523 - Urban Thinking: Ethnographic Approaches to "The City" - This seminar explores core issues in the ethnography of urban space and culture. Topics may include migration, peri-urban developments, culture, power and the meaningful construction of space, consumption and urban life, and identity, agency and community in complex, poly-cultural urban settings, and the processes of urbanization cross-culturally, among others. It will also explore critical contemporary issues in urban anthropology such as homelessness, environmental sustainability, poverty and inequality in urban development and renewal, health and city life, competing communities and urban change, and the emerging politics of new "city-states".
The goals of this seminar are speculative and spectacular, theoretical and wide ranging. It is not a seminar about cities so much as one about thinking about and with cities. Some topics we may consider:
- Millenial Capitols: Paris/Havana/Mumbai
- The Spectacular Menagerie: Animals in and of the city
- Deserted Cities of the Heart: Communes, communities, communitas
- Transfiguring Night: The End of Circadian Rhythm and the Beginning of Survival
- Baby, Get Lost: Jazz, Hip-Hop and the Urban Soundscape
- City as Diaspora/Diasporic Cities
- Fascist Architecture and Forensic Parks
- Believing in Cities and Other Modernist Fairy Tales
This seminar poses questions about the city as a notion and a fact, and examines the curious intersectionalities of space and place in the lives of modern/post-modern identities. It does so in order to make troubling our sense of connection and location, and to render knowing where we are and how to get around uncomfortable. The city isn’t a puzzle to be deciphered. It’s a cipher of our puzzlements.
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