Cities Without Citizens

The first in the Slought Books Theory Series, this interdisciplinary publication is edited by Eduardo Cadava and Aaron Levy and comprises a collection of essays and documents engaging issues of citizenship, human rights, and the architecture of cities. It features contributions by noted artists, architects and theorists including Giorgio Agamben, Arakawa + Gins, Branka Arsic, Eduardo Cadava, Joan Dayan, Gans & Jelacic Architecture, Thomas Keenan, Gregg Lambert, Aaron Levy, David Lloyd, Rafi Segal Eyal Weizman Architects, and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. Published with the Rosenbach Museum and Library, Philadelphia, in conjunction with "Cities Without Citizens," an exhibition at the Rosenbach organized by Aaron Levy in 2003.

"What is a city? What are the laws or constitutions that make a city a city, that prevent it from becoming something else, even as it inevitably undergoes transformation and change? What would it mean to establish the borders of a city, to define and delimit it in order to confer an identity upon it? How is a city lost, destroyed, abandoned, and then perhaps rebuilt from its ruins, sometimes in other places and in memory of its name and patrimony? What would it mean for a city to remain self-identical to itself, or for it to remain internally consistent? Is this possible, or must a city always remain open to transformation, to the changes that alter and displace it? Must a city remain open, that is, to knowing that it does not yet know what it is or may be? And, if so, what is the relation between this uncertainty, this relation to a future, and the changing, heterogeneous populations within its permeable borders? What is the relation between a city and its inhabitants, between a city and its citizens, or between a city and all the people from which it perhaps withholds its protections? What is citizenship and how is it established or lost, asserted or taken away?"

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