a group of us interested in urban planning, architecture, and–got to lay it out plain–ghosts met last year during the meetings of the american anthropological association and the association for asian studies for a panel called “contemporary haunting.” apart from the fun of giving the panel then repairing to a cemetery tour of new orleans, we thought that the papers were worth pursuing together. So i find myself on an editing gig, set for the spring, when i’ll be visiting at national taiwan university

overall, the papers get at the way that ghosts rework social space: not just through legend or insubstantial shivers, but through their materiality, either the traces that they leave in space, or the remains of the dead that offer sticky problems to urban planners. in fact, rather than translucent holographs of a disney haunted mansion, what we find when we consider haunting are bones, houses, documents, land parcels, bank accounts, hanging ropes, earthen mounds, and concrete lotuses. the ghost is a figure that coordinates all of these, often upsetting the normal movement of “progress” or “development.” which is not to say that ghosts are atavistic. they show up in the most modern of spaces. i’ll keep you posted on developments in this work as we move forward