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About The Course

This course is a study of the social construction of the city focused primarily on the U.S. context. We will examine various themes related to the development of modern cities beginning with the consolidation of capitalism during the industrial revolution. We will consider the distinct experience of urban life as opposed to other modes of existence, or what Louis Wirth calls Urbanism as a Way of Life. In addition, we will look at forms of stratification such as race and class inequality and their relationship to spatial issues such as suburbanization and revitalization. We will also consider contemporary issues such as globalization, the revival or renewal process of many American cities, environmental issues, as well as the effect of new media in how we conceptualize the city. We will do all of this by focusing on the relationship between individual experiences and the effect of the urban environment on issues of identity construction and interpersonal relations. In order to develop critical thinking and engagement around these urban issues, the course emphasizes weekly writings and class participation in development towards a final paper.

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