Fall 2009

Metropolis: The Politics and Cultures of Cities

Listed in: Political Science, as POSC-09


Doreen Lee (Section 01)


[CP, IR, PT] Cities are increasingly important as the conceptual and physical grounds for understanding how capital, power, and politics intersect. The diversity of our cities ranges from the global cities linking the old world and the new to the impoverished mega-cities of the global south. By surveying the different uses of city space and debating various models of urbanization, such as the formation of European cities and theories of spatial formation in the “non-West,” we can begin to interrogate our model of the ideal city, the “Metropolis” in question. Our course will look critically at these models and their far-reaching implications for the way urbanisation has taken shape. We will read selections from influential theorists of city-space, such as Henri Lefebvre, Walter Benjamin, and Michel de Certeau.  We will also watch several influential films in urban and cultural studies, such as Agnes Varda’s “The Gleaners and I,” Wong Kar Wai’s “Chungking Express,” and Charlie Ahearn’s “Wildstyle” to explore how urban identities have been richly depicted and critiqued. A variety of contemporary and historical case studies of cities across the globe are juxtaposed in this course under city-types, as provocative assertions of the urban.

Limited to 25 students. Preference given to first and second year students. Fall semester. Loewenstein Fellow Lee.


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2008, Fall 2009