My mentor, Dr. Malini Ranganathan, and I were able to meet Wednesday, September 11, at 10:30 am. We met for about 20 minutes. Over the course of this meeting, we discussed preliminary research regarding urban studies and critical urban geography. Unfortunately, urban studies is a topic that for me has been fueled merely by personal interest and inquiry, and I have not had the opportunity to engage in extended academic conversation or take critical classes in the field. Therefore, Dr. Ranganathan and I discussed a framework of reading in which I can set a comprehensive academic foundation in critical urban studies for myself.
We did identify particular interest areas that I currently intend on pursuing in my research. I am intrigued by postcolonial lenses on urban areas within the Global South. My interest in urban areas as a whole is spurred by observations that I made as a child when I was exposed to several cities which my family called home: London, Berlin, and Cleveland. I vividly remember noticing the close existence of diversity and inequality in each of these cities, sometimes only a street apart. When I looked into the Global South, I saw many photos of slums on the literal doorstep of million dollar houses. The compression of this inequality seemed to be magnified in these cities. This initial fascination is a thought I will keep in mind while looking into other academic sources.
We also decided to move away from terms regarding urban “success,” as it can be problematic. Instead, I intend for my future questions to focus on specific concepts that I may have previously confused as “success.” My next steps will be indulging in all of the literature that Dr. Ranganathan and I discussed, and deciding my future focus based on that.