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Neil Brenner

Portrait of Neil Brenner

Neil Brenner is a critical urban theorist, sociologist, and geographer who is interested in all aspects of research on cities and urbanization within the social sciences, the environmental humanities, the design disciplines, and environmental studies. His writing and teaching focus on the theoretical, conceptual, and methodological dimensions of urban questions and on the challenges of reinventing our approach to urbanization in relation to the crises, contradictions, and struggles of our time. Brenner has made influential contributions to scholarly debates on critical urban theory, the critique of capitalist urbanization, urban restructuring, state space, the political economy of rescaling, variegated neoliberalization, and planetary urbanization. His current work is focused on the question of how “hinterlands”—the non-city territories, infrastructures, and ecologies that support urban life—are being remade under contemporary supply-chain capitalism. This inquiry aims to connect the study of urbanization more directly to the analysis not only of primary commodity production (the historical geographies of agro-industrial and extractive capitalism) but also to the critical exploration of contemporary environmental crises and emergent struggles for postfossil—and postcapitalist—planetary futures.

Brenner is Lucy Flower Professor of Urban Sociology in the department of Sociology at the University of Chicago, and he previously served as Professor of Urban Theory, Harvard Graduate School of Design, and as Professor of Sociology and Metropolitan Studies, New York University.

Selected publications:

View Neil Brenner’s biography on the Sociology department’s website.