otherwise”’. It posits that such ways of decolonial, pluriversal, and more-than-human knowing can offer tools and ways for reimagining and reconstructing local worlds and transcending developmental paradigms of researching and operating. Rather than rigid and closed epistemologies of knowing the landscape and the urban, this seminar promotes fluid epistemologies that respond to the incommensurabilities, radical alterities and other ways of knowing the environment.

The call for researching otherwise is to deploy methodological tools such as drawing, photographing, sounding and listening, filmmaking, walking, and cartography for not only unearthing and unmasking systems of power and domination but also for researching possible other worlds and for countering the disembodiment of research and the researcher.

The seminar will draw upon readings from a forthcoming publication by the same title. In terms of format, it will alternate between inputs by invited guests, reading and discussion sessions, tutorials, and peer-review. A number of input lectures by invited guests will will take the participants of the seminar into ways and methods of researching otherwise. These input lectures will be alternated with thematically organised tutorial sessions and peer-review. The seminar participants can choose to present the work developed during the seminar at the LUS Doctoral Crits organised at the end of the semester.
ContentThe format will provide an overarching methodological meta-theme, to be defined prior to the event. One external guest critic will be invited. In this case, each presentation will conclude with a discussion round, providing sufficiently detailed feedback for every doctoral candidate.
Lecture notes22.09 Researching Otherwise - Nitin Bathla
29.09 Walk through the brachen of Zurich - Sabrina Stallone
06.10 Imagining Otherwise: Social Movements for Livable Futures in the Sonoran Border Region - Darcy Alexandra
13.10 Transdisciplinary Action Research - Stephanie Briers
20.10 Extended Urbanisation Conference
27.10 Retreat Lively Cities colloquium with Maan Barua at Uni Liechtenstein
03.11 Publication Otherwise - Moritz Gleich & Jennifer, gta Verlag
10.11 Doctoral Colloquium
17.11 Comparative Research - Julie Ren
24.11 Border Forensics - Charles Heller
01.12 Sensing beyond the human - Nancy Couling
08.12 Doc Crits
LiteratureBarua, M. (2014) ‘Bio-geo-graphy: Landscape, dwelling, and the political ecology of human-elephant relations’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 32(5), pp. 915–934.

Crysler, C.G. (2003) Writing Spaces: Discourses of Architecture, Urbanism and the Built Environment, 1960–2000. London: Routledge. Available at: Link.

Eco, U. (2015) How to write a thesis. MIT Press.
Geertz, C. (1973) ‘Thick Description: Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture 1973’.

Hultzsch, A. (2017) Architecture, travellers and writers: Constructing histories of perception 1640-1950. Routledge.

Jackson Jr, J.L. (2013) Thin description. Harvard University Press.

Jon, I. (2021) ‘The City We Want: Against the Banality of Urban Planning Research’, Planning Theory & Practice, 22(2), pp. 321–328. Available at: Link.

Kennedy, H. (2019) ‘Infrastructures of “Legitimate Violence”: The Prussian Settlement Commission, Internal Colonization, and the Migrant Remainder’, Grey Room, pp. 58–97.

Madden, M. (2005) 99 ways to tell a story: exercises in style. Penguin.

Malm, A. (2013) ‘The origins of fossil capital: From water to steam in the British cotton industry’, Historical Materialism, 21(1), pp. 15–68.

Malm, A. (2016) Fossil capital: The rise of steam power and the roots of global warming. Verso Books.

Malm, A. and Hornborg, A. (2014) ‘The geology of mankind? A critique of the Anthropocene narrative’, The Anthropocene Review, 1(1), pp. 62–69.

Marcus, G.E. (1995) ‘Ethnography in/of the world system: The emergence of multi-sited ethnography’, Annual review of anthropology, 24(1), pp. 95–117.

Narayan, K. (2012) Alive in the Writing: Crafting Ethnography in the Company of Chekhov. University of Chicago Press.

Queneau, R. (2018) Exercises in style. Alma Books.

Shannon, K. and Manawadu, S. (2007) ‘Indigenous Landscape Urbanism: Sri Lanka’s Reservoir & Tank System’, Journal of Landscape Architecture, 2(2), pp. 6–17. Available at: Link.

Soja, E. (2003) ‘Writing the city spatially1’, City, 7(3), pp. 269–280. Available at: Link.

Tornaghi, C. and Van Dyck, B. (2015) ‘informed gardening activism: steering the public food and land agenda’, Local Environment, 20(10), pp. 1247–1264.
Prerequisites / NoticeThe participants of the seminar will be required to participate in two doctoral colloquiums; on Extended Urbanisation on 20.10 and on Lively Cities on 27.10.
Subject-specific CompetenciesConcepts and Theoriesassessed
Techniques and Technologiesassessed
Personal CompetenciesCreative Thinkingassessed
Critical Thinkingassessed
Self-awareness and Self-reflection assessed
Self-direction and Self-management assessed

Performance assessment

Performance assessment information (valid until the course unit is held again)
Performance assessment as a semester course
ECTS credits2 credits
ExaminersF. Persyn, N. Bathla, T. Galí-Izard
Typeungraded semester performance
Language of examinationEnglish
RepetitionRepetition only possible after re-enrolling for the course unit.

Learning materials

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Doctorate ArchitectureSubject SpecialisationWInformation