Dr David Pinder
Reader in Geography
School of Geography
Queen Mary, University of London
Mile End Road, London E1 4NS
Phone: 020 7882 2753
Fax: 020 7882 7479
David Pinder is an urban and cultural geographer who joined the Department in 1999. He was previously a Lecturer in Geography at the University of Southampton, and he completed his BA and PhD in Geography at the University of Cambridge.
David was a Research Fellow at the Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies, at the University of Princeton during the autumn of 2006. He was also a Visiting Fellow at the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, during the spring and summer of 2007; and a Visiting Fellow at the Department of Environmental, Social and Spatial Change at Roskilde University, during the autumn of 2007, where he was attached to the MOSPUS (Space, Place, Mobility and Urban Studies) research group.
He is currently reviews editor of Cultural Geographies (with Garth Myers), and an editor of the Re-Materialising Cultural Geography book series for Ashgate Publishers (with Mark Boyle and Don Mitchell).
Cities and urban cultures; utopianism and possible urban worlds; art, spatial practices and the politics of urban space; the situationists and 20th-century avant-gardes
My interests lie in urban and cultural geography. I am concerned with developing critical understandings of modern cities and the ways in which their geographies are imagined, lived and contested. Much of my research focuses on utopian visions of cities, and on the ideas and practices of avant-garde art and political groups in twentieth-century Europe that sought to transform the geographies of cities and everyday life. This has addressed modernist planning and architectural discourses as well as activities, artistic practices and writings by avant-gardes that include the surrealists and especially the situationists. My writings on the Situationist International of the 1950s and 1960s have centred on their critiques of post-war urbanism, their development of critical spatial practices associated with psychogeography, and their utopian visions of urban space. Through my book Visions of the City and through a number of associated essays, this research seeks to challenge conventional narratives of influential traditions of utopian urban thought and to reclaim the value of utopian urbanism, not in the form of prescriptive ‘blueprint’ models but through an attention to what is possible and could be within current conditions. Returning to previous utopian visions can, I argue, be a vital moment in developing utopian perspectives for the future.
My research in urbanism and the politics of urban space is currently being developed in several ways. One strand of work is exploring further the potential value of utopianism for critical approaches to geography and urbanism. This is based on the conviction that, at a time when the mantra ‘there is no alternative’ to neo-liberal orthodoxies remains strong, utopian perspectives can serve a vital function intellectually and politically. Another project is focusing on urban interventions and creative spatial practices, and on what I termed, in a guest-edited issue of Cultural Geographies on this theme, as ‘arts of urban exploration’. Through a focus on particular artists and cultural practitioners, especially in London and New York, this examines the significance of their engagements with cities as sites of possibility, as they explore the creative potential that exists within urban spaces, and as they attempt to imagine and forge other possible urban worlds. Among the general questions underpinning this research are: Through what spatial practices do artists and cultural practitioners engage with cities as sites of possibility? What is the cultural and political significance of their interventions in urban space beyond artistic institutions? In what ways do their explorations and interventions question and/or challenge the spatial constitution of power relations?
The latter research seeks to contribute to debates in cultural geography, urban studies, and related art and performance fields about cities as lived and contested spaces, and about the significance of imagination, desire, and different senses and practices when addressing the politics of urban space. Papers recently published or in process on these themes include those on walking practices by artists such as Janet Cardiff, Francis Alÿs and others; on experiments in urban documentation and ways of knowing cities; on urban guided tours, and on radical and artistic practices of cartography. Current interests also include the electronic surveillance of public space, and artistic projects and forms of activism that bring its operation and the relative lack of public debate around its deployment into question.
These research interests feed directly into my teaching on the MA Cities and Cultures, which we established at QMUL in 2001 as an innovative programme focusing on the cultural geographies of cities in the past and present (for details, click here; and to download a brochure, click here); and on the MA London Studies, a recently established cross-disciplinary programme that we co-teach with the School of English and Drama and with the Department of Politics (for details, click here; and to download a brochure, click here). The research interests also inform my undergraduate teaching, including a first year course on ‘Critical Human Geographies’ and a third year option course on ‘Urbanism, Culture and Modernity’. I welcome approaches from potential PhD students with interests in any of these areas relating to urban and cultural geography.
Pinder, D. (2005) Visions of the City: Utopianism, Power and Politics in Twentieth-Century Urbanism. Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press; and New York, Routledge. 354pp.Click here for details (EUP). Click here for publication details in North America (Routledge).
Pinder, D. with Blunt, A., Gruffudd, P., May, J., Ogborn, M. editors (2003) Cultural Geography in Practice. London, Arnold 330pp. Click here for details
Journal papers, essays and book contributions
Pinder, D. (in press) 'Cities: moving, circulating, floating, dissolving'. In Tim Creswell and Peter Merriman (eds), Mobilities: Practices, Spaces, Subjects. Aldershot, Ashgate.
Pinder, D. (in press) 'The breath of the possible: everyday utopianism and the street in modernist urbanism'. In Michael Gordon, Gyan Prakash and Helen Tilley (eds), Utopia-Dystopia: Conditions of Historical Possibility. Princeton, Princeton University Press.
Pinder, D. (in press) ‘Situationism, situationist geographies’. In Rob Kitchin and Nigel Thrift, editors, International Encyclopedia of Human Geography. London, Elsevier [4000 words].
Pinder, D. (in press) ‘Surrealism, surrealist geographies’. In Rob Kitchin and Nigel Thrift, editors, International Encyclopedia of Human Geography. London, Elsevier [4000 words].
Pinder, D. (in press) ‘Art’; ‘Cultural politics’; ‘Everyday life’; ‘Flâneur/flânerie’; ‘Psychogeography’; ‘Radical geography’; ‘Situationists/situationism’; ‘Spectacle’; ‘Transgression’; ‘Urban exploration’; ‘Utopia’. In Derek Gregory, Ron Johnston, Geraldine Pratt, Michael Watts and Sarah Whatmore, editors, The Dictionary of Human Geography. Oxford, Blackwell, fifth edition.
Pinder, D. (2008) 'Urban interventions: art, politics and pedagogy'. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 32.3, pp. 70-76.
Pinder, D. (2008) ‘Utopian urbanism: ideals, practices and prospects’. In Christian Hermansen, editor, Words and Deeds: The Formation of the Idea of the Modernist City. London, Kegan Paul.
Pinder, D. (2008) ‘Revolutionary space’. Vertigo 3.9, pp. 25-26. Click here for the text.
Pinder, D. (2007) ‘Cartographies unbound’. Cultural Geographies 14.3, pp. 453-462. Click here for the text.
Pinder, D. (2007) ‘Die Autorität des Plans’, trans. Fritz Schneider. Archplus: Situativer Urbanismus 183, pp. 60-62.
Pinder, D. (2006) ‘Urban encounters: dérives from surrealism’. In Elza Adamowicz, editor, Surrealism: Borders/Crossings. Oxford, Peter Lang, pp. 39-64.
Pinder, D. (2005) ‘Arts of urban exploration’, Cultural Geographies 12.4, pp. 383-411. Also guest editor of this special issue on ‘Arts of urban exploration’, pp. 383-526. Click here for the text.
Pinder, D. (2005) ‘Modernist urbanism and its monsters’. In Thomas Mical, editor, Surrealism and Architecture. London and New York, Routledge, pp. 179-90.
Pinder, D. (2004) ‘Inventing new games: unitary urbanism and the politics of space’. In Loretta Lees, editor, The Emancipatory City? Paradoxes and Possibilities. London, Sage, pp. 108-22.
Pinder, D. (2004) ‘Writing cities against the grain’, commentary for theme issue on Anglo-American Urban Geography. Urban Geography 25.8 pp. 792-95.
Pinder, D. (2004) ‘Meanders’. In Stephen Harrison, Steve Pile and Nigel Thrift, editors, Patterned Ground: Entanglements of Nature and Culture. London, Reaktion.
Pinder, D. (2003) ‘Mapping worlds: cartography and the politics of representation’. In Alison Blunt, Pyrs Gruffudd, Jon May, Miles Ogborn and David Pinder, editors, Cultural Geography in Practice. London, Arnold, pp. 172-187.
Pinder, D. (2002) ‘In defence of utopian urbanism: imagining cities after the "end of utopia"’. Theme issue on 'Spaces of utopia and dystopia' in Geografiska Annaler 84B: 229-241. Click here for the text.
Pinder, D. (2001) ‘Ghostly footsteps: voices, memories and walks in the city’. Ecumene, a Journal of Cultural geographies 8.1, pp. 1-19. Click here for the text.
Pinder, D. (2001) ‘Utopian transfiguration: the other spaces of New Babylon’. In Iain Borden and Sandy McCreery, editors, New Babylonians. Issue of Architectural Design, 71, 3, pp. 15-19.
Pinder, D. (2000) ‘"Old Paris is no more": geographies of spectacle and anti-spectacle’. Antipode, 32.4, 2000, pp. 357-386. Click here for the text.
Pinder, D. (1999) ‘City’; ‘Collective consumption’; ‘Cyberspace’; ‘Flâneur, flâneuse’; ‘Heritage’; ‘Memory’; ‘Modern, modernism, modernity, high modernity’; ‘Nostalgia’; ‘Spaces of representation, representational space’; ‘Tradition’; ‘Utopia, utopian thought, utopian communities’. In L. McDowell and J. P. Sharpe, editors, A Feminist Glossary of Human Geography. London, Arnold.
Pinder, D. (1998) ‘Spaces of political possibility’ (review essay on David Harvey’s Justice, Nature and the Geography of Difference). Space and Polity, 2.1, pp. 85-92.
Pinder, D. (1996) ‘Subverting cartography: the situationists and maps of the city’. Environment and Planning A, 28, pp. 405-427.
Pinder, D. (1994) ‘A box of tools: working with theory in human geography’. Praxis.
Pinder, D. (2007/8) ‘Interview with David Pinder, in conversation with Bob Biderman’. Visions of the City 1.1. Available here
Pinder, D. (2007) ‘Utopia and the city: an interview with David Pinder’, by Zack Furness. Bad Subjects 78, theme issue on Hope. Available here
2006 to present: Reader in Geography, Queen Mary, University of London
1999-2006: Lecturer in Geography, Queen Mary, University of London
1995-99: Lecturer/Teaching Fellow in Geography, University of Southampton
1992-95: PhD at the Department of Geography, University of Cambridge
Visiting academic positions
2007: Visiting Fellow, Department of Environmental, Social and Spatial Change, Roskilde University, Denmark (August to December)
2007: Visiting Fellow, Center for Place, Culture and Politics, CUNY Graduate Center, New York (February to August)
2006/7: Research Fellow, Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies, Princeton University, New Jersey (September to January)
Current teaching and graduate supervision
Critical Human Geographies (level 1)
Urbanism, Culture and Modernity (level 3)
Dissertation and tutorial supervision
Cities, Empire and Modernity
Art, Performance and the City
Current or recently graduated research students include:
Holly McLaren, Bordering Art: Geography, Collaboration and Creative Practices (AHRC studentship, co-supervised with Catherine Nash); for more information, see the Bordering Art website http://www.borderingart.org.uk/ and Holly’s own page
Anthony Ince, Anarchists in Space: Geographies of Theory and Practice in Contemporary Anarchism (ESRC studentship); for more information, see Anthony’s page
Felicity Paynter, Culture in Suburbia: The Place of Culture in Suburban Sustainability (ESRC studentship, main supervisor Alison Blunt); for more information, see Felicity’s page
Halima Begum, Commodifying Multiculturalism: Urban Regeneration and the Politics of Space in Spitalfields (ESRC studentship, co-supervised with Alison Blunt), graduated 2004
David Hurford, Daily Bread: Evangelical Identities and Beliefs Through Place (QMUL studentship, co-supervised with Alison Blunt), graduated 2004
Conference and seminar convening
I have convened a number of conference sessions and seminar series. They include:
The Urban Atlantic: Comparative and Transnational City Cultures in London and New York (2004-2006), a British Academy funded seminar series and international collaborative network (£12,000). Co-convened with Alison Blunt, Gary Bridge, Michael Keith, Jane Jacobs, Frank Mort, Miles Ogborn, Rob Stone and Sophie Watson in conjunction with Daniel Walkowitz, Harvey Molotch, Andrew Ross, George Chauncey, Richard Sennett, Barbara Kirschenblatt-Gimblett, Max Page, Judith Walkowitz.
Transforming London: Rethinking Regeneration Through Commerce, Planning and Art (2002-2003), an ESRC–funded seminar series (£10,300). Co-convened with Alison Blunt, Michael Keith, Frank Mort, Miles Ogborn, Rob Stone and Sophie Watson.
Urban Know-How: Practice, Politics, and Performance, Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, Boston, 2008 (with Shiloh Krupar).
Urban Know-How: Performance and Experimental Practice, Annual Conference of the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers (RGS-IBG), London, 2006 (with Shiloh Krupar).
Geographical Expeditions in the City, Annual Conference of the RGS-IBG, London, 2003 (with Loretta Lees), with three related field trips and three artistic interventions in London.
The City and Rationality, Annual Conference of the IBG, University of Plymouth, 2001 (with Gary Bridge).
Imagining Urban Futures, Annual Conference of the IBG, University of Leicester, 1999.
Figuring the City, Annual Conference of the IBG, University of Exeter, 1997 (with Mark Boyle).
Recent invited lectures, seminars and conference presentations (since 2004) include:
Urban detouring: guides to getting lost and found. Lecture at the Critical Spatial Practices workshop, Royal Institute of British Architects, London, November 2008.
Urban interventions: art, politics and pedagogy. Keynote lecture at Multipli(cities) conference, organised by the Urban Geography Research Group of the RGS-IBG, at Queen Mary, University of London, November 2008.
Mobile cities: walking, circulating, floating, dissolving. Lecture at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Urban Conservation, Columbia University, April 2008; and at the Department of Geography, University of California Los Angeles, April 2008.
Urban detouring: guides to getting lost and found. Conference paper at the Urban Know-How: Practice, Politics, and Performance session of the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographies, Boston, April 2008.
Tracking the walker: art, spatial politics and surveillance. Conference paper at Peripatetic Practices: A Workshop on Walking, Royal Holloway, University of London, March 2008.
The breath of the possible: utopian imaginations and the city. Lecture at the Department of Environmental, Social and Spatial Change, Roskilde University, November 2007.
In visibilities: spatial practices and paths of surveillance. Seminar paper at the MOSPUS (Space, Place, Mobility and Urban Studies) research unit, Department of Environmental, Social and Spatial Change, Roskilde University, Denmark, November 2007.
Under electronic eyes: street performance and the politics of surveillance. Lecture at the Department of Geography at Syracuse University, March 2007; and at the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics at the City University of New York Graduate Center, June 2007.
Cities on the move: walking, plugging in, floating, dissolving. Conference paper at the Mobile Geographies: Practices, Places and Subjects session of the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, San Francisco, April 2007.
Urban tours: dérives and the avant-garde. Lecture at the California College of Art, San Francisco, April 2007.
The breath of the possible: utopianism and the street in modernist urbanism. Seminar paper at the Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies, Department of History, Princeton University, November 2006.
The heart of a city: an experiment in urban documentation. Conference paper at the Urban Know-How: Performance and Experimental Practice session of the Annual Conference of the RGS-IBG, London, September 2006.
Partisans of possibilities: utopianism and urban alternatives. Keynote lecture at the urban geography panels of the Changing Geography in a Diversified World conference, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong, June 2006.
Anti-spectacle: the cinematic and urban practices of the situationists. Lecture at Byam Shaw School of Art, University of the Arts, London, March 2006.
Under electronic eyes: street performance and the politics of surveillance. Seminar paper at the Department of Geography, University of Oxford, February 2006; at the Department of Geography, University College London, March 2006; and at the Department of Sociology, University of Lancaster, May 2006.
‘You are watching me’: street performance and the politics of surveillance. Conference paper at the session on The Performative and the Political, Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, Chicago, March 2006.
Under electronic eyes: walking and performing the city. Seminar paper at The Urban Atlantic: Comparative and Transnational City Cultures in London and New York seminar series, New York University, November 2005.
Life will be housed in poetry: utopian urbanism and the future city. Lecture at the series on Living Out the Metropolis, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, March 2005.
Labyrinthian spaces: anti-rationalism and the ludic city. Seminar paper at the Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, March 2005.
Visions of the city, interview and discussion with Ken Worpole, Urban Bookfest, Urban Design Alliance, London, September 2005.
Arts of urban exploration. Conference paper presented at the session on Geographies of Art and Music, Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, Denver, April 2005.
Mapping, psychogeography and the avant-garde. Lecture at the Department of New Media, Mills College California, March 2005; and at the Department of Architecture, University of California Berkeley, March 2005.
Arts of urban exploration. Seminar at the Department of Geography, Kings College London, February 2005; and at the Department of Geography, University of Hull, February 2005. Also lecture in the Thinking Space series, Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London, March 2004.
Visions of the city: utopian urbanism and the situationists. Lecture at the Department of Geography, Roskilde University, Denmark, June 2004.
Lost in space: dis/orienting psychogeographies. Lecture at the psy.geo.CONFLUX festival, at Participant Inc, New York City, May 2004.