URBS 303 - Advanced Debates in Urban Studies
Semester Offered: Fall and Spring
This seminar focuses on selected issues of importance in Urban Studies. Topics vary according to the instructor. The course is required of all majors and may be taken during the junior or senior years; it can be repeated for credit if the topic has changed.
Topic for 2014/15a: Global Ghetto: Ethnic Geographies of Divided Cities. Global cities have long been divided by their ethnic geographies– spatial divisions of class, race, national origin, religion, gender, and other sources of status and identity. This multidisciplinary seminar explores how and why urban space has become inscribed by such ethnic differences, both historically and in our contemporary globalized world. We consider ideals of ethnic integration and realities of segregation; migratory processes and congregation by choice; alternative discourses of assimilation, multiculturalism, and transnationalism; and the formal and informal mechanisms that maintain – and those that undermine – urban inequality in what Mike Davis calls our “planet of slums.” After tracing origins of the Jewish ghetto in medieval Europe, we turn to how the ghetto has been applied successively to European immigrant, African-American, and other ethnic enclaves of U.S. cities. Controversies concerning gentrification and displacement in New York City’s Harlem, Chinatown, and East Village, and in San Francisco’s Mission District, provide contemporary examples for discussion. To provide global cross-cultural comparison, we also examine the informal favela communities of Brazil and the urban slums of India. In addition to the social sciences, we also consider literary and artistic perspectives on urban murals, graffiti, and other cultural movements. Field trips examine such issues in New York City and Poughkeepsie. Mr. Godfrey and Mr. Simpson.
Topic for 2014/15b: Musical Urbanism. How is the urban experience represented aesthetically? How do cities sustain artistic milieus and cultural production? What is genuinely ‘local’ about local culture? This seminar takes these questions up through the case of twentieth century popular music and related cultural expressions and media. We inquire into the complex and dynamic relationships between (cultural) urbanism and (spatial, economic, demographic) urbanization by examining the urban dimensions of popular music; its inspiration, production, transmission, consumption, and appreciation, as documented by social research, literary fiction, film, and sound recordings. Additionally, we investigate the complementarities and tensions of empirical, literary, and critical methods to knowing and representing the city. Mr. Hsu and Mr. Nevarez.
Prerequisite: URBS 100 and URBS 200 or equivalent.
Note: Enrollment by special permission.
One 3-hour period.
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