Interview With Saskia Sassen

The following is an audio taken from Saskia Sassen's presentation and interview at ISEA2006.

This interview was conducted by Joel Slayton as keynote conversations at ISEA2006.


As Chair of ISEA2006 and ZeroOne in my introduction I stated that San Jose is a globalized city shaped by the complexities of Silicon Valley and cultural dynamic of California. For better or worse, San Jose is an environment shaped by constant reinventions of commerce, power and creativity. It is this reinvention that is both self-referencing and a model of perceived others. It is not is not distinct, but rather hybridized with many contested representations. And these representations necessitate an critical examination-internally and externally, not so as to validate any claim to uniqueness, but rather as a call to the responsibilities of being a global actor.

As the 10th largest city in the United States, San Jose is an important portal on the eastern edge of the Pacific region, which shares deep historical and cultural connections that range from Latin American, the South Pacific, Southeast Asia to Asia. It was our view that San Jose is one node on a complex and dynamically changing global stage. It was from that perspective that our prestigious Keynote speakers, globalization expert Saskia Sassen and internationally renown curator Lu Jie were invited. I am very pleased to present my interviews which followed their presentations.

Joel Slayton
Director CADRE Laboratory for New Media
Chair, ISEA2006/ZeroOne San Jose: A Global Festival of Art on the Edge

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Saskia Sassen (born in The Hauge, in The Netherlands) is an American sociologist and economist widely considered the leading authority on globalization and international human migration and coined the term ‘global city.’ She spent a year each at the Universite de Poitiers, France, the Universita degli Studi di Roma, and the Universidad Nacional de Buenos Aires, studying philosophy and political science. From 1969, Saskia Sassen studied sociology and economics at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, where she obtained M.A and Ph.D. degrees in 1971 and 1974, respectively. In addition, she obtained a French master’s degree in philosophy in Poitiers in 1974. She was also post-doctoral fellow at the Center for International Affairs at Harvard University.

Currently, Saskia Sassen is the Ralph Lewis Professor of Sociology at the University of Chicago, and Centennial Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics. Her new book, Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages is published by Princeton University Press. She has just completed a five-year project on sustainable human settlement for UNESCO, for which she set up a network of researchers and activist in over 30 countries; the project is published as one of the volumes of the Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems by Oxford, UK: EOLSS Publishers. Her most recent books are the edited Global Networks, Linked Cities, published in New York and London by Routledge and the co-edited Digital Formations: New Architectures for Global Order published by Princeton University Press. The Global City came out in a new fully updated edition in 2001. Her books are translated into sixteen languages. She serves on several editorial boards and is an advisor to several international bodies. She is a Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a member of the National Academy of Secience Panel on Cities, and Chair of the Information Technology and International Cooperation Committee of the Social Science Research Council (USA). Her comments have appeared in The Guardian, The New York Times, Le Monde Diplomatique, International Herald Tribune, Vanguardia, Clarin, and Financial Times, among others.


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