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Dr Giulia Torino

Junior Research Fellow in Urban Studies, Peterhouse

Biography

Career

  • 2021-present: Junior Research Fellow, Peterhouse, University of Cambridge
  • 2021-present: Affiliated Lecturer, Department of Geography and Centre of Latin American Studies, University of Cambridge
  • 2021: Consultant (Researcher), Amnesty International. project outcomes
  • 2017-2018: Visiting Researcher, Department of Cultural Studies and Faculty of Aesthetics, Pontificia Javeriana University, Bogotá
  • 2015: Urban Designer, New York City Department of City Planning
  • 2014: Visiting Researcher, Department of Architecture, Los Andes University, Bogotá

Qualifications

  • 2021, PhD Urban Studies, University of Cambridge
  • 2015, MA Urban Design, University of Venice & University of Sheffield
  • 2012, BA Architecture, University of Venice & Illinois Institute of Technology

Selected awards and prizes

  • British Academy Small Research Grant, 2022
  • Society of Latin American Studies (SLAS) Postdoctoral Research Prize, 2022
  • Isaac Newton Small Research Grant, University of Cambridge, 2022
  • CRASSH Research Network Funding, University of Cambridge, 2021-2022
  • Cambridge Political Economy Society Dissertation Grant, 2020
  • King’s College Doctoral Studentship, University of Cambridge, 2016-2019
  • Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRD-DTP) Doctoral Studentship, 2016-2019
  • Kettle’s Yard Travel Award, 2018-2019
  • Worts Travelling Scholars Fund, 2018-2019
  • Santander Mobility Grant, 2017

Research

All the research interests below have in common an ethnographic and participant engagement with ordinary and border processes of placemaking, and a focus on urban political imagination, social and spatial justice, urbanisation (both within and beyond the city), and the unequal relationships between space, power and politics.

Dwelling under racial capitalism: spaces of dis-/em-placement, unsettlement and extension

Drawing on notions that modern capitalism in inherently based upon unequal racial relations, I explore contested inhabitation and the ways such power relations shape dwelling. Broadly speaking, my research interrogates the meaning and practices of the making of place amidst extended rural-urban geographies of banishment, unsettlement and fugitivity. I have developed this theme through two regional foci and in the following research projects:

1. Latin America

In the case of Latin American cities, I have explored (2016-2021) the racial-colonial urban imaginaries and socioeconomic practices of displacement connected to the lived politics of racial capitalism in the region. In particular, I have focussed my attention on rural-to-urban displacements from the Pacific coast of Colombia to the capital city, Bogotá, and on Afro-Colombian politics of placemaking in spaces of racialised violence created through housing, environmental violence, governmentality, class segregation (estratificación), and experts’ discourses. This project is aligned with activism, feminist and anti-racist methodologies and has been sustained by long-term collaborations with Black women’s organisations and communities that were internally displaced by local and global violences.

2. Europe and the Black Mediterranean

In a more recent project (2021–2024), I am exploring the lived political economy and ecology of land, food, labour, dwelling, and place under racial capitalism in the agro-industrial environments of Fortress Europe. The focus is on the agricultural food chain, migrant encampments and urban-rural inhabitation in a growingly multicultural, transnational, fluid, and mobile Mediterranean geography. Inspired by emergent research on the conceptual framework of the Black Mediterranean, I focus on how global displacements through the Mediterranean Sea are shaping not only new labour regimes but also new patterns and practices of dwelling in Italy, connecting rural and urban geographies, sea and land, migrant trajectories, and histories of internal and external colonisation.

Urban violence and conflict

The third strand of my research stems from my work on Colombia’s everyday war, “territorial peace” (paz territorial), racialised displacement, and intersectional violence, with a particular focus on urbanisation and women’s urban grassroots peace/reparation initiatives. I have explored this further in an interdisciplinary, multi-lingual and transnational Research Network to steer debates on urban conflict that cut across disciplinary and regional silos, among activists, artists and academics. This research project examines how political violence reshapes human lives, imaginations of urban futures, movement, citizenship, belonging, and hope.

Methodologically, all my research builds on ethnographic methods, long-term participant observation, oral histories, semi-structured interviews, critical policy and discourse analysis, and an active engagement with communities, advocacy, and activist groups. Epistemically, my research is guided by critical race and feminist theories, decoloniality, critical border studies, and postcolonial studies. I have taught, worked and conducted interviews in English, Spanish and Italian.

Publications

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Teaching

Undergraduate teaching

  • Lecturer, Paper 4 (“Citizenship, cities and civil society”), Part IB Tripos, Department of Geography

Postgraduate teaching

  • Primary supervisor, MPhil dissertations, Centre for Latin American Studies (CLAS)
  • Lecturer, “Racism and Anti-racism in Latin America” Seminar Series, MPhil in Latin American Studies, Centre for Latin American Studies (CLAS)

Previous teaching

In my previous teaching (2017-2021), I have also designed and delivered lectures for the following courses:

  • “The Politics of Conflict and Peacebuilding” (Pol 16), Part IIB HSPS Tripos, Department of Politics
  • “Peripheral Urbanism”, MPhil in Urban Design and Urban Studies, Department of Architecture
  • “Theories in 20th Century Architecture”, RIBA Part IB, Department of Architecture

I was involved in the University’s “Decolonising the Curriculum” initiative during 2017-2020 and I have been a Guest Lecturer at the University of Sheffield, University of Basel, ETH Zürich, Universidad Externado de Colombia, and University of Venice, among others.

External activities

  • Co-I (with Dr Surer Mohamed) of the CRASSH Research Network “In War’s Wake”. Twitter: @InWarsWake
  • Founder and former convenor (with Dr Noura Wahby and Dr Shreyashi Dasgupta) of the “Urbanism in the Global South” Research Network at the Department of Geography, Department of Architecture and Department of Politics
  • Committee Member of the Latin American Geographies (LAG-UK) Research Group, Royal Geographical Society with IBG
  • Member of the grassroots organisation Costurero de la Memoria (Memory Stitchers) working for the Human Rights of IDP women and their families, anti-racism, and intersectional peace in Colombia