Art Stage Singapore 2016 – Southeast Asia Forum: The Spirit of Cities: Why the Identity of a City Matters in a Global Age
14:00 to 15:30

A Conversation between Daniel A. Bell & Chua Beng Huat

Venue: Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Centre, Level 3, Angsana Room 3E and 3F, 10 Bayfront Ave

“Cities shape the lives and outlooks of billions of people, yet they have been overshadowed in contemporary political thought by nation-states, identity groups, and concepts like justice and freedom.

In their book, “The Spirit of Cities”, co-authors Daniel A. Bell and Avner de-Shalit revive the classical idea that a city expresses its own distinctive ethos or values. In the ancient world,

Athens was synonymous with democracy and Sparta represented military discipline. The authors explore how this classical idea can be applied to today’s cities, and explain why philosophy and the social sciences need to rediscover the spirit of cities.

In this talk, Daniel A. Bell, co-author of “The Spirit of Cities”, and Chua Beng Huat discuss the book, which looks at nine modern cities and the prevailing ethos that distinguishes each one: Jerusalem (religion), Montreal (language), Singapore (nation building), Hong Kong (materialism), Beijing (political power), Oxford (learning), Berlin (tolerance and intolerance), Paris (romance), and New York (ambition).

Drawing upon the richly varied histories of each city, as well as novels, poems, biographies, tourist guides, architectural landmarks, and the authors’ own personal reflections and insights, the book shows how the ethos of each city is expressed in political, cultural, and economic life, and also how pride in a city’s ethos can oppose the homogenizing tendencies of globalization and curb the excesses of nationalism.”

Please register attendance here.