History | Visions of European Metropolis
B300 | 4494 | Wood


This course investigates the interrelated symbols of the European
metropolis, from the filth of the sewers to the “filthiness” of
prostitution or juvenile delinquency.  We’ll explore the effects of
electric streetcars and streetlamps, study urban newspapers, and
become familiar with the typical men, women, and children of the big
city.  Based on lectures and readings of historical studies of
European cities, students will become familiar with many of the
issues of modern urbanity that affect us still today.  Short
readings of literature from the period by authors such as the
British novelist Charles Dickens, the Parisian poet Charles
Baudelaire, the Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and American
writer Edgar Allen Poe will provide contemporary portraits of the
city.  Students will also analyze photographs, art, architecture,
and advertising from the period.  The major city of investigation
will be London, the largest metropolis in the world at the time,
with numerous examples from other capitals:  Paris, Vienna, Berlin,
Budapest, and St. Petersburg.  For comparison’s sake we will also
explore smaller cities like Cracow.

Format:  lecture and discussion.  Assignments:  5 short papers (2-
3p), 1 final exam.