Each year the H+U+D initiative sponsors (1) an undergraduate Gateway Course that introduces the multidisciplinary study of cities, (2) two undergraduate City Seminars, one devoted to a North American city and the other to a city overseas, which examine the city in a detailed, multidisciplinary way, (3) a mixed undergraduate/graduate Anchor Institution Seminar, which examines the activities of one of the Philadelphia institutions that reflects and serves the city’s diverse population, and (4) a graduate Problematics Seminar, co-taught by Design and SAS humanities faculty, on a topic that grows out of the collaborative work of the H+U+D Colloquium.

EALC 220/620: Tang China and Nara Japan

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Spring 2021

H+U+D CITY SEMINAR

Description:

This is a seminar about Tang China and Nara Japan, and Early Heian Japan, Unified Silla Korea, Northeast Asia under Parhae, and Uyghur Inner Asia through their cities, palaces, monasteries, Buddhist art, and painting.  We begin by studying material remains of the two best-documented civilizations of East Asian in the seventh-ninth centuries.  Focusing on material remains of Tang China and Nara Japan, we investigate the validity of the frequent assessment of this period as “international Tang.” We then move to Korea, Mongolia, and Central Asia.

Students will have a wide range of topics to work on.  They will be encouraged to find comparative topics.  This seminar is an opportunity for students to use Chinese, Japanese, or Korean in research papers, but the course has no prerequisites. There are no exams.  Readings will be assigned to the whole group and to individual students for short presentations every week. Undergraduates will write one short and one long paper.  Graduate students will write and present research papers.

Instructors:

Nancy S. Steinhardt, East Asian Languages and Civilizations (School of Arts and Sciences); with guest lecture by Zhongjie Lin, City and Regional Planning (Design)

Time:

Tuesdays, 7:00-10:00 p.m.

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ARTH571/CPLN572: Modern Architectural Theory-Urbanism

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Fall 2020

H+U+D PROBLEMATICS SEMINAR

Description:

A survey of the literature of urbanism from the late eighteenth century to the present. The discussion of original texts will be emphasized.  Students will be responsible for guiding one day of class discussion and writing two papers: (1) a 3-page essay that links one of the texts to current urban issues (due March 4) and (2) a 10-page final essay that analyzes the discussion of an important topic (for instance, monumentality, social sustainability, nature) in at least three of the readings (due May 8). More guidance for the papers will be provided separately.

Instructors:

David B. Brownlee,  Shapiro-Weitzenhoffer Professor, History of Art (SAS), and Zhongjie Lin, Associate Professor, City and Regional Planning (Design)

 Day/Time:

Thursdays, 1:30-4:30, via Zoom

ENGL 541 / AFRC 542 / ARTH 519 / MUSC 542 / URBS 542: Archiving Jazz—Visuality and Materiality in the Phila Jazz Community 1945-2019

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Spring 2020

H+U+D ANCHOR INSTITUTION SEMINAR

Description:

This seminar will be organized around three distinct pathways. First, it will serve as an introduction to Jazz Studies and thus be attentive to the ways that jazz music has sparked an interdisciplinary conversation that is wide-ranging and ongoing. Second, we will be partnering with the African American Museum of Philadelphia to consider jazz within the realm of visual art. In light of efforts to map the “black interior,” how have visual artists (e.g. painters, sculptors, filmmakers, and photographers) sought to represent jazz? Third, we will endeavor to develop partnerships with the Philadelphia (and beyond) jazz community, especially as it pertains to creating and sustaining an archive that serves as way to understand jazz as an instrument of placemaking and also as a vehicle for jazz musicians to take ownership of their narratives. The seminar will meet at the African American Museum of Philadelphia and be team taught with members of the Museum staff. The course will culminate with a virtual exhibit of visual works and archival materials centering on Philadelphia’s jazz community and (if funding is available) a free concert to be held at AAMP. Undergraduates are welcome to register for the course with permission of the instructor

Instructors:

Herman Beavers, Professor, English and Africana Studies (School of Arts of Sciences), in partnership with the African American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP)

 

CPLN 300/FREN 300: The Making of Modern Paris

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Spring 2020

H+U+D CITY SEMINAR

Description:

Paris, Ville-Lumiere, has long been renowned for its urbanity, architecture, and city design. This class will trace the people, ideas, and projects that contributed to this reputation, through an exploration of the city’s built environment as expressed in literature and urban planning projects of the 19th and 20th centuries. Literary readings, including texts by Hugo, Baudelaire, Zola, and Breton, will be studied in conjunction with historical writings and projects ranging from works by Napoleon III and Haussmann to Mitterrand and Sarkozy. The course includes a field trip to France’s capital city during Penn’s Spring Break. Student travel expenses will be subsidized by the Mellon Foundation-sponsored Humanities + Urbanism + Design Project.

Instructors:

Eugenie Birch, Lawrence C. Nussdorf Professor of Urban Research and Education and Chair of the Graduate Group in City and Regional Planning (Design) and Andrea Goulet, Professor of Romance Languages (SAS)

Members of the Paris seminar continued to meet virtually during the Covid-19 pandemic

FNAR 313/613: The Chinese Body and Spatial Consumption in Chinatown

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Spring 2020

H+U+D CITY SEMINAR

Description:

This is a primarily an art and planning course that centers on the representation of the oriental, specifically the Chinese, in both its historical and present contexts. The localization of the Chinese throughout the Americas within Chinatown precincts were also subject to representational imaginings that were negotiated through the lens of civic planning. This course will study the often fraught negotiation between representation and planning. The hyper-urbanization of China over the past several decades has radically altered traditional conceptions of public space in China. Mass migration from rural to urban areas has meant very high population densities in Chinese cities. Traditional courtyards surrounded by housing and other modestly scaled buildings are rapidly disappearing, incongruent with the demands of heated property development Moreover, Chinese cities have comparatively little public green space per resident compared to equivalents in the West. Zoning in Chinese cities is also much more varied for any given area than what one would find in cities such as New York, Paris, and London. Intensifying density of urban areas precludes the construction of large public squares. Furthermore, large public squares tend to be either intensively congested and overcrowded or underused due to their oversight by government that render such spaces somewhat opprobrious in terms of use.

Historically, the urban courtyards of temples, native place associations, and provincial guilds served as public spaces of gathering. They were also sites of festivals and the conducting of neighbourhood and civic business. These spaces have become increasingly privatized or commodified with entrance fees. The air-conditioned concourses of enclosed shopping malls or busy outdoor market streets have become de facto public spaces in China where collective window shopping or promenading is the primary activity rather than bodily repose as one might find in a public space in a large Western city.

The seminar/studio will investigate the meaning of the term public in the constitution of Chinese space, audience and critical voice through firstly the enclave of Chinatown and secondly through examples from China. The course will look into the changing conceptualization of public space in Chinatown as it has declined in its traditional form and become reinvented in the form of high-end shopping centered districts. This flux has its roots in post 1979 China as well as the post 1997 reversion of Hong Kong to China. As such, the course will examine the situation of rapid urbanization in China and the concomitant relationship to new Chinese (and Asian) districts in the North American urban and suburban landscape ie Vancouver, Toronto, Arlington (Virginia), Oakland, Los Angeles valley and Queens (Flushing), New York. In what ways can artists and designers respond to and challenge these conceptualizations of the old and the new within the context of urban change? What of the changing formations of the Chinese subject through the experiences of embodiment? How is public space produced through an ethnically bracketed bodily presence. Findings will be translated by the student as tools for design and public art imaginings This course will include a week s trip to San Francisco to study how intense growth in the city has all but usurped old Chinatown while new and more vibrant Chinese centers have emerged in multiple other districts within the city and the suburbs

Instructors:

Ken Lum, Marilyn Jordan Taylor Presidential Professor and Chair of Fine Arts (Design), and Chi-Ming Yang, Associate Professor of English and Associate Chair of English (SAS)

ARTH 571/CPLN 572: Modern Architectural Theory—Urbanism

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Spring 2020

H+U+D PROBLEMATICS SEMINAR

Description:

A survey of the literature of urbanism from the late eighteenth century to the present. The discussion of original texts will be emphasized.  Students will be responsible for guiding one day of class discussion and writing two papers: (1) a 3-page essay that links one of the texts to current urban issues (due March 4) and (2) a 10-page final essay that analyzes the discussion of an important topic (for instance, monumentality, social sustainability, nature) in at least three of the readings (due May 8). More guidance for the papers will be provided separately.

Instructors:

David B. Brownlee,  Shapiro-Weitzenhoffer Professor, History of Art (SAS), and Zhongjie Lin, Associate Professor, City and Regional Planning (Design)

 Day/Time:

Wednesdays 2-5 PM

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ARTH 270-401 / URBS 276-401: The Modern City

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Fall 2019

H+U+D GATEWAY COURSE

Description:

A multi-disciplinary study of the European and American city in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries. Emphasis is placed on the history of architecture and urban design; political, sociological, and economic factors also receive attention. This year the class considers the development of London, St. Petersburg, Washington, Boston, Paris, Vienna and Philadelphia.

Instructors:

David B. Brownlee, Shapiro-Weitzenhoffer Professor, History of Art (SAS), with guest lectures by Professors Eugenie Birch (City Planning, Design), Annette Fierro (Architecture, Design), Andrea Goulet (French, SAS) Sophie Debiasi Hochhäusl (Architecture, Design), Dominic Vitiello (City Planning, Design), and others tba.

Day/Time:

Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays 11 AM – 12 PM

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ARTH 570-301: Eastern State Penitentiary

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Spring 2019

H+U+D ANCHOR INSTITUTION SEMINAR

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.

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URBS/FNAR 410: Urban Communities and the Arts

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Spring 2019

H+U+D CITY SEMINAR

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.

Photos from the seminar:

 

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

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Spring 2019

H+U+D CITY SEMINAR

Photo: seminar students and instructors with the Deputy Mayor of Paris

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

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

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Spring 2018

H+U+D CITY SEMINAR

Description:

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.

Instructors:

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

CPLN 573 COML 572: Sinking/Floating-Phenomenologies of Coastal Urban Resilience

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Spring 2018

H+U+D PROBLEMATICS SEMINAR

Description:

The premise of this interdisciplinary seminar is that the combination of design and environmental humanities will allow us to develop a complex sense of the interplay of infrastructure and affect in the lived and built environment of coastal cities already contending with sea level rise. Ranging temporally (from Mesopotamia to the dystopian futures of climate fiction) and geographically (from Venice and Rotterdam, from New York and New Orleans, to Jakarta and Dhaka, for example), the seminar explores an array of exemplary historical and present-day sites of delta urbanism as portrayed through views coming from the literary and design communities. We will engage directly with notable experts of design and water management (some of whom will be invited to the seminar) as well as works of literature, philosophy, history, and film.

Instructors:

Eugenie Birch, City and Regional Planning, School of Design and Simon Richter, Germanic Languages and Literatures, School of Arts and Sciences

ARCH 320/ MUSC 320: Media and Memories of the Future—Sound and Environment in Berlin

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Spring 2018

H+U+D CITY SEMINAR

Description:

This seminar will discuss the cultural politics of memory as they develop through the spatial and sonic atmosphere of Berlin. As a city rich in history, and focused on the future, Berlin is a laboratory for how exploration of the recent past is re-scripting the near future. The city becomes a palimpsest—sonically, visually, and spatially—that is available for investigation and interpretation as a means to understand historical patterns and their relationship to novel practices and methods in the present.

The course will be centered around an analysis of both the cultural resonance of memory and also the role of history in future imaginaries. Media –in particular sonic and spatial – cultures will form a prism through which to understand cities, urban practices, and the transformation of the environment. Two of the main threads of this analysis involve the economics of real estate—as evidenced in the transformation from squatting culture to collective inhabitation—and the push towards energy efficiency in buildings and urban space, as evidenced in both regulatory and creative efforts towards refining practices of ecological design and construction. Both these threads are bound up with an increasing attentiveness to the role of sound in urban life: the emergence of techno in Berlin during the 1970s and 1980s was not only a soundtrack to but also an agent of transformation in the evolution of alternative spatial practices during that period, while more recent practices of ecological design sit alongside Berlin’s atypical sensitivity to urban sound design.

Instructors:

Daniel Barber, Architecture, School of Design, and Naomi Waltham-Smith, Music, School of Arts and Sciences

ARCH 370 / ARTH 370: Twentieth-Century New York—Theories, Images, Realities

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Spring 2018

H+U+D CITY SEMINAR

Description:

This interdisciplinary seminar is about twentieth-century New York as both fact and idea: as a real city that came into its own over the course of the last century; and as a corresponding set of images, ideas, and cultural practices—an urban imaginary—in which modernity’s new contents and contexts were experienced, represented, and enacted. The seminar is constructed in part as an argument among four visionary thinkers whose differing theories of the city were shaped by their responses to New York’s development: Lewis Mumford (1895–1990), Robert Moses (1888–1981), Jane Jacobs (1916–2006), and Rem Koolhaas (1944–). We debate the respective hypotheses of this quartet of influential “urban intellectuals” and the central concerns that preoccupied them, from questions of large-scale infrastructure, urban renewal, public space, and environmental sustainability to issues of symbolic representation, identity, and complexity. We also study New York’s rise and role as a leading art center and a dynamic laboratory for new aesthetic ideas. New York has been called the capital of the twentieth century. In revisiting the architecture and art of this emblematically modern city, we also aim to reflect on its future in the twenty-first century.

The class will make two trips to New York to visit current exhibitions and selected sites. It will also make use of an important documentary resource, the Lewis Mumford Papers housed at the Kislak Center. Readings will be supplemented with slide talks and several film screenings.

Instructors:

Joan Ockman, Senior Lecturer, Architecture, School of Design, and Lee Ann Custer, PhD Candidate, History of Art, School of Arts and Sciences

HIST 234: Urbanization and Its Discontents

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Spring 2017

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:

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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ENG 211: Paris Modern—Spiral City

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Spring 2016

H+U+D CITY SEMINAR

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 Rabaté, English, and Ken Lum, Fine Art

Day/Time:

Wednesday, 9:00 am- 12:00 pm

FREN/HSPV 620/COML 625/LARP 720: Paris and Philadelphia—Landscape and Literature of the 19th Century

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Spring 2017

H+U+D PROBLEMATICS SEMINAR

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:

Andrea Goulet, French and Francophone Studies, School of Arts and Sciences, and Aaron Wunsch, Historic Preservation, School of Design

Day/Time:

Monday, 2:00-5:00pm

 

ARTH 301: Modern Architecture Faces the Metropolis

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Spring 2017

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, Urbanism, 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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Spring 2017

H+U+D CITY SEMINAR

Description:

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.

Instructors:

Liz Greenspan, Anthropologist, Urban Studies Program, and Michael Nairn, Landscape Architect, Urban Studies Program

 

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

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Spring 2016

H+U+D PROBLEMATICS SEMINAR

Description:

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.

Instructors:

Naomi Waltham-Smith, Music, and Francesca Ammon, City and Regional Planning/Historic Preservation

ITAL/ARCH 311: Venice—Self-Representation, Performance, and Reception

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Fall 2015

H+U+D CITY SEMINAR

Description:

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.

Instructors:

Fabiani Giannetto

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

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Fall 2014

H+U+D PROBLEMATICS SEMINAR

Description:

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.

Instructors:

Jonathan Barnett, City and Regional Planning, and Liliane Weissberg, Germanic Languages and Literatures

SHST 314/ARCH 314: Rio de Janeiro—Cosmopolitan Urbanism in the 21st century

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Spring 2015

H+U+D CITY SEMINAR

Description:

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.

Instructors:

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

URBS/HIST 210: The City—Baltimore

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Spring 2015

H+U+D CITY SEMINAR

Description:

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.

Instructors: 

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

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Spring 2015

H+U+D CITY SEMINAR

Description:

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.

Instructors:

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

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Spring 2014

H+U+D CITY SEMINAR

Description:

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.

Instructors:

Michael Nairn, Urban Studies, and Eric Schneider, History

 

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ARTH 581-404/ARCH 712-003: Topics in Modern Architecture—Architects, Historians, and the Invention of Modern Architecture

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Spring 2014

H+U+D PROBLEMATICS SEMINAR

Description:

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. (cross-listed as ARCH 712-003: Topics in History and Theory)

Instructors:

David B. Brownlee,  Shapiro-Weitzenhoffer Professor, History of Art (SAS), and Daniel BarberAssistant Professor, Architecture (Design)

Day/Time:

Tuesdays 3-6 PM

 

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