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Dr R.K. Jaffe (1978) has been appointed professor of Cities, Politics and Culture at the University of Amsterdam’s (UvA) Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences. This concerns a new chair.

Prof Rivke Jaffe
Photo: Dirk Gillissen

Rivke Jaffe’s research focuses primarily on intersections of the urban and the political, and specifically on the spatialisation of power, difference and inequality within cities. She is interested in how urban problems such as poverty, crime and environmental degradation are linked to social differentiation along lines of ethnicity, class and gender. How are these inequalities constructed, reproduced and transformed through urban policy, market forces and social movements? How does the (colonial) past shape the cities of today? What is the role of popular culture - music, video clips, murals, graffiti - in the ways we experience and communicate urban exclusion and solidarity? Jaffe's engagement with these concerns is motivated by the conviction that anthropology and urban studies can provide important insights into what divides and what unites us, into the social problems we face and the solutions that are possible.

The Cities, Politics and Culture chair focuses on the cultural dimension of urban life and specifically of urban politics. It concentrates on the ways that this cultural dimension takes shape both at the level of everyday encounters in urban neighbourhoods and through transnational movements of people, money and (cultural) goods. In her capacity as professor, Jaffe will explicitly promote a comparative and relational urban studies, contrasting case studies in both the global North and the global South, and considering the interconnections and mobilities between these different urban sites. Her research emphasizes the importance of understanding similarities and differences in urban social problems and viable solution strategies across a broad range of political, cultural and economic urban contexts.

Jaffe has been affiliated to the UvA’s Centre for Urban Studies and the department of Human Geography, Planning and International Development Studies since 2012, first as assistant professor and since 2013 as associate professor. Prior to this, she lectured at Leiden University. Jaffe has been a guest researcher at Yale University, the University of the West Indies (Jamaica) and the University of London’s School of Advanced Study. In 2013 she was awarded a prestigious Starting Grant by the European Research Council (ERC) for her research project ‘Transforming Citizenship through Hybrid Governance: The Impacts of Public-Private Security Assemblages’ and a Vidi grant by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) for the project ‘The Politics of Security: The Impacts of Public-Private Security Assemblages on Governance and Citizenship’. In 2015 Jaffe was appointed member of the Young Academy of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW).