Prof. Dr. Solomon Benjamin

Mercator Fellow from June to July 2023

Solomon Benjamin is an urbanist working across disciplines of geography bridging into sociology and anthropology and explores property’s embeddings in urban land, and economy constituted around small manufacturing and trade. Property's embbeded materiality shapes Benjamin's collaborations with visual artists and filmmakers in Delhi and Mumbai to think through such dynamic density revealed in urban life-spaces. In his off time, a return to watercolor, ceramic stoneware, and carpentry influenced by the Japanese artist philosopher George Nakashima.

Research areas and focus: the urban as transnational space, the land of local government in the transnational ecosystem of the economy, multiple territorial logics beyond the metropolitan context, critical art practice as urban theorisation.

A picture of Prof. Dr. Solomon Benjamin.

Research Project

Benjamin’s current research in 2023 ‘PROPERTY’S MURMUR: Thinking Occupancies via thick and entangled Tenurial Spatialities’.  Here, property’s density poses fluid and contested spatiality around differentiated and overlapping territorial-scapes – a subtlety revealed as murmur. These locate ideas of social justice, emancipation and ‘enchantment’ within seemingly ‘small’ but numerous moves premised on tenurial practices. Property’s Murmur poses conceptions of land and territory beyond the binary of metro-city, to expand views of agency within indeterminate and often opaque and illegible spatiality.   It calls for quiet ethnographic meandering and conversations to sense and only sometime reveal the working the land-administrative ‘system’ as various constellations of groups as they claim and shape agency.


Publications: (a selection)
  • 2023 (under review) co-authored with Wing Shing Tang, Prasad Shetty, Rupali Gupte Land, Mutual Embeddedness as Property Relations and Territory: Towards a Tongbien Understanding in Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers
  • 2022 (with AbdouMaliq Simone and the Urban Popular Economy Collective) ‘Popular Economies, Territories of Operation for Lives Deemed Worth Living’  in Public Culture 34:3 October Duke University Press.
  • 2022 (with AbdouMaliq Simone) Majority Urban Politics and Lives Worth Living in a Time of Climate Emergencies A Special Issue of the Journal Social Text Social Text 150 • Vol. 40, No. 1 • March
  • 2021 (with Tang Wing-Shing) Land as situated History into ‘Southern’ Urbanism’ Ch. 33 in Michele Lancione and Colin McFarlane (Editors) Global Urbanism Knowledge, Power and the City’ Routledge UK
  • 2019 ‘Occupancy Urbanism: Thinking beyond ‘resistance’ and Political Closure’ in The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Urban and Regional Studies Edited by Anthony M. Orum University of Illinois at Chicago December
  • 2012 ‘The Eleventh City: Practice As Politics’ in ‘Cybermohalla Hub’ Edited by Nikolaus Hirsch and Shveta Sarda Sternberg Press Berlin.
  • 2011 ‘Arguments for the Imperfect City’ in ‘The City as Studio’ (Edition 1) RAQs Cyber Mohalla Press.

Online Talks