Sociology | Advanced Topics
S660 | 3808 | Gieryn


Topic:  Local and Global

I will be team-teaching this course with Professor Jeffrey
Wasserstrom, a historian of 20th Century China, and author of a
forthcoming book on Shanghai.  Jeff and I share a deep interest in
cities--as places, as sites of cultural production and consumption,
as embodiments of hierarchy and difference, as nodes in ever-more-
complicated economic and political networks, as roots of identity and
collective mobilization.  We are interested in learning more about
processes of "globalization"--as these play themselves out *among*
cities and *within* cities.  That is, we are equally interested in
the myriad global forces that shape the position of cities in various
systems of power and resources, and in the effects of such forces on
the local conditions (demographic, economic, political, spatial and
material) of particular urban regions.

Such an agenda will inevitably lead us to read some comparative case
studies of specific metropolises, along the lines of Saskia Sassen's,
The Global City.  The literature on Los Angeles alone could fill 15
weeks, and we will likely dip into Edward Soja and Allen Scott's, The
City: LA and Urban Theory at the End of the 20th Century.  Exciting
developments in urban sociology are also on the docket, including
Logan and Molotch's classic, Urban Fortunes, Richard Sennett's, The
Conscience of the Eye, Mark Gottdeiner's, Postmodern Semiotics, and
Sharon Zukin's, The Culture of Cities.

I have a special interest in connections between places (e.g., urban
neighborhoods) and race/ethnic/class/gender identities, especially in
those circumstances where place-based identities spawn collective
action.  Some books we will read in this category are Linda
McDowell's, Gender, Identity and Place, Raul Homero Villa's, Barrio-
Logos, and Steven Gregory's, Black Corona: Race and the Politics of
Place in an Urban Community.  I am also interested in the theory of
urban "design" in the New Urbanism movement, and we might read Andrew
Ross's savage attack on Disneyville, in his book, The Celebration
Chronicles.

Finally, for a REALLY local look at urban life, we might take
advantage of Mitch Duneier's scheduled visit to Bloomington next
spring by reading his book, Sidewalk.  I encourage anybody interested
in these or related issues to SIGN UP for Section 3808 of S660
(Spring 2002).