Archiving the City

Organisers: Gareth Millington (Sociology) and David Huyssen (History)

This research strand examines the cultural forms through which the modern city is archived. It examines the different ways—via institutions, public art, collective practice, and more—in which urban history and memory are organised and presented in contemporary culture.

The stream aims critically engages with Henri Lefebvre’s argument that the reign of the city is ending; that the city now only exists as an image and an idea. The gentrification and museification of the historic urban core reveals, at least in part, the deep sense of loss with which some now view the modern metropolis. The strand makes links between contemporary archiving processes, heritage urbanism, and the cultural regeneration of historic urban centres.

Particular attention will be given to how the city is archived in such a way as to create the impression of a post-conflictual present. The stream will take an open-minded and critical approach to understanding how, why and where the modern city is archived and what this also tells us about history, the myths of specific cities, and the ongoing production of our collective urban futures.


The Archiving the City research team with Sharon MacDonald and her CARMAH group (Centre for Anthropological Research on Museums and Heritage) at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Cities, Theory, History reading group

Archiving the City is organising a new reading group titled 'Cities, Theory, History'. We plan to meet informally once a month-- starting in February and running through Spring and Summer terms--to discuss a relevant chapter or article. We hope that the group will bring together people in CModS and from across University departments who are interested in these topics. If you would like to join us or would like more information please contact either Gareth Millington (Sociology) at or David Huyssen (History) at

Wednesday 22 February  6-7pm BS/118 (CModS office)

We are going to start with a 'classic': Walter Benjamin's 'Paris--Capital of the Nineteenth Century' (please contact for a copy of the reading). For future meetings members will take turns to suggest readings.

This reading group will be informal and welcoming to individuals at all stages of their academic career. The only requirement for attendance is that you've done the reading! If you want to come armed with comments/ questions etc. that's fine, but not necessary.