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Fabien Cante

Fabien CanteLecturer in Urban & Development Geography

Departmental (Undergraduate) Tutor
Room G10, North West Wing

AFS hour: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 11:30-12:30.

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I am an urban geographer interested in the multi-scalar politics of marginalisation. I came to geography via an interdisciplinary journey through political science (Sciences Po, France), history (EHESS, France), urban studies (UCL), and media and cultural studies (LSE). As a result, I weave popular culture and geopolitics in my analysis of urban life.

Overall, my research and teaching ask how ordinary residents make cities ‘hold’ despite the fracturing pressures of inequality and political violence. This concern spans three main themes:

  1. Peace and conflict from the urban margins: my PhD involved ethnographic work in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, West Africa's second largest metropolis and a city marked by a decade of armed conflict (1999-2011). One of the aims of this research has been to challenge elite narratives of conflict and peace, pointing to the power asymmetries that they reproduce. I also delve into how ordinary people on the urban margins experience various forms of violence, and how they practice fugitive forms of peace that are not usually recognised as such.
  2. Technologies of urban life: My PhD examined local radio as an urban infrastructure in Abidjan. I am interested in how media technologies – old and new – configure urban politics and everyday practices. In particular, I look at how these technologies shape contested atmospheres, and how they enable or constrain various forms of ‘hustle’ in precarious urban environments.
  3. Cities of the Black Atlantic: prior to working in Abidjan, I researched the urban histories of Black radio in the United States. Inspired by Paul Gilroy’s notion of the Black Atlantic and by Jenny Robinson’s call for urban comparison, I want to bring Abidjan into a shared, postcolonial frame with cities like London or New York, to analyse interconnected experiences of racialised marginalisation and resistance.

I teach across all undergraduate years at UCL Geography, as well as on core modules of the MSc Urban Studies. I convene the third-year module Global Urbanism.

My teaching contributions include questions of race and inequality (Space & Society, Y1; Global Urbanism, Y3; Urban Imaginations, MSc); the postcolonial politics of new media and ‘smart’ technologies (Development Geographies, Y2; Geographies of Infrastructure and Global Urbanism, Y3); urban geopolitics (Global Urbanism, Y3; Cities, Space & Power, MSc); and ethnographic methods (Geography in the Field I, Y1).

Journal articles

  • (With AbdouMaliq Simone et al.) Forthcoming. On urban re-arrangements: A suite in five movements. International Journal of Urban & Regional Research. Accepted.
  • Forthcoming. Attuning to opacity: Interpreting ‘post-crisis’ refusals on Abidjan’s local airwaves. Anthropological Quarterly. Accepted.
  • 2020. Mediating anti-political peace: Radio, place and power in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. Political Geography 83. Accessible via UCL Discovery.
  • 2018. From ‘animation’ to encounter: Community radio, sociability and urban life in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. International Journal of Cultural Studies 21(1), 12-26.
  • 2015. Place-making, media practices and orientations: Exploratory connections between communication geography and Sara Ahmed’s critical phenomenology. Sociologica 3 (Online)
  • 2013. Vers un urbanisme de projet métropolitain? L'exemple de Paris Nord-Est. Métropolitiques (Online)

Book chapters

Book reviews