Comparative Literature | Cityscapes
C151 | 8896 | Raina Polivka

Department of Comparative Literature Spring 2007
Pop Culture and Literature
Topic: Cityscapes
*Above Section meets COLL A&H, Cultural Studies Credit Requirements*
Raina Polivka 		TR 11:15-12:30
Some evening film showings

In this class, we will turn our 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 does the visible city and
invisible city interact with each other? And finally, does popular
culture offer any solutions to these symptomatic 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.
Students must be prepared to attend two mandatory movie viewings
over the course of the semester.