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Common names / Proper names: the commoning potential of toponymic practice with Anna-Louise Milne

Place-naming produces space. It attaches sites to particular cultural texts, it effaces existing practices, it breaks space down into calculatable units. In so doing it conditions encounters in and with the world. This talk will consider the Gare du Nord of Paris as an arena where major public and private investments meet ‘commoning’ practices, from an ‘école des communs’ which runs open workshops on issues ranging from intellectual property to the ownership of the media sphere, to collective gardens and food distributions. At the intersection of toponymic and commoning practices, the talk addresses questions over what the meaning of the ‘common’ is in the context of informal or ‘common’ names, how these cross the institutional and critical force of ‘proper’ names, and how this attention might enable us to develop an analysis of the commons as ‘discordant’ but diffusively ‘in’ the public realm.  

A conversation with Jan Knobloch (University of Cologne).


3 June 2024


Seminarraum 3.03, Global South Studies Center (GSSC),
Classen-Kappelmann-Straße 24, 50931 Cologne

Organized by Global South Studies Center (GSSC).