Landing : Athabascau University

James Holston visiting University of Calgary

James Holston is visiting UCalgary from November 4-5th. There are some really great opportunities to engage with him and his work in those days. 

Short Biography: James Holston is professor of anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is also founding co-director of the Social Apps Lab at CITRIS and former codirector of Global Metropolitan Studies. He is a political anthropologist whose work focuses on the city as a strategic site for the emergence of new citizenships. At the Social Apps Lab, he studies and designs software platforms for mobile and web-based applications that address social issues through democratic assembly, citizen participation, and crowdsourcing initiatives. His publications include The Modernist City: An Anthropological Critique of Brasília, Cities and Citizenship, and Insurgent Citizenship: Disjunctions of Modernity and Citizenship in Brazil. His software projects include applications that engage residents in urban participatory budgeting and in community-based vector control for neglected tropical diseases such as dengue fever. He has conducted extensive research in Brazil and is currently engaged in collaborative research projects in Brazil, Nicaragua, France, and the United States.

Morning November 4th GRADUATE STUDENT ONLY event from 11:00AM-12:30PM
. He will be speaking in a Research Methods class that Noel teaches in EVDS and the topic will be applying ethnography in urban research. It will be in PF2140 but please RSVP Noel to reserve a spot directly at:

Evening November 4th Public Lecture at the downtown campus from 6-8PM. The title of his presentation is: Insurgent Cities and Urban Citizenship in the 21st Century. Abstract: Insurrection inaugurated the 21st century with a series of metropolitan rebellions. Buenos Aires, Athens, Tunis, New York, Madrid, and countless other cities around the world presented distinctive forms of revolt that rejected existing politics and stormed the state with alternatives. Many of these alternatives arose from the insurgents’ own production both of city life and of urban assembly. This presentation considers whether these insurrections point towards the generation of an “autoconstructed and digitally-engaged city commons” as the basis of a new kind of insurgent urban citizenship. It does so by examining the intersection of city-making, city-occupying, and rights-claiming in which they emerge.

Lunch November 5 Seminar Earth Sciences 702 12:30-2:00PM. 
  This event is being hosted in the Faculty of the Arts with the generous support from Anthropology, Geography (Urban Studies), and the Latin American Research Center. The topic of the seminar is TBA, but it will involve a discussion with Holston about a new and perhaps unpublished work. There will be coffee and sandwiches.


The title of the paper is "Engineering Software Assemblies for Participatory Democracy: The Participatory Budgeting Use Case", James Holston, Valérie Issarny, Christhian Parra.

Here is a description of the Social Apps Lab by James Holston:

I co-founded the Social Apps Lab at CITRIS, UC Berkeley, in 2010 with Greg Niemeyer. We continue to co-direct it.  The Lab provides interdisciplinary collaboration to build software platforms for mobile and web applications that encourage citizen participation, urban knowledge, and crowdsourcing initiatives for significant social problems.  We engage social science – especially anthropological investigation – computer science, engineering, public health, art, and aspects of gameplay to identify social problems that apps can productively address by reformulating the terms of democratic assembly, citizenship, and civic action.  The Social Apps Lab develops this initiative through interdisciplinary research, teaching, and software design, providing production opportunities for students, visiting scholars, faculty, and outside clients.  It is a campus resource, sponsored by CITRIS (Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society), with lab space, administrative staff, annual budget, and external funding.  For more information see  As co-director, I oversee the entire portfolio of applications and, in addition, currently lead the development of three:  Dengue Torpedo, AppCivist, and WordWalk.


Please RSVP to  

Additionally, Noel said that there may be additional opportunities to meet Holston one-on-one during his visit. If you are interested, email Noel. 


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AU Anthropology Interest Group

AU Anthropology Interest Group

A group for those interested in socio-cultural anthropology, archaeology, biological anthropology, and linguistic anthropology