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Insect City
The etymology of the word ‘in-sect’ – to cut into – suggests how entomological research can provide a section through the city, with specific insects acting as barometers of the wider political, economic, social and technological factors that shape urban environments. This multi-disciplinary research network examines relationships between insects, urban environments, and citizens. In October 2011 the UCL Urban Laboratory will hold a workshop at the Grant Museum of Zoology where speakers from a range of arts, humanities, entomological and medical disciplines and practices will be invited to choose and interpret illustrative examples of insect-city interactions (across a range of genres and media in, e.g., literature, art, architecture and other cultural forms), and to use these as a basis for a cross-disciplinary conversation, covering themes such as: - insects as vectors of disease; - threats posed by insects to historical advances in public health; - insects’ associations with specific spaces and/or material conditions; - physiological, psychological and life quality effects of infestations; - effects of climate change on the ecology of insects; - connections between insects, human migration and mobility; - the politics, technologies and practices of pest control; - insectoid metaphors; - the architectonics of insect colonies in cities; - the ways that insects shape the 'imagination of disaster' (Sontag, 1966), including environmental catastrophe. The objective is to elicit how a range of different insects - e.g. ants, beetles, bedbugs, cockroaches, dustmites, mosquitoes, termites - interact with the built environment and urban populations and have agency in the production of the city and urban experience. Convened by Dr Ben Campkin and Dr Matthew Beaumont, the workshop is supported by UCL Urban Laboratory, UCL Environment Institute and UCL English (City Centre).
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