What do African and African-American Studies, Education, Architecture, and Public Administration have in common?
A seminar series called “The Urban Experience”
Bradley Lane is the co-director for the series, which meets monthly during the academic year, and is run through the Hall Center. The purpose of the series is to gather together people who have an interest in urban research from a variety of disciplines. Usually the group is given a paper to read ahead of the gathering, a presentation is given during the meeting, and then the participants discuss the topic in an open format.
“There’s a lot of urban-based research going on at KU, but people aren’t necessarily aware of each other,” said Lane. “And it’s not just regional research. We’ve heard about urban research done in such diverse places as Havana, London, and Berlin, in addition to Topeka, St. Louis, and Kansas City.”
The topics and themes have emerged as situations have arisen. Last year, there were discussions surrounding ethnic and racial tension as well as finding a cultural sense of place. Because the sessions are set up as relaxed ways to engage around scholarly works, the conversations bring out overlaps that may not be overt. What may have been shared as a statistic by one person is supported by a real story by another researcher.
The group typically features one outside speaker in addition to a lineup of KU scholars each semester. Last spring, the series featured Mary Pattillo, Harold Washington Professor of Sociology and African American Studies at Northwestern University, who spoke about the changing dynamics of African American identities and place in Chicago during the 20th century, and the implications those changes have for the future of African American culture.
Lane has presented his work on electric vehicles and behavior, including the little known fact that transportation makes up 11-12% of the economy. That work has also shown that electric vehicles, while still expensive and limited in availability, are growing in adoption and may have a notable role to play in the future of transport.
“Electric vehicles are chock-full of activity regionally,” shared Lane. “Kansas City Power and Light is currently in the midst of installing over a thousand electric charging stations in Kansas City, which will make KC home to the largest urban charging network in the United States. There’s even going to be a station at the KU Edwards Campus.”
Want to join the urban research discussion?
Faculty, graduate students, and staff are invited! The next seminar will be held on Wednesday, November 11 on “Curating Pyongyang” in the Hall Center Seminar Room 1 at 3:30-5:00 p.m.