On 20-21 March 2019 a conference on ‘Cultural Pluralism in the Cities of the Global South’ took place at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute (EUI). It was organised by Prof. Anna Triandafyllidou, EUI; Prof. Peggy Levitt, Wellesley College, Boston; Dr. Jeremie Molho, EUI; Dr. Nick Dines, EUI.
The conference discussed cities that are emerging (or striving to emerge) as regional centres of power in the ‘Global South.’ It focused on major urban centres in Asian, African, and Latin American countries at different stages of the nation building process. The question asked was: ‘What do terms like ‘urban’, ‘diversity’, and ‘cultural pluralism’, actually mean in these contexts?’ The participants adopted a critical approach that questioned official discourse, documents and policy programmes and compared them to how relevant stakeholders understand the ‘city’, the ‘nation’, and ‘the global’. The conference aimed to unpack the power relations within the city and the ways in which the city projects itself beyond the national scale and positions itself both at a wider regional level and within global cultural hierarchies.