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.

ARTH 570-301: Eastern State Penitentiary

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Description:

Eastern State Penitentiary is one of the most famous and influential buildings in the world. Built in the early nineteenth century as an embodiment of the ideals of prison reformers, it is now preserved as a historic site whose award-winning programming explores contemporary issues of mass incarceration and criminal justice, subjects that many Americans believe to be the civil rights issues of our times. Taught in partnership with the staff of Eastern State, this seminar will explore the management of this “anchor institution.” Topics to be considered include strategic planning, interpretation of the site, the design of programs and exhibitions (including site-specific art installations and theatrical events), architectural planning and conservation, and engagement with diverse constituencies and neighborhoods. The class will explore notable failures and missteps along with programmatic successes, and will examine the ethical choices made when balancing social justice programming and the origination’s Halloween-themed fundraising activities. Assignments will include oral reports, a short writing assignment, and a research paper.

Instructors:

David B. Brownlee, Shapiro-Weitzenhoffer Professor, History of Art
Sean Kelley, Senior Vice President and Director of Interpretation, Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site
Sara Jane (Sally) Elk, President and CEO, Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site

Day/Time:

Tuesday, 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

URBS/FNAR 410: Urban Communities and the Arts

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Description:

Urban Communities and the Arts concerns itself with Arts, Music and Activism in Philadelphia. We investigate the social, economic and cultural fabric from which activism in the arts arises. To do so, we will investigate the histories and artistic reactions to oppression in Philadelphia by drawing on specific examples from various sections of the city and through the media of music, visual art, theater, and dance. The long history of systemic and individual oppression in the US manifests itself in different ways in various urban neighborhoods in Philly and artists of various genres and inclinations participate in activism in many different ways. Examples of artistic and musical responses to the various forms of oppression will be offered and class participants will be asked to bring their own examples to share and analyze. By visiting significant arts practitioners and organizations that provide access to arts education and justice work, participants will have a hands-on experience to unpack the dynamics of artistic production in city life. In addition to art as an outlet for exposing oppression, we will also consider the ways that art and music become markers of the uniqueness of a neighborhood or city, which further complicates the idea of art as a tool for activism. Participants in Urban Communities and the Arts will unpack the role of music and art in defining city or neighborhood cultures by considering a few key sectors that reveal the ways in which cities fail to provide equal access to resources or participate in outright discrimination. At the same time, cities continue to cultivate creative spaces and socio-economic opportunities for economic gain and social understanding through art and music. It is the contradictions that this course will concern itself with and out of our study we will invite course participants to respond creatively. Participants will create either an original work of art, music or intellectual response like a visually interesting research poster as part of a final art/music show. Ultimately students will be asked to reflect back on the role of art in social and political activism to better understand the successes and failures of such movements as they come to define the ethos of city life and its limits.

Instructors:

Dr. Molly McGlone, Associate Director and Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs
Derek Rigby, Artist, Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania

Day/Time:

Monday, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

FNAR 318/518 ENGL 211: Paris Modern—Spiral City

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Description:

Paris has been shaped by a mixture of organic development, which is today perceptible in the ‘snail’ pattern of its arrondisements whose numbers, from 1 to 20, coil around a central island several times so as to exemplify a ‘spiral city,’ and of the violent cuts, interruptions and sudden transformations that again and again forced it to catch up with modern times, the most visible of which was Baron Haussmann’s destruction of medieval sections of the city to make room for huge boulevards. Thus Parisian modernism has always consisted in a negotiation between the old and the new, and a specific meaning of modernity allegorized for Louis Aragon, the Surrealists, les Nouveaux Realistes and Walter Benjamin consisted in old-fashioned arcades built in the middle of the 19th century and obsolete by the time they turned into icons of Paris. The aim of the class will provide conceptual and pragmatic (visual, experiential) links between a number of lectures, texts, theories and films deploying various concepts of the modern in Paris, with a guided tour of the main places discussed. Particular attention will be paid to Paris’s presence in the world as a capital of fashion and as center of a former empire. The class will also look at the development of new suburbs and Grands Projets under President Françoise Mitterand, including the troubled social housing schemes defined by Villes Nouvelles such as Noisy-Le-Grand and Cergy Pontoise. The course that Professors Rabate (English) and Lum (Fine Arts) will lead studies Paris as a work of science-fiction where its many futures are embedded in its many pasts, where discontinuity is a continuous process and where the curving line of the snail’s shell is a line of ceaseless curling resulting in a perennial oscillation where an outside converts into an inside and an inside converts to an outside. The course will include travel to Paris over spring break to get an in-depth look at the topics discussed in class. Student assignments include a Benjaminian portfolio of research material according to a Paris topic of the student’s choosing. The portfolio will be presented in class.

Instructors:

Ken Lum, Professor and Chair of Fine Arts Department, School of Design, University of Pennsylvania
Jean-Michel Rabaté, Professor of English and Comparative Literature, University of Pennsylvania

Day/Time:

Wednesday, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Location:

Addams Seminar Room 111