HIST 234-401: On the Move-Landscapes of Migration, Mobility, and Racialization

Spring 2022

Description:

International border closures, stay at home orders, and protests against police violence during the Covid-19 pandemic interrupted daily patterns of movement, reminding us that mobility and immobility are defining features of the urban experience. This course examines how movements of people shape the built environment and how governance as well as design influences those movements. Focusing on the nexus of mobility, immobility, and racialization, we will explore how spaces of migration, tourism, detention, and logistics are imbricated in processes of social inclusion and exclusion. In thinking through the ways that mobility shapes places and perceptions of their inhabitants, we will engage with a variety of global and American cases, as well as those from the Mid- Atlantic region. Scholarship in urban studies, architectural and urban history, geography, and anthropology will inform discussions about conceptions of citizenship, transnationalism, assimilation, and cosmopolitanism.

This course questions totalizing narratives that portray abstract capital flows and formal design interventions as determinative forces shaping urban landscapes. Instead, we will focus on everyday urban mobilities and the incremental modifications made by non-design practitioners to their residential, commercial, and public spaces. A fieldtrip to northeast Philadelphia and exercises in primary source analysis, participant observation, and interviewing will help students develop final projects which investigate a local landscape of mobility. Writing and peer revision workshops toward the end of the semester additionally will provide a collaborative venue within which students will sharpen their writing.

Instructor:

Dr. Alec Stewart, Mellon Junior Fellow in Humanities, Urbanism, and Design