Ruined Skylines: a book launch

Hosted by the Department of Sociology

Alumni Theatre, New Academic Building


Dr Günter Gassner

Professor Esther Leslie

Professor Christoph Lindner


Dr David Madden

Dr David Madden

In Ruined Skylines: Aesthetics, politics, and London’s towering cityscape, Günter Gassner explores the skyline as a site for radical urban thinking and politics.

Gassner analyses the politics, economics, and aesthetics of London’s skyscraper boom in order to explore and critique the role of speculation, commodification, iconicity and ruin in the contemporary city. To celebrate the publication of this exciting book, this event brings Gassner into conversation with Esther Leslie and Christoph Lindner, who specialise in critical theory and urban design.

Günter Gassner (@GassnerG_) is Lecturer in Urban Design at the School of Geography and Planning at Cardiff University, and an architect. His research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of critical theory and spatial practices. He specialises in questions about the relationship between aesthetics and politics, history and power, and urban visions and visualisations. He currently sets up a research project that takes Benjamin's 'aestheticisation of politics' thesis as a starting point to investigate the nexus between fascism and capitalism in contemporary capitalist cities.

Esther Leslie is Professor in Political Aesthetics and co-director of the Institute for the Humanities at Birkbeck University. She has research interests in Marxist theories of aesthetics and culture, the poetics of science, European literary and visual modernism and avant gardes, art philosophy and politics. Her books include Walter Benjamin: Overpowering Conformism (Pluto 2000), Hollywood Flatlands, Animation, Critical Theory and the Avant Garde (Verso 2002), Derelicts: Thought Worms from the Wreckage (Unkant 2014), and Liquid Crystals: The Science and Art of a Fluid Form (Reaktion 2016).

Christoph Lindner (@cplindner) is Professor in Urban Studies and Dean of The Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment, UCL. He is particularly interested in the interrelations between cities, globalization, and issues of social-spatial inequality. His books include Fictions of Commodity Culture: From the Victorian to the Postmodern (Ashgate 2003), Imagining New York City: Literature, Urbanism, and the Visual Arts (Oxford University Press 2015), and The Routledge Companion to Urban Imaginaries (co-edited with Miriam Meissner, Routledge 2019).

David Madden (@davidjmadden) is Associate Professor of Sociology and Co-Director of the Cities Programme at LSE. His research and teaching focuses on social theory, housing, and urban studies. He is co-author, with Peter Marcuse, of In Defense of Housing: The politics of crisis (Verso 2016).

The hashtag for this event is #LSESkylines


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