Academic African focus on an African city

29 April 2019

Professor António Tomás’ book, In the skin of the city: Luanda or the dialectics of Spatial transformation, will soon be published by Duke University Press. According to Professor Tomás, who recently had a talk at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies (STIAS), the book is “an ethnographic description of how Luanda has come about, how its inhabitants have transformed it from a colonial into a postcolonial city, their lived experiences and how they have reflected upon this transformation.”

Professor Tomás is a coordinator of MA in Southern Urbanism at the University of Cape Town’s African Centre for Cities. He is currently also the recipient of two residential fellowships at STIAS and at the Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH) and will be joining the the Graduate School of Architecture (GSA) at the University of Johannesburg in May this year as associate professor and programme convener. The GSA was founded in 2015 with the mandate to transform contemporary African architectural education.

The themes introduced by Tomás’ book, were also touched upon via a research article and lecture by doctor Claudia Gastrow, lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Johannesburg and STIAS fellow. Presented at STIAS on the 16th of April, the talk was titled: The Discomforts of Home: Class, Infrastructure and Aesthesis in Luanda, Angola. The focus was on Luanda residents’ sensory means through which they experience the city, as well as on their access to infrastructure. Gastrow furthermore pointed out that state housing projects reproduced and structured exploitative relationships between residents of different socio-economic backgrounds.

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