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Stefan Kipfer

Stefan Kipfer



PhD Political Science, York University
MES Urban Political Economy and Ecological Politics, York University
BA Political Science and French, York University

Research Keywords

Urbanization; Urban Politics & Planning; Social & Political Theory; Comparative Urban Politics & Planning; Theories Of Space, Politics & Society; Marxism; Anti-colonialism.

Graduate Supervision

I supervise students in the graduate programs in Environmental Studies (PhD, MES), Geography (PhD, MA) and Political Science (PhD, MA).

Stefan Kipfer

Contact Information

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, ON M3J 1P3

416 736 2100

Research Interests

My research is driven by two basic, closely interconnected questions: What is the relationship between spatial organization, the social order and the exercise of political rule? And, in turn, what spatial and urban strategies can help us build the kind of political transformations we need to build a genuinely sustainable, egalitarian and radically democratic future for the planet?

My empirical research has focused on urban politics, urbanization and planning in transnational and comparative context. In various parts of Euro-America, including the global cities Zurich, Toronto and Paris, I have researched a range of urban social movements and their geographical imaginaries. I have investigated various forms of state intervention, from urban-regional planning, public housing and public transit to economic and environmental policy. Most recently, I have moved to research the rise of right-wing populism and neo-fascism as well as emancipatory responses to these far-right tendencies and regimes.

In my research and my teaching, I have foregrounded the capitalist and racialized dimensions of urbanization, planning and politics. I have done so in part by highlighting the imperial and (neo-)colonial relations that connect the global North to the global South. For this purpose, I have sought inspiration from marxian, anti-colonial, feminist, and political-ecological theories of politics, society and space. I have for example worked to connect insights, concept and methods from the works of thinkers like Henri Lefebvre, Frantz Fanon, Antonio Gramsci, and Walter Benjamin.

Research Projects

  • Public housing and place-based policy in comparative context (to 2009-2015)
  • Resisting the tide: Modalities of resistance against right-wing populism and neo-fascism (ongoing)
  • Public transit, mobility and the quest for free public services (ongoing)
  • Politics, Hegemony and Urbanization: Henri Lefebvre, Antonio Gramsci, Frantz Fanon (ongoing)

Research Output


(Forthcoming) City, Country and Urban Revolutions: Urbanization and (Neo-)Colonialism in Transatlantic Context (Leiden: Brill)

(2019) Le temps et l'espace de la (dé)-colonisation: Dialogue entre Fanon et Lefebvre (Paris: Eterotopia)

Edited Books

(2017) Governing Cities Through Regions: Canadian and European Perspectives (With Roger Keil, Pierre Hamel, Julie-Anne Boudreau) (Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier Press

(2013) Gramsci: Nature, Space, Politics (With Mike Ekers, Gillian Hart, and Alex Loftus). London: Blackwell.

(2008) Space, Difference, and Everyday Life: Henri Lefebvre and Radical Politics (With Kanishka Goonewardena, Richard Milgrom, Christian Schmid). New York: Routledge.

Book Chapters

(2021) “Fanon for a post-imperial world: on universals and other human matters” in Partisan Universalism: Essays in honor of Ato Sekyi-Otu Eds. Gamal Abdel-Shehid and Sofia Noori (Wakefield: Daraja Press) 10-31.

(forthcoming) “Which Gramsci for (post)colonial times? For a Fanon-Gramsci lineage” (with Ayyaz Mallick) In Gramsci nel mondo nord-americano, eds. Renate Holub, Francesco Giasi, Giuseppe Vacca (Bologna: Il Mulino) 

(2019a) “(De-)constructing housing estates: How much more than a housing question?” Massive Suburbanization: (Re-)Building the Global Periphery Eds. Murat Güney, Roger Keil and Murat Üçoğlu (Toronto, University of Toronto Press)

(2019b) “Peripheries against peripheries? Against spatial reification” (principal author, with Mustafa Dikeç) in Massive Suburbanization: (Re-)Building the Global Periphery Eds. Murat Güney, Roger Keil and Murat Üçoğlu (Toronto, University of Toronto Press) 35-55.

(2018) “Quel Gramsci décolonial? Plaidoyer pour une piste Fanon-Gramsci.” Rosa Luxemburg, Antonio Gramsci actuels Dir. Marie-Claire Caloz-Tschopp, Romain Felli, Antoine Chollet (Paris: Kimé) 359-373.

(2017) “Grand Paris: the bumpy road towards metropolitan governance” (Principal author, with Julie-Anne Boudreau, Pierre Hamel) in Governing Cities Through Regions: Canadian and European Perspectives (Edited by Roger Keil, Pierre Hamel, Julie-Anne Boudreau, Stefan Kipfer) (Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier Press)

(2016) “Populism” in Keywords for Radicals: A Late Capitalist Vocabulary of Culture and Society. Eds. Kelly Fritsch, Clare O’Connor, AK Thompson (Chico, CA: AK Press) 311-318

(2014a) “Espaces de la différence: réflexions de Toronto sur le multiculturalisme, l’urbanisme bourgeois et la possibilité d’une politique urbaine radicale” (with Kanishka Goonewardena) Villes contestées : pour une géographie critique de l'urbain eds. Cécile Gintrac et Matthieu Giroud (Paris: Prairies Ordinaires) pp. 239-60.

(2014b) “Henri Lefebvre and “colonization”: From reinterpretation to research’” (Principal author, with Kanishka Goonewardena) in Urban Revolution Now: Henri Lefebvre in Social Research and Architecture.Eds. Łukasz Stanek, Christian Schmid,, Ákos  Moravánsky. Farnham: Ashgate. Pp. 93-109.

(2014c) “Worldwide urbanization and neocolonial fractures: insights from the literary world” Neil Brenner ed. Implosions/Explosions: Towards a Study of Planetary Urbanization (Berlin: Jovis) pp. 288-305.

(2014d) ‘Urbanisation et racialisation: déségrégation, émancipation, hégémonie’ in Penserl'émancipation: offensives capitalistes et résistances internationales. Hadrien Buclin, Joe Daher, Christakis Georgiou, Pierre Raboud (éd.) (Paris: La Dispute) pp. 111-129.

Peer-Reviewed Articles

(2021a) with Jamilla Mohamud, “The Pandemic as Political Emergency” Studies in Political Economy

(2021b) “Comparison and political strategy: Internationalism, colonial rule and urban research after Fanon.” Urban Geography online.

(2021c) “Remembering Leo Panitch (1945-2020) [Obituary]”, Capitalism, Nature, Socialism

(2020) “On Articulation, Translation and Populism: Gillian Hart’s Postcolonial Marxism.”(With Mike Ekers and Alex Loftus) Annals of the American Association of Geography Online March 16, 2020

(2019) “What colour is your vest? Reflections on the yellow vest movement in France.” Studies in Political Economy 100.3: 209-231

(2018) “Pushing the limits of urban research: Urbanization, pipelines and counter-colonial politics”Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 36.3: 474-493

(2016a) “Neocolonial Urbanism? La Rénovation Urbaine in Greater Paris” Antipode 48.3 : 603-625

(2016b) “Times and Spaces of Right Populism: Notes from Paris and Toronto” (principal author, with Parastou Saberi) Socialist Register 2016: 312-32

(2014) "From 'Revolution' to Farce? Hard-right populism in the making of Toronto" (principal author, with Parastou Saberi) Studies in Political Economy 93 Spring: 137-151

Non-Academic Writing

(2020) The Naked City: Traversing Toronto in Pandemic Times 

(2020a) “Espace urbain et distanciation sociale” June 4

(2020b) 'Views of the Naked City', Progressive City, May 11.

(2020b) “Free Transit is in town, for now” The Bullet April 23

(2019)  “What Colour is Your Vest? The Gilets Jaunes Revolt Shaking France” (With Karen Wirsig) The Bullet February 13.

(2017a) “Macronism: neoliberal triumph or next stage in France's political crisis? The Bullet #1441, June 29

(2017b) ‘Things are serious’: A very brief update on the French Presidential election campaign” The Bullet #1406, May 2.

(2017c) “Projecting Shadows: France before the 2017 elections” The Bullet #1378, March 5

(2016)  “Paris in Transit: A few snapshots” The Bullet #1344, December 20.


Course CodeTitle
ES 2200Foundations of Politics and Planning
ES 4220Urbanization in the Global South
ES 6124Urban-Regional Planning: International and Comparative Perspectives
ES 6173 Politics and Planning
ES 6129 Social Policy and Planning
ES 3225 Regional Governance