Spring 2024

The City Past and Present

Listed in: Architectural Studies, as ARCH-130  |  Art and the History of Art, as ARHA-130


Angela Wheeler (Section 01)


(Offered as ARCH 130, ARHA 130) This lecture course introduces key ideas, policies, spatial forms, and conflicts in the historical development of cities around the world. Instead of looking at cities through the lens of individual countries, we will instead explore urban history chronologically (from the early modern period to the present) and thematically (from colonization to globalization), continually tracing transnational flows of people, resources, and ideas. Lectures and readings on case studies from across the globe will encourage students to consider plural histories—how one group or individual may experience a time and place completely differently from another—and what it means to build historical pictures of a city from these sometimes-contradictory perspectives. In the process, we will critically examine evolving approaches to urban studies and urban planning. This course will use key episodes of urban transformation and transition to illuminate the processes, debates, and projects that have shaped modern cities. Through lectures, readings, written responses, and class discussion, we will connect those changes to broader issues of social and political power—housing, cultural preservation, spatial inequalities, modern state power, ecological relationships, public health—and then follow this historical narrative to today’s cities and citizens.

Limited to 50 students. Spring semester: Visiting Lecturer Wheeler.

How to handle overenrollment: Priority to First-years and Sophomores.

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: Responding critically to primary (historical) and secondary (contemporary) materials, and effectively using them in crafting an independent research project; connecting issues in today’s cities to larger historical debates about urbanization, housing, government, civil rights, and cultural preservation; questioning how we know what we know—by exploring the unique histories and blind spots of various professions and scholarly disciplines connected to “urban studies”; communicating ideas through class discussion and research-based writing; analyzing how popular media (movies, music, public art, games, advertisements, novels, memes) participate in cultural and political narratives about city life.

ARCH 130 - LEC

Section 01
Tu 11:30 AM - 12:50 PM WEBS 220
Th 11:30 AM - 12:50 PM WEBS 220