Author Event! Join Steve Coll in Conversation with Mary Kaldor and Saskia Sassen

Chaired by Safwan M. Masri

Provocative discussions on the global issues of our time with world-class scholars, authors, and thought leaders

Tuesday, August 11
12:00 – 1:00 PM EDT
5:00 – 6:00 PM GMT +1
7:00 – 8:00 PM GMT +3

Warfare in the twenty-first century goes well beyond conventional armies and nation-states. In a world of diffuse conflicts taking place across sprawling cities, war has become fragmented and uneven to match its settings. Yet the analysis of failed states, civil war, and state building rarely considers the city, rather than the country, as the terrain of battle.

In Cities at War, Mary Kaldor and Saskia Sassen assemble an international team of scholars to examine cities as sites of contemporary warfare and insecurity. 

Reflecting Kaldor’s expertise on security cultures and Sassen’s perspective on cities and their geographies, they develop new insight into how cities and their residents encounter instability and conflict, as well as the ways in which urban forms provide possibilities for countering violence. Through a series of case studies of cities including Baghdad, Bogotá, Ciudad Juarez, Kabul, and Karachi, the book reveals the unequal distribution of insecurity as well as how urban capabilities might offer resistance and hope. Through analyses of how contemporary forms of identity, inequality, and segregation interact with the built environment, Cities at War explains why and how political violence has become increasingly urbanized. It also points toward the capacity of the city to shape a different kind of urban subjectivity that can serve as a foundation for a more peaceful and equitable future.

Event Speakers

Mary Kaldor

Mary Kaldoris Professor of Global Governance and Director of the Civil Society and Human Security Research Unit in the Department of International Development at the London School of Economics. She is the co-editor of The Quest for Security: Protection Without Protectionism and the Challenge for Global Governance (Columbia, 2013, with Joseph Stiglitz) and the author of New and Old Wars: Organized Violence in a Global Era (2012, third edition) and Global Security Cultures (2018) among other works.

Saskia Sassen

Saskia Sassen is the Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology and a member of the Committee for Global Thought at Columbia University. She is the author of many books, including Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy (2014), The Global City (2001, second edition), and Cities in a World Economy (2018, fifth edition).

Steve Coll

Steve Coll was appointed Dean of Columbia Journalism School in 2013 after serving as president of New America Foundation (2007-2012). He joined The New Yorker as a staff writer in 2005 and continues to write for the publication on politics, national security, and the media. Coll is also the author of eight nonfiction books, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, and a former reporter, foreign correspondent and senior editor at the Washington Post (1985- 2005). His latest book Directorate S, published in February 2018, is a follow-up to his 2004 Ghost Wars.

Safwan M. Masri

Safwan M. Masri is Executive Vice President for Global Centers and Global Development at Columbia University and a Senior Research Scholar at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs. He is the author of Tunisia: An Arab Anomaly (Columbia University Press, 2017). Safwan served as Vice Dean of Columbia Business School from 1993 to 2006. He is a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations and an honorary fellow of the Foreign Policy Association.

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