Each year the H+U+D initiative will sponsor two undergraduate City Seminars, one devoted to a North American city and the other to a city overseas. The seminars will examine a single city in a detailed, multidisciplinary way that includes humanities and design. In addition, H+U+D will sponsor a graduate seminar that will be team taught with faculty from design and humanities disciplines. Topics for this seminar will be an outgrowth of the H+U+D Colloquium and change from year to year.

HIST 234: Urbanization and Its Discontents

+
Description:
Urbanization emerged as the subject of political debate and artistic intervention alongside the formation of a predominantly industrial world-economy in the 19th century. Across Europe, America, and the colonized world, artists, designers, and theorists sought to alter the processes of urbanization and imagine alternatives to metropolitan society. During decolonization and the Cold War, urban discourse and practice increasingly focused on the management of scarce resources, and on the ethics of centralizing urban managerial authority in the hands of a few experts. The contemporary global economy, unlike the antecedent world-economy, is remarkably non-urban: financial and political power is no longer exclusively concentrated in a few metropolitan cities, and initiatives to reshape urbanization are now principally conceived of in terms of eco-systems, historic preservation, or human rights. This seminar examines debates that informed the theory and practice of modern city-making. Readings include Charles Baudelaire, W.E.B. Du Bois, M.K. Gandhi, Siegfried Kracauer, Octavio Paz, Huey P. Newton, Jane Jacobs, Saskia Sassen, and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. Artistic works and designs analyzed include Nadar’s Egouts de Paris, garden suburbs in Cape Town, Corbusier’s Chandigarh, Doxiadis in Baghdad, the Ford Foundation plan for Calcutta, self-help housing in Lima, Anand Patwardhan’s Humara Shahar, and HBO’s The Wire.
Instructor:

Shiben Banerji, H+U+D Jr. Fellow

Download PDF

ENG 211 Paris Modern: Spiral City

+

Description:

The course focuses on Paris and the idea of “the future in the past.” By this we are interested in the recursive temporality of design, and its hidden laws. In this sense, Paris is the quintessentially  modernist city precisely because of the constant abutment or overlapping of the past with the present—Le Louvre’s Pyramid, the Villes Nouvelle of planned suburbs such as Les Espaces d’Abraxas with its merger of science fiction with neoclassicist traits.  Walter Benjamin wrote his in his Arcades Project book that “Each generation experiences the fashions of the one immediately preceding it as the most radical anti- aphrodisiac imaginable.”  However, a present generation may end up embracing the styles of grandparent’s or earlier forebears.  The course looks at Paris in terms of the dialectic between future and present, in that order.

Instructors: 

Jean-Michel Rabate,English
Ken Lum, Fine Art

Day/Time:

Wednesday, 9:00 am- 12:00 pm

Location: 

TBD

FRENCH/HSPV 620 Paris and Philadelphia: Landscape and Literature of the 19th Century

+

Description: 
This course explores the literal and literary landscapes of 19th-century Paris and Philadelphia, with particular attention to the ways in which the built environment is shaped by and shapes shifting ideologies in the modern age. Although today the luxury and excesses of the “City of Light” may seem worlds apart from the Quaker simplicity of the “City of Brotherly Love”, Paris and Philadelphia saw themselves as partners and mutual referents during the 1800s in many areas, from urban planning to politics, prisons to paleontology. This interdisciplinary seminar will include readings from the realms of literature, historical geography, architectural history, and cultural studies as well as site visits to Philadelphia landmarks; and will facilitate in-depth research by students on topics relating to both French and American architectural history, literature, and cultural thought. We’ll be looking for overlaps, resonances and differences, and different ways of reading the City.

Instructors:

Professors Andrea Goulet (SAS) and Aaron Wunsch (Design)

Day/Time:

Monday, 2:00-5:00pm

Location:

 

HIST 234 Urbanization and Its Discontents:

+
Description:
Urbanization emerged as the subject of political debate and artistic intervention alongside the formation of a predominantly industrial world-economy in the 19th century. Across Europe, America, and the colonized world, artists, designers, and theorists sought to alter the processes of urbanization and imagine alternatives to metropolitan society. During decolonization and the Cold War, urban discourse and practice increasingly focused on the management of scarce resources, and on the ethics of centralizing urban managerial authority in the hands of a few experts. The contemporary global economy, unlike the antecedent world-economy, is remarkably non-urban: financial and political power is no longer exclusively concentrated in a few metropolitan cities, and initiatives to reshape urbanization are now principally conceived of in terms of eco-systems, historic preservation, or human rights. This seminar examines debates that informed the theory and practice of modern city-making. Readings include Charles Baudelaire, W.E.B. Du Bois, M.K. Gandhi, Siegfried Kracauer, Octavio Paz, Huey P. Newton, Jane Jacobs, Saskia Sassen, and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. Artistic works and designs analyzed include Nadar’s Egouts de Paris, garden suburbs in Cape Town, Corbusier’s Chandigarh, Doxiadis in Baghdad, the Ford Foundation plan for Calcutta, self-help housing in Lima, Anand Patwardhan’s Humara Shahar, and HBO’s The Wire.
Instructors:

Dr. Shiben Banerji, Mellon Junior Fellow in Humanities, Urbanism and Design

Day and Time:

Thursday,  130-430 pm

Room:

EDUCATION BUILDING 007

Download PDF

ARTH 301 Modern Architecture Faces the Metropolis:

+

Description:
Architecture, wrote Walter Gropius in 1935, grows “from the house to… the street; from the street to the town; and finally to the still vaster implications of regional and national planning.” An unusual claim for today, but think of a modernist architect and the image of Le Corbusier’s hand mid-flight over a model of his radical plans for Paris comes easily to mind. This seminar will excavate and critically examine modern architecture’s quest for control over the urban fabric. While we will review some key urban proposals, advanced primarily between the 1920s and the 1950s in Europe and America (among these will be projects by Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius, Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Kahn, and the Smithsons), our main concern will be to trace how architects attempted to redefine and expand their professional role so as to encompass planning at all scales. We will set the theories of modern “masters” against the daily work of average practitioners, and pay close attention to turf wars among architecture, planning, and engineering as specialized disciplines. We will also consider how conceptual links between urban design and social engineering were invented and challenged in the context of broader developments in social, political, and economic history. Our goal will be to understand the metropolis as a focus of existential questions about architecture’s professional agency in a changing world.

Instructor:

Dr. Anna Vallye, Mellon Junior Fellow in Humanities Urbansim and Design

Day and Time:

Monday, 2:00-5:00 pm

Room:

JAFFE 104

 

Download PDF

FREN675/LARP Paris and Philadelphia: Landscape and Literature of the 19th Century

+

This course explores the literal and literary landscapes of 19th-century Paris and Philadelphia, with particular attention to the ways in which the built environment is shaped by and shapes shifting ideologies in the modern age.  Although today the luxury and excesses of the “City of Light” may seem worlds apart from the Quaker simplicity of the “City of Brotherly Love”, Paris and Philadelphia saw themselves as partners and mutual referents during the 1800s in many areas, from urban planning to politics, prisons to paleontology.  This interdisciplinary seminar will include readings from the realms of literature, historical geography, architectural history, and cultural studies as well as site visits to Philadelphia landmarks; and will facilitate in-depth research by students on topics relating to both French and American architectural history, literature, and cultural thought.  We’ll be looking for overlaps, resonances and differences, and different ways of reading the City.  The course is co-taught by Professor Andrea Goulet, French and Francophone Studies and Aaron Wunsch, Landscape Architecture.

URBS/HIST 210- The City: Baltimore and The Wire

+

The HBO series The Wire has been called a “visual novel” by David Simon, its co-producer, and according to Slate, it is “the best TV show ever broadcast in America.” This semester Urbs/Hist 210 will focus on Baltimore and use The Wire as one of its core “texts.” The course will explore the history and development of the city and its institutions, with a topical focus on issues such as industrialization and deindustrialization; urban renewal and the role of universities; public education; policing and the criminal justice system; drugs and underground markets; institutions; public housing; and Baltimore’s so-called renaissance amidst persistent poverty. The seminar will include field trips both in Philadelphia and a concluding all-day trip to Baltimore. The Wire contains scenes of graphic violence, sexual behavior, and profanity, so be forewarned.

HSPV 638 / MUS 621- Cities and Sound: The Spatial Politics and Practices of Sound in Modern Urban Life

+

This seminar will examine the role of sound in shaping modern urban spaces and life. While music plays a large part in the sounds of the city, we will focus on soundscapes more broadly. From the late 19th century through the present, and in geographies spanning from Paris to Philadelphia, we will explore the making, meaning, and experience of sound for varied populations; the politics of sound as an instrument of power; and the policies of noise regulation. As an interdisciplinary seminar supported by the Mellon Humanities+Urbanism+Design Initiative, the course will bring together students and faculty from diverse fields to probe the subject of urban sound through the lenses of both theory and practice. We will read across a wide variety of disciplines, including urban and environmental history, sound studies, urban geography, the history of sensation, musicology, anthropology, and critical theory. We will engage with sound archives, installations, films, and photographs, and also have an opportunity to make field recordings of our own. The format of the final project is flexible and could include a research paper, theoretical essay, visualizations, GIS mapping, sonic compositions, short film, or other types of media. 

This course will be co-taught by Professor Naomi Waltham-Smith, Music and Professor Francesca Ammon, City and Regional Planning/Historic Preservation

VENICE: SELF-REPRESENTATION, PERFORMANCE, AND RECEPTION

+

Defined by Petrarch as “mundus alter,” that is, another world, Venice’s seductive power stems from her subtle balance of contradictions: her architecture of masses emerging weightlessly from the lagoon, her urban gardens planted in the middle of the sea—as Henry James aptly observed—and her Veniceness—venezianità—taking shape alongside a melting pot of cultures.

This course examines the Venetians’ multiple attempts to pin down and represent aspects of their elusive identity in written, visual and built form; the release of their social identities in the ephemeral realities of the carnival and the theater; and the reception of Venetian character and traditions by the foreign travellers that have been fascinated with the lagunar city throughout the centuries.

Structured as a series of topics and case studies (including primary visual and written sources; buildings and gardens) the course aims to introduce students to the material and cultural landscape of Venice and develop their ability to “read” the urban fabric and its unique physical context (which in the past extended beyond the islands of the lagoon) by identifying its various features and explaining the political, social, economic and cultural agendas that brought them into existence. In addition to a trip to Venice during Fall Break, the course includes visits to Van Pelt Library’s Rare Books Room to peruse some of the primary references addressed by the 2 course, from Colonna’s Hypnerotomachia Poliphili to Sansovino’s Venetia citta nobilissima, and visits to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to examine the museum’s collection of etchings by Giovanni Antonio Canaletto and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo.

COML 603/ARTH 781-Does Architectural Theory Define Architectural Practice?:

+

This seminar links architectural and aesthetic theory with practice. Through a review of writings by academics and practitioners, students will identify distinct theories and evaluate their influence on practice. Co-taught by Professors Jonathan Barnett, City and Regional Planning and Liliane Weissberg, Germanic Languages and Literatures

STSC/ARCH – Rio de Janeiro: Cosmopolitan Urbanism in the 21th century

+

The city of Rio de Janeiro has been an important site for the development of a range of urban and architectural strategies across the 20th century. This course will explore the recent history of urban change in the city as means to understand the multiple and contingent pressures placed on metropolitan centers in the 21st century, as well as the ways in which specific sites have been seen to anchor national, global, and universal processes and imaginaries. Students will travel to Rio de Janeiro over spring break.  Co-taught by Professors Daniel Barber, Architecture and John Tresch, History and Sociology of Science

Notes from the Seminar:RioTrip4

The course “Cosmopolitan Urbanism: Rio de Janeiro” has taken as its object of study the uneven ways in which urban development proceeds through international and universalist models. It is taught by Daniel Barber, Assistant Professor of Architecture in the School of Design, and John Tresch, Associate Professor in History and Sociology of Science in the School of Arts and Sciences. Rio is an ideal site, not only in that the city has increasingly faced pressure to enter the network of ‘global cities’ over the past few decades, but also because its urban development has been subject to so many different forces, both internal and external, since its founding.The first part of the course was spent examine the history of Rio in the context of the history of architecture and urban planning, on the one hand, and the history of universal tropes of science, positivism, and development on the other. Special attention was also paid to the importance of Rio as a site for the elaboration of Brazilian identity, and for how this has played our recently through the recent World Cup and the upcoming Olympics.

 

RioTrip5We then traveled to Rio and visited a heterogeneous collection of buildings and sites in order to explore the richness and diversity of the city. Some highlights: a visit inside the Palacio Capanema (also called the Ministry of Education and Heath, Lucio Costa, Oscar Niemeyer, et. al., 1936-1943); a tour of the renovations to the Pedregulho housing complex (Affonso Eduardo Reidy, 1947-1951); a soccer match at Maracana; and a visit to the Foundation Oswaldo Cruz including the Museum of Life and the original building that housed the laboratories for many of the public health experiments and vaccines that were so significant to the development of Brazil - and remain crucial to the region today. Now that we are back at Penn, students are hard at work preparing the collective project “RioAtlas: Cosmopolitan Urbanisms” in which they are expanding on their exploration of these different sites organizing them into a web-based interface. Students for the course are divided between the Architecture Department, History and Sociology of Science, and related fields. They are: Megan Bridges, Kahaari Kenyatta, Carissa Lim, Paul Marett, Martina Merlo, Ariela Osuna, Natalia Revelo, Monique Sager, Emma Schad, Emily Siegel, Sean Turner, and Lindsay Wong. We have also benefited from the experience of our TAs Erin Putalik, PhD Student in Architecture, and Rosanna Dent, PhD Candidate in History and Sociology of Science, and from the knowledge of Rio (and of Brazilian Portuguese) of Daniella Costa, a visiting scholar in Historic Preservation in the School of Design.

 

Students on the terrace of Palacio Capanema

Students on the terrace of Palacio Capanema

URBS/HIST 210 The City-Baltimore:

+

Through reading sociological, historical, theoretical, and primary texts, maps and photographs, and through ethnographic explorations and tours of the city, this course will explore the presence of the past in the city of Baltimore. It will examine the evolution of social, spatial and physical systems, different kinds of urban  and suburban places, and the encoding of wealth and power as well as inequality and  poverty on the urban landscape. Co-taught by Professors Eric Schneider, Assistant Dean and Michael Nairn, Urban Studies.

Notes from the Class:

Baltimore

The first stop in Baltimore was the field headquarters for Forest City, the master redeveloper for Science and Technology Park, one of the first phases of the East Baltimore Development Initiative.  There we met with Tamara Woods, City of Baltimore Community Planner for East Baltimore and Eric Holcomb, Executive Director for the Baltimore Commission for Historical & Architectural Preservation. Having studied Baltimore through The Wire for eleven weeks, we wanted to end the course on a note of optimism. Ms Woods brought up many interesting questions including:

  • How can the City encourage economic development in such severely disinvested neighborhoods?
  • Can one call the current redevelopment process gentrification when there was a neighborhood vacancy rate over 50% and most of the community institutions had failed?
  • For what population does one plan?
  • How does one make the existing residents whole in the face of such massive change?

Our students prepared by listening to a lecture on EBDI, looking at the literature on anchor institutions, in this case the Johns Hopkins Medical Complex, and by reading Clarence Stone’s article, “The Empowerment Puzzle:  In Pursuit of a New Dimension in Governing the City” (Stone, Clarence N., The Empowerment Puzzle: In Pursuit of a New Dimension in Governing the City (2013). APSA 2013 Annual Meeting Paper; American Political Science Association 2013 Annual Meeting. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2300658)

At MtVernonPlace

After lunch, we rode the water taxi from Fells Point to Fort McHenry. Because Baltimore’s history is that of a port and mercantile city, we wanted to experientially establish the centrality of the Bay as a major theme. The entire second season of The Wire focuses on the changing economic circumstances for union workers on the docks.

The third stop was Federal Hill, across the Inner Harbor from Central Baltimore. One of the first pieces we read was David Harvey’s, “A view from Federal Hill” in which he questions the logic of the capital structure that brought us such projects as the Charles Center. In the piece he analyzes the view as a portrait

 

The last stop was Mt Vernon Place up the hill from the central business district and the locus of 19th Century wealth. It is a grand place but allowed us to discuss much more about the history of capital and its deployment in 19th Century Baltimore.

Baltimore Classs

FREN/CPLN 300- The Making of Modern Paris:

+

An exploration of the city’s built environment as expressed in literature and in executed urban planning projects. Students will survey developments in the city from the post Revolutionary period to the mid-twentieth century. Included are readings from Hugo, Balzac, and Vernon and others. Projects ranging from works by Napoleon III and Haussmann to Mitterrand and Sarkozy to be examined. Course includes field trip to Paris during Spring Break. Co-taught by Professors Eugenie Birch, City and Regional Planning and Andrea Goulet, Romance Languages

Notes from the Seminar:

2015-03-09 12.23.27 (2)Twelve SAS and Wharton undergraduates, enrolled in FREN 300/CPLN300, The Making of Modern Paris are spending their Spring vacation in Paris where they are exploring the city, noting the sites portrayed in the 19th and 20th century fiction they have been reading while tracking the historical development and city planning efforts in the City of Lights. Their course, taught by Andrea Goulet, Associate Professor of French, Department of Romance Languages,, School of Arts and Sciences and Eugenie Birch, Nussdorf Professor of Urban Research, Department of City and Regional Planning, School of Design, assisted by Simon Mosbah, PhD candidate in City and Regional Planning and native of Paris, is funded by Penn’s Humanities, Design and Urbanism (H+U+D) project, funded by the Mellon Foundation to foster the integration of the Humanities and the Design professions around topics of urbanism. The program is sponsoring two international city seminars, this one on Paris and the other focused on Rio de Janiero, is taught by Daniel Barber, Assistant Professor of Architecture and John Tresch, Associate Professor, Department of History and Sociology of Science. In both instances, these courses represent the first time each team has taught together.

Tour of Opera de Paris Palais GarnierIn the French/City Planning course field trip, students are engaging in extensive walking tours of old and new Paris and visiting important exhibits – they caught one on Viollet-le-Duc (the restorer of Notre Dame and many other Parisian sites) and another on utopian visions of Paris that closed the day after their arrival. They crawled through the city’s underground limestone quarries and moved quickly through its famous sewers. They have traveled by Metro. streetcar and bus to the Bibliothèque nationale and new development on city’s outskirts and sat in boxes at the Opera Garnier. They have visited the Carnavalet (Museum of the City of Paris) and the Louvre. They have sampled crepes and falafel and are negotiating the local boulangeries for breakfast. They have walked the routes of Quasimodo and Esmeralda (from Victor Hugo’s Notre Dame of Paris) and visited Printemps and Galeries Lafayette to get a taste of the department store featured Emile Zola’s Ladies Paradise – novels they read in class before the trip. They are working in teams of two spending a full day, studying a site of their choice to understand both its physical design and expression in the arts. Student participants are: Daniella Castillo, Danielle Cerepnalkovic, Fangyu Chen, Andrea Davidson, Matthew Degagne, Shuhao Fan, Manuela Gonzalez, Kristen Kelly, Maria Manghi, Ethan Skaggs, Ciara Stein, and James Steitle.

See student pictures below.

Student pics of Paris

URBS/HIST 210: The City- Philadelphia

+

How do we “read” a city? What is the relationship between downtown and suburb,  rowhouse and ranch house, shopping district and mall, gated community and public  plaza? What is the meaning of place (“neighborhood” or “home”) and how are our lives  defined by it? How do we function as both the producers and products of place? How  does the hand of the past shape the present? Through reading sociological, historical,  theoretical, and primary texts, maps and photographs, and through your ethnographic  explorations and tours of the city, we will explore the presence of the past in the city  around us, the evolution of social, spatial and physical systems, different kinds of urban  and suburban places, and the encoding of wealth and power as well as inequality and  poverty on the urban landscape.

Download PDF View Course Details

ARCH 712-003: Topics in History and Theory (Graduate)

+

This seminar will examine the creation of the literature of modern architecture, emphasizing the diversity of its authors and its location at the intersection of design practice and humanistic scholarship.

As texts, we have chosen a sampling of major writings dating from the nineteenth century until our own time. While the focus will be on the built environment, we shall strive to establish a broad context for our discussion in the history of ideas, and specifically the relationship between artistic theory and praxis in the era when specialization established the boundaries between the intellectual disciplines with which we are familiar today.

The seminar is designed to bring together graduate students from the School of Design and graduate students in the humanities programs of the School of Arts and Sciences. It is sponsored by the Humanties+Urbanism+Design project of the Schools of Design and Arts and Sciences, which is funded by the Mellon Foundation. That project is designed to foster cross-disciplinary discussions of this kind.

Download PDF

ARTH 581-404: Topics in Modern Architecture

+

This seminar will examine the creation of the literature of modern architecture, emphasizing the diversity of its authors and its location at the intersection of design practice and humanistic scholarship.

As texts, we have chosen a sampling of major writings dating from the nineteenth century until our own time. While the focus will be on the built environment, we shall strive to establish a broad context for our discussion in the history of ideas, and specifically the relationship between artistic theory and praxis in the era when specialization established the boundaries between the intellectual disciplines with which we are familiar today.

The seminar is designed to bring together graduate students from the School of Design and graduate students in the humanities programs of the School of Arts and Sciences. It is sponsored by the Humanties+Urbanism+Design project of the Schools of Design and Arts and Sciences, which is funded by the Mellon Foundation. That project is designed to foster cross-disciplinary discussions of this kind.

Download PDF