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

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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

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

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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:

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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

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ARTH 301 Modern Architecture Faces the Metropolis:

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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

 

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

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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.