Our first digital Erkner Encounter took place on the 16th of July 2020 with Dr Do Young Oh. Do Young Oh is a Research Officer at the LSE Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre and at the LSE Middle East Centre. He holds a PhD in Regional and Urban Planning from the LSE (short-listed for the biennial ICAS Book Prize in 2019 in the category Social Sciences). His research interests focus on comparative urbanism and postcolonialism in the East Asian context. Approaching universities as actors in urban processes, his doctoral thesis dealt with the evolving university-city relationship though a comparative analysis of East Asian urbanisation processes.
During the online meeting, we discussed similarities in processes of urban development across different countries of the Arab Gulf region and Southeast Asia that can be observed in large scale university projects. Using examples from our research, we took a closer look at how public-private economic actors relations are intertwined on multiple scales as well as how universities and branch campuses are embedded in the local contexts. Another aspect of the discussion revolved around the colonial legacy of universities in postcolonial contexts and how contemporary developments can be considered as continuations of imperialistic dynamics.
The Erkner Encounter was a great opportunity to exchange ideas on our research and hopefully will serve to kickstart further collaboration revolving around our shared empirical and theoretical interests.