CSER V3440 The Changing American City. 4 points.
Not offered during 2019-20 academic year.
After decades of economic disinvestment, physical decline and social out-migration, the 1990s ushered in an era of urban revitalization in many U.S. cities, the effects of which resonate today. How can we situate these recent changes within a longer trajectory of urban change in the United States? What do we make of the contested claims on space, belonging and identity made by, or on behalf of, people living in changing urban places? How should we evaluate development interventions whose end results seem so often to diverge from their intentions? This course will develop practical inroads into the problem of the changing American city that will both complement and complicate commonplace intuitions about the urban change we witness unfolding around us. Readings stay close to anthropological and ethnographic perspectives. We will consider how focusing on the meanings and experiences of everyday life in urban spaces can problematize ideals often associated with urban living, including various forms of diversity. Additional readings will introduce students to analytical perspectives on urbanism, race, ethnicity, space and citizenship. Taken together, readings, primary materials, discussions and a field trip will equip students with the tools to approach contemporary urban change with an anthropological lens.