HSPV 620/HSSC 530: Philadelphia—Urban Experience and Public Memory

Spring 2018



This seminar will challenge students to encounter and interpret the city around them in unconventional ways.  At a time when public commemoration has vigorously and sometimes violently re-entered our country’s public discourse, we wish to re-examine how monuments, memory, politics, and our senses shape our understandings of Philadelphia’s past, present, and possible futures.  Our focus is on two intertwined themes: How we remember and What we remember.  Treating monuments, films, and historical texts as key forms of interpretation – the building blocks of an official if unstable “public past,” we will likewise attend to the “backdrop” of such written and built statements: everyday urban and domestic life as well as more public histories that have remained silent or risen to the surface at key moments.


David Barnes, History and Sociology of Science, School of Arts and Sciences, and Aaron Wunsch, Historic Preservation/Landscape Architecture, School of Design