History | The City in American Culture
A379 | 14360 | Pease


Above class open to undergraduates and EDUC MA's only

The single biggest consequence of the industrialization of modern
America was the extraordinary growth of the American metropolis. The
project of this course in United States history is to critically
explore a variety of ways that Americans have understood urban
space. Covering the years 1850 to the present, the class will
navigate a wide array of cultural conceptions of the city and its
alternatives through sensationalist literature, photographs, films,
and music as well as scholarship. From prostitution to the suburban
housewife; from con men, to gangsters, to gangstas; and from ethnic
violence to racial riots, we will trace the ways that the urban
landscape was made and remade.

This is a course about people and the communities to which they
belonged. It is about how they saw themselves, how they saw each
other, and how they "mapped" those relationships onto the
increasingly urban and suburban landscape. Where did they see
boundaries to their communities? What power did those "maps" have in
shaping lives? Finally, we will ask, how have past urban cultures
shaped our own understanding of the city?