Collins Living Learning Center | City Scapes and Invisible Cities
L210 | 12655 | Raina Polivka


In this class, we will turn out attention to underground "scapes" that exist and struggle on
the margins of society. Drug and gang culture, homelessness and prostitution, as well as
issues of criminality and morality are characteristics of every city. These communities are
often concealed under layers of superficial altruism and forgotten by profitable gentrification.
They become, in effect, invisible cities.  This course will examine popular culture's
representations and renderings of the Invisible City. Does popular culture romanticize,
sensationalize or objectify these cities? Are we, as consumers, presented with palatable
images or are we challenged to witness a reality? How are these images used and interpreted
in contemporary society? How do the visible city and invisible city interact with each other?
And finally, does popular culture offer any solutions to these sympathetic cities?  What kind
of moral judgments does popular culture make? In order to address the issues these
questions raise, we will study a multitude of genres and materials including fiction,
nonfiction, film, television shows, documentaries and the graphic novel.