Cities, with Romit Chowdhury

Uncommon Sense

21-10-2022 • 45分

Lonely? Mean? Hostile? Cities get a bad rap. But why? Romit Chowdhury has lived in cities worldwide; from Kolkata to Rotterdam. He tells Alexis and Rosie about the wonder of urban “enchantment” found in a stranger’s smile, our changing ideas of the “urban”, and why anonymity is not always in fact the enemy of civility and friendship in the city.

Plus: how did “walking the city” emerge as a revolutionary research method? And why is Romit so fascinated with public transport – from exploring auto-rickshaw drivers’ masculinity in Kolkata, to studying sexual violence on the busy trains of Tokyo.

Romit, Alexis and Rosie also share their tips for thinking differently about urban life – from Japanese film to novels that explode norms about bodies in the city.

Guest: Romit Chowdhury
Hosts: Rosie Hancock, Alexis Hieu Truong
Executive Producer: Alice Bloch
Sound Engineer: David Crackles
Music: Joe Gardner
Artwork: Erin Aniker

Find more about Uncommon Sense at The Sociological Review.

Episode Resources

Romit, Rosie, Alexis and our producer Alice recommended

  • Claudia Piñeiro’s novel “Elena Knows”
  • N. K. Jemisin’s book “The City We Became”
  • Shinya Tsukamoto’s filmography
  • Teju Cole’s novel “Every Day is For the Thief”

From The Sociological Review

By Romit Chowdhury

Further readings

  • “Dangerous Liaisons – Women and Men: Risk and Reputation in Mumbai” – Shilpa Phadke
  • “For Space” – Doreen Massey
  • “The Metropolis and Mental Life” – Georg Simmel
  • “The Arcades Project” – Walter Benjamin
  • “Delhi Crime” (TV series) – Richie Mehta
  • “The Country and the City” – Raymond Williams
  • “Why Women of Colour in Geography?” – Audrey Kobayashi
  • “‘Delhi is a hopeful place for me!’: young middle-class women reclaiming the Indian city” – Syeda Jenifa Zahan
  • “The Way They Blow the Horn: Caribbean Dollar Cabs and Subaltern Mobilities” – Asha Best
  • “Black in Place: The Spatial Aesthetics of Race in a Post-Chocolate City” – Brandi Thompson Summers
  • And the work of Ayona Datta, Linda McDowell, Patricia Noxolo, Linda Peake, Tracey Skelton, Andrea Roberts and Gill Valentine