The epistemic tangles of urban inhabitation – Workshop UI (Sheffield) – Beyond Inhabitation Lab, 23-24 May 2024

Applications now welcome to participate in a workshop on 23-24 May 2024 ‘The epistemic tangles of urban inhabitation’ organised jointly by the Urban Institute (University of Sheffield) and Beyond Inhabitation Lab (Polytechnic University of Turin).

Deadline for submission March 25th 2024.

Apply here to present or attend the workshop.

In the twenty-first century we are still facing the challenge of how to address the question of planetary ‘habitability’. Inhabitation is in crisis, as increasing numbers of people are drawn into precarious lives, existing trajectories make life uninhabitable for billions, and migration feeds a new protectionism around affluent places. Attention must focus beyond the narrow domains of housing, homelessness or shelter, to the wider material and cultural structures of power and related forms of injustice which shape how we live in cities across the planet.

In this workshop, Beth Perry (Urban Institute) and Michele Lancione (Beyond Inhabitation Lab) invite scholars to discuss the relationship between urban inhabitation and epistemic practices, with the aim of investigating and unpacking the multiple politics, scales and spaces through which questions of knowing and doing the urban are produced and challenged across place and time. To start with, we are working with following basic definitions:

  • Urban inhabitation: the ways in which human (and non-humans) manage to make lives worth living in different urban contexts around the world;
  • Epistemic practice: the ways in which forms of data, knowledge and expertise shape the politics, policies and practices of urban inhabitation.

Understanding diverse ways of inhabiting the urban requires different ways of knowing the urban. Whilst scholars often emphasise the unknowability of the urban, and hence how we inhabit it in so many different ways, epistemic practices perpetuate which strive for sufficient certainty as a precursor for action. Critical scholars may inadvertently bolster hegemonic knowledge practices, as a refusal to settle on knowing anything enables certain forms of knowledge and expertise to be dismissed whilst others are heralded as legitimate.

Clearly, epistemic practice and urban inhabitation are not separated in everyday life. The distinction we propose here is therefore only analytical: it allows us to invite a focus on the epistemic tangles where struggles for more just city life emerge and unfold. We believe a specific focus on these practices is critical to shape wider understanding of the urban political – from global policy to grassroots action – where questions of epistemology and inhabitation are fused together and require more precise and direct questioning. Whilst such issues are often confined to the realm of policy (for instance, through ideas of evidence-based policy), we are interested in exploring the often mundane geographies where ways of knowing become crucial to tackle unjust ways of inhabiting, and vice versa – where counter-inhabitation practices may even ground questions around who we are and what it means to be human.

The focus of the workshop is therefore on the tangles between ways of inhabiting and ways of knowing the urban. The primary goal is to convene a space for dialogue and discussion leading to a special issue of a journal (for instance, South Atlantic Quarterly, Environment and Planning D or International Journal of Urban and Regional Research). However, please note, an invitation to present at the workshop cannot guarantee inclusion in the special issue and we are also interested in work-in-development that is not yet ready for publication.

The event will bring scholars together to discuss written provocations circulated in advance of the meeting, with the idea of making the most out of the in-person intellectual exchanges. Themes to be explored could include:

  • What does it mean to be urban-human, in relation to how we know ourselves and to other forms of collective identity and intelligence?
  • How do material and affective junctures of urbanity – including housing, infrastructure and logistics – with their loaded colonial, racial and financialised histories, produce new forms of epistemic injustice?
  • What ways of knowing are required to address the underlying structures of racial and gendered injustice and violence underpinning mainstream forms of urban inhabitation?
  • What epistemic vocabularies can help us reframe, reveal, repair and reimagine urban inhabitation?
  • How do we move beyond existing comparative imaginations through new forms of trans-local practice and study, attentive to the specificity of history and place?
  • What types of knowledge are required to understand new practices of urban inhabitation – how should they be produced and by whom?
  • What epistemic orders, contestations and forms of apartheid shape the theories and practices of urban inhabitation?
  • How to ‘think and do’ on the counterhegemonic use of urban knowledge within and beyond science?
  • What does it mean to ask these questions within the academy (ie not by renouncing to it, but staying with its troubles)?

All subsistence costs will be covered (food and accommodation). Travel bursaries will be available according to need and our budget limit. We welcome UK and international applicants. The workshop is intended to be face-to-face but we will consider hybrid participation on a case-by-case basis (for instance, if there are restrictions on visas, caring responsibilities and/or budgets).

How to participate:  

Submit 250 word abstract by Monday 25th March. Selected contributors will be notified by Wednesday 27th March.

Contributors will then be asked to prepare a draft of 1500-2,000 words summarising their main argument by Monday 6th May, which will be circulated to discussants.

Each contributor will be act as a discussant on another paper and will be expected to prepare a constructive response.

Limited places will also be available for attendance only (non-presenters).

Any questions, contact Beth

Sign up here.

Beyond Inhabitation Lab – 2024 Spring-Summer Events

I am excited to announce the Beyond Inhabitation Lab‘s 2024 Spring-Summer Seminar Series. We will be hosting seven events, including a book discussion, a collective conversation as well as five seminars by distinguished scholars who will present their work pertaining to inhabitation and urban struggles across diverse geographies. 

All events are free to attend online by registering at the links below, and all sessions will be recorded and made available on the Lab’s YouTube channel.

Please find a summary of the major info below. For more details and the individual events’ posters, check the Lab’s events page.


The first seminar will occur on 21st March 2024, 5 p.m. CET, with Enikő Vincze’s “Why invest in Romania?” Investment strategies and state interventions advancing real estate development in semipheripheries. To attend online register at:

The second seminar will take place on 28th March 2024, 5 p.m. CET, with Aya Nassar’s “Giving up the Idea of Home”: ambivalent geographies, geopoetics and resisting capture in the cities of the Middle East. To attend online register at:

On the 5th April 2024, 3 p.m. CET, we will host a conversation around Michele Lancione‘s latest book, For a Liberatory Politics of Home (Duke University Press, 2023) with Sandro Mezzadra, Francesca Governa, Margherita Grazioli and Silvia Aru. The seminar will be in Italian and will be in-person in Turin. To attend online register at:

On the 11th April 2024, 3 p.m. UTC (4 p.m. CET), we will host a conversation for the Global Urban History Project co-organised by Wangui Kimari and Michele Lancione on Urban Undersides, with Alana Osbourne, Irene Peano and Rodrigo Castriota. To attend online register at:

The third seminar will take place on 9th May 2024, 5 p.m. CET, with Irene Peano’s Made in Italy: Contemporary archaeologies of agribusiness’ encampment archipelago. To attend online register at:

The fourth seminar will take place on 23th May 2024, 5 p.m. CET, with Mona Fawaz’s Inhabiting Beirut’s Cycles of Boom and Bust. To attend online register at:

In the Lab’s fifth and final seminar, on 13th June 2024, 5 p.m. CET, we will have Emma Shaw Crane‘s Martial Matters: Race, Environment, and Surplus in the Suburb. To attend online register at:


We look forward to having you join us!

Open Call: Beyond Inhabitation Lab – Urban Transitions Hub Urban Studies Summer School

Inhabiting the Surrounds: Urbanity, Critique and Speculative Practice

Urban Studies Summer School organised by the Beyond Inhabitation Lab and Urban Transitions Hub 

23-26 September 2024, Turin – 2-6 June 2025, Lisbon

Confirmed keynote instructors
Turin: Ruth Wilson Gilmore (CUNY), Alana Osbourne (Radboud University) and Tatiana Thieme (UCL)
Lisbon: AbdouMaliq Simone (University of Sheffield) and Filip De Boeck (KU Leuven)


What does it mean to think around habitation and its struggles, in a world where every inch of the possible seems to have been colonised by the extractive and expulsive makings of racial, financial capitalism? How to assemble, and engage with, radical modalities of use-value concerning the staples of habitation – addressing housing (in)justice, the expansion of computation, the emergent multiplicity of entities forming ever-complex ecologies, to reimagine a sense of the future in the midst of a planetary crisis? How to re-approach a critique to dwelling praxis grounding it within the generative force of what AbdouMaliq Simone has named the surrounds, “a shape-shifing matrix of spaces, times, and practices that exist right now within the turbulent processes of contemporary urbanization”?

We are interested in establishing a conversation with engaged scholars tackling these questions in a number of transdisciplinary ways, and, in particular, we are keen to hear from those who transcend the remit of conventional ‘comparative’ urban approaches, and those who go beyond the rubric of liberal, Western literatures and approaches to understand geographies of struggles in a situated and politically relevant way. Grounded in the ‘collective study’ methodology of the Beyond Inhabitation Lab, and fostered by the long-standing critical tradition of urban thinking adopted by the Urban Transitions Hub, we have joined forces to provide a platform for thinking and exchange around these themes, in the form of a double-event School located in two Southern European cities (Turin and Lisbon).


Aimed at 15 selected post-doctoral scholars (max. 5 years from PhD award), the School is organised around two distinct moments:

  1. Turin, 23-26 September 2024: the cohort of selected post-doctoral participants will join us in Turin, for a 4-day event organised around three keynote lectures from Ruth Wilson Gilmore (CUNY), Alana Osbourne (Radboud University) and Tatiana Thieme (UCL), and ample (formal and informal) time to discuss the draft paper ideas, and to debate around the theme of the School at large.
  2. Lisbon, 2-6 June 2025: the same post-doctoral participants will join us in Lisbon, for a 5-day event organised around two keynote lectures from AbdouMaliq Simone (University of Sheffield) and Filip De Boeck (KU Leuven), a series of writing workshops with the purpose of building on the collective study initiated in Turin by discussing with the participants their drafts papers, and a day of outdoor urban explorations. 


In applying, participants commit to the production of one individual high-quality academic paper each, which will be considered for inclusion in one or more special issues arising from the School. In detail, this commitment includes:

  • The submission of a long abstract (800 words) at the time of application, upon which the candidate will be selected, also considering their CV
  • Following the Turin event, the production of a 4,000-word draft, which will have to be submitted 3 weeks in advance of the Lisbon event (drafts will be discussed by the instructors and participants during the Lisbon workshop)
  • Following the Lisbon event, the submission of an 8,000-word academic paper for the production of one or more special issues arising from the School, to be pitched to journals such as IJURR, Antipode, EPD (normal peer-review process will apply)
  • If the paper is selected by the organisers for the production of the special issue, the participant commits to following the peer-review process in a proactive and timely manner

What we offer

  • Leading keynote speeches and opportunity to engage with the speakers
  • A curated series of conversations, fostering intellectual exchange and bonding
  • Structured feedback provided to each of the Participants’ papers, with the intent to produce one or more insightful special issues in leading academic journals
  • Lunches and coffee breaks
  • For the Turin event: 3 scholarships of €350 each for selected applicants who could not afford to take part in the School otherwise
  • For the Lisbon event: 3 scholarships of €350 each for selected applicants who could not afford to take part in the School otherwise


The events are free. Transportation to the School locations, dinners and accommodation are not included; for the latter, we will suggest reasonably cheap options for both cities.


We welcome participants whose proposed works are grounded both empirically and historically/geographically, and we will give priority to those writing from the margins of Anglophone academia. Particular attention will be paid to works drawing on critical-race, feminist, and queer approaches to urban habitation and/or those informed by more-than-human, materialist, political-ecological approaches.

Please note that the School is strictly in-person (no online attendance will be possible). The working language will be English.

To apply, fill out the following form by 30th April 2024. We will not accept delayed applications in any circumstance.


Or copy and paste the following URL into your browser:

Organising Committee


Michele Lancione, Andrea Pavoni, Irene Peano, AbdouMaliq Simone 

Writing coordinators

Marco Allegra, Mara Ferreri, Francesca Governa, Lavinia Pereira

Local organising committee

Turin: Silvia Aru, Chiara Cacciotti, Chiara Iacovone, Mara Ferreri, Michele Lancione, Daniela Morpurgo.
Lisbon: Marco Allegra, Salomé Honório, Andrea Pavoni, Irene Peano, Lavinia Pereira,  Luisa Rossini

Supported by

The event is funded by the European Research Council Inhabiting Radical Housing project (n. 851940, PI: Lancione).

It is also supported by DIST (Polytechnic and University of Turin), DINAMIA’CET-ISCTE (Lisbon University Institute), and the ICS (University of Lisbon).

If you wish to download a PDF for circulation, please click below.

PLAT + Beyond Inhabitation Lab together for a public event on radical housing in Bologna (3 Nov 2023)

“La casa: un incrocio di lotte” is a join initiative of PLAT (an autonomous Social Intervention Platform based in Bologna, Italy) and the Beyond Inhabitation Lab. With it, we want to discuss the political nature of the ‘house’ in its being a market good, with an exchange value, and in its being a fundamental component of human habitation, with its use value. We are particularly interested in discussing how housing is, inevitably, a relational question, that is, a question of struggles that have to do with issues that run through, but are not reduced to, sheltering. How can we think about housing justice when it is inextricably linked to issues of gender, racialising processes, ecological and economic extractions? What struggle is needed to imagine a new emancipatory way of inhabiting the world, putting the home at the centre? We propose here a reflection that interweaves the world of academia with that of social struggles, with a set of interventions that start from the question of housing on a global scale to focus on Italian struggles. The meeting will take place from 2pm to 6pm on 3rd November, 2023, at PLAT in Bologna. All the logistics detail can be found on Facebook. Program – In Italian Prima sessione (14:30-16) – Introduzione – PLAT – La questione della casa nel mondo urbano globale – Michele Lancione (Beyond Inhabitation Lab) – Questione abitativa e mobilitazioni sociali a Lisbona – Marco Allegra (ICS Lisbona – Sirigaita/Habita) – Mercati e vissuti: la questione casa in Italia – Sarah Gainsforth (giornalista) Seconda sessione (16:30-18) – Introduzione – PLAT – Dal conflitto urbano al cantiere sociale: percorsi di autorecupero, l’esperienza di Firenze – Dariuche – Dowlatchahi (architetto) – Occupazioni e lotta abitativa a Roma – Margherita Grazioli (Gran Sasso Science Institute) – Queering your home! Lavoro di cura e riproduzione sociale nelle s/famiglie queer – Lab. Smaschieramenti Bologna Conclusioni Apre la discussione: Maurizio Bergamaschi (UNIBO)

Beyond Inhabitation – 2023 Spring-Summer Events

Today, AbdouMaliq Simone and I are pleased to announce the Beyond Inhabitation Lab’s 2023 Spring-Summer Seminar Series, as well as my ERC Inhabiting Radical Housing project conference.

All events are free to attend in person in Turin, or online by registering at the links below, and all sessions will be recorded and made available on our website. For more details and the individual events’ posters, check our events page at:

• The first seminar will occur on 13 April 2023, 5 p.m. CET, with Cristina Cielo’s presentation Cultivation, reproduction, and disputes for diverse commons. To attend online register at:

• The ERC Inhabiting Radical Housing Conference will happen on 16 May 2023, 2 p.m. CET, with presentations from some of the Lab’s Core Team members, discussed by local and international experts. To attend online register at:

• The second seminar will take place on 18 May 2023, 5 p.m. CET, with Erin McElroy’s Becoming and Unbecoming Silicon Valley: Techno Fantasies and Frictions in Postsocialist Times. To attend online register at:

• In our third and final seminar, on 22 June, 5 p.m. CET, we will have Asha Best‘s Envisioning Just Urban Futures: Using Visual Methods to Trace Geographies of Policing. To attend online register at:

We look forward to having you join us!

Urban Life at the Extensions – Paris, 17-21 April – Lab event at ULIP

The Beyond Inhabitation Lab invites you to Paris, April 17-21 for a week of collective discussion and engagement on “Urban Life at the Extensions“. The event, organised by our co-director AbdouMaliq Simone with Lab’s support, will be hosted at the University of London in Paris (ULIP). Dozens of speakers from all over the globe will be engaging in a conversation around urban studies, struggles for inhabitation, issues of homing and housing justice, conceptualisation of extended urbanisation and racial capitalism. Attendance is free. Check the program at: Picture credit: Miya Irawati

Launching the Winter 2023 Beyond Inhabitation Lab online Seminar Series

Today we are launching our Beyond Inhabitation Lab 2023 online Seminar series!

We are going to host three wonderful speakers:

  • 26 Jan 2023 with Tanzil Shafique on “The Myth of the Bottom-Up in Precarious Housing: Lessons from the Largest ‘Informal’ Settlement in Dhaka”
  • 23 Feb 2023 with Melissa García-Lamarca’s “Life and Struggle with Mortgage Debt: New Theorisations from Lived Experiences”
  • 16 March 2023 with Joanna Kusiak on “Law and Politics, or the Politics of Law”

All seminars will begin at 5 p.m. (CET) and will take place online.

For info and registration links:



Beyond Inhabitation Spring 2022 Seminars Series

Today at the Beyond Inhabitation Lab we are announcing our 2022 Spring Seminar Series! In our first set of interventions and collective conversations, we are very excited to host three distinguished scholars here in Turin, exploring how ideas of inhabitation are being reimagined through urban struggles in diverse geographies. The first event will occur on 19/05, with Irene Peano’s presentation Thinking Through Radical Inhabitations in Italy’s Encampment Archipelago: Geographies, Genealogies and Militant Research. To attend online register at: The second event will take place on  30/06, with Alana Osbourne’s Decolonial Tours: Quilting Time for Living in a Fractured City. To attend online register at: In our third and final Spring session, on 14/07, we will have Wangui Kimari intervention, “We Are All Taxonomists”: Vernaculars of Geological Time From Southern Margins. To attend online register at: All events will be at 4:30 p.m. (CET). Participants can attend online (registering at the above links) and in-person (DIST, Castello del Valentino, Torino). All sessions will be recorded and made available afterwards on our website. Below you can find the Spring 2022 Seminar Series flier, while specific ones for each talk will be posted on this blog in due course. Looking forward to having you join us! Spring seminar series Flyer

Launching “Beyond Inhabitation: A Collective Study Lab”

Today, after a year of preparation, we are launching our “Beyond Inhabitation: A Collective Study Lab” based at DIST in Turin, Italy.

This is our beautiful website:

Through the Lab, we aim to provide an infrastructure to investigate how inhabitation is re-worked from the ground across geographies in everyday life endurances that can morph, often silently, into struggles against contemporary and historical forms of dispossession. Activities will include collective study and writing; an international seminar series; extended working groups; and a program of activists and scholars in residence.

The Lab is co-directed by Michele Lancione and AbdouMaliq Simone, and its core team comprises nine Post-doctoral Research Fellows based in Turin. It also features an outstanding international Steering Committee, made up of 10 leading scholars of our time and a group of Turin Associates based at our hosting department (DIST).

Much work of love and joy has gone into preparing this Lab and its future activities. Please browse our website to know more about us, and follow us on Twitter to keep posted about our forthcoming events and opportunities. You can also subscribe to our blog to receive updates, here:

If you’d like to get in touch, please drop us a line at We look forward to hearing from you.

Michele Lancione and AbdouMaliq Simone, for The Beyond Inhabitation Lab’s Team

The Lab is hosted at DIST, Polytechnic of Turin
Supported by ERC grant n. 851940 (PI: Lancione)