Diptych Forum

THE DIPTYCH FORUM:
An Urban Humanities Reading Group

(The Diptych Forum has been indefinitely on hiatus, but we have archived this page for your reference.)

The UCLA Urban Humanities Initiative is a multi-year interdepartmental program which bridges design, urban studies, and the humanities to better understand and construct the evolving global metropolis. An innovative curriculum offers UCLA graduate students the option of pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Urban Humanities in addition to their existing degree objectives and a variety of student and faculty research projects are underway. How can we best define this emergent field, and what are the mechanisms for identifying linkages between existing scholarly work?

 

The Diptych Forum was a bi-quarterly reading group structured to highlight advanced urban scholarship and to draw connections across disciplines through this scholarship. It was also a means through which faculty and students at UCLA could gather and discuss urban issues in an informal yet earnest milieu. At times directly and at times indirectly, the Diptych Forum also aimed to provide definition to the emergent “urban humanities.” Can elements of existing scholarship be claimed as belonging to this intellectual terrain? Do new methods used in pioneering scholarship suggest potential definitions? How can we provide more solid footing to the constantly shifting ground of “the urban” and “the humanities”?

 

FORMAT: The Diptych Forum, as its name suggests, pairs two interlocutors who each select a reading on a similar topic for the group. UHI posts the “diptych” of readings and arranges a lunch meeting, typically on a Tuesday or Thursday. At the meeting, each interlocutor gives a brief 5-minute introduction to their selected reading and the floor is opened for discussion and debate. We aim to match the two key individuals from different disciplines despite similarity in object of study, highlighting the differing language, methods, and stakes at play in urban research. Generally, we prefer that interlocutors do not select readings that they have written. Also, “readings” can include films, works of art, etc., though keep in mind that they must be shared with the group in advance. Ultimately, it is a flexible format which the two interlocutors can have a large role in defining—-say, to workshop a paper, or think through a new article.

 

GET INVOLVED: While there are no Diptych Forums currently scheduled for the 2016-17 academic year, please check back for updates on upcoming events. Typically, we pair two faculty members, or a faculty member and a PhD student, as interlocutors–as is most comfortable for those who are participating. We are interested in opening up participation to all those who are interested in the Urban Humanities Initiative at UCLA.