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Courses

Students in a “Greening the City” seminar listen to guide Francis Morrone, author of The Urban Landscapes of New York City, explain the history and landscape design of Central Park.

The following information is from the 2017-18 Vassar College Catalogue.

Urban Studies: I. Introductory

100a and b. Introduction to Urban Studies 1

As an introduction to urban inquiry, this course focuses on the historical evolution of cities, socio-spatial conflicts, and changing cultural meanings of urbanism. We examine the formation of urban hierarchies of power and privilege, along with their attendant contradictions and social movements of contestation, in terms of the rights to the city and the prospects for inclusive, participatory governance. Instructors coordinate the course with the assistance of guest presentations by other Urban Studies faculty, thereby providing insight into the architecture, cultures, economics, geography, history, planning, and politics of the city. The course involves study of specific urban issues, their theory and methodology, in anticipation of subsequent work at more advanced levels. Lisa Brawley.

Two 75-minute periods.

170 Introduction to Architectural History 1

(Same as ART 170) An overview of the history of western architecture from the pyramids to the present. The course is organized in modules to highlight the methods by which architects have articulated the basic problem of covering space and adapting it to human needs. Nicholas Adams.

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.

177a and b. Special Topics 0.5

(Same as AMST 177 and ENGL 177) Topic for 2017/18 a & b: Imagining the City. This six-week course surveys various approaches to thinking and writing about the city. How do our surroundings change us? What power does an individual have to reshape or reimagine the vast urban landscape? We consider a diverse array of depictions: the ethnic underground of Chang-rae Lee's Queens; the forlorn Baltimore depicted in the television show The Wire; the midnight wanderings of Teju Cole and Junot Diaz; the global bustle of Jessica Hagedorn's Manila; present-day graffiti artists and urban farmers reclaiming their "right to the city." Hua Hsu.

First six-week course.

Two 75-minute periods.

185 Incarcerating Philosophies 0.5

(Same as AFRS 185 and PHIL 185) This course is at the intersection of ethics, social philosophy, and political philosophy. It examines: (1) how certain individuals, groups, and philosophies are marginalized and incarcerated, and (2) the response and responsibilities towards such forms of incarceration. The first topic deals with philosophies of incarceration, that is, the philosophical approaches used in order to incarcerate. Quite simply: what are reasons for incarceration? The second topic addresses how various philosophies can be used to oppose and interrogate such methods. Questions addressed will be: how does the physical and psychical act of incarceration operate? What modes of life and thoughts are rendered as 'criminal', and how? Finally: what are the means by which individuals, groups, and philosophies can respond to such methods of incarceration.

Readings include: Plato, Jeremy Bentham, Antonio Gramsci, Michel Foucault, Angela Davis, Frank Wilderson III, Michelle Alexander. Required work includes reading, short weekly writing assignments, class participation, and attendance. Osman Nemli.

Second six-week course.

Two 75-minute periods.

Urban Studies: II. Intermediate

200b. Urban Theory 1

This course reviews the development of theories regarding human behavior in cities and the production of space. The course spans the twentieth century, from the industrial city to the themed spaces of contemporary cities. Literature and topics examined to include the German school, urban ecology, debates in planning and architecture, political economy, and the cultural turns in urban studies. Leonard Nevarez.

Prerequisite(s): URBS 100 or permission of the instructor.

219b. The First Cities: The Art and Archaeology of the Ancient Near East 1

(Same as ART 219 and GRST 219) The art, architecture, and artifacts of the region comprising ancient Iraq, Iran, Syria, Palestine, and Turkey from 3200 BCE to the conquest of Alexander the Great in the fourth century BCE. Beginning with the rise of cities and cuneiform writing in Mesopotamia, course topics include the role of the arts in the formation of states and complex societies, cult practices, trade and military action, as well as in everyday life. How do we make sense of the past through its ruins and artifacts, especially when they are under attack (the destruction wrought by ISIS)? Eve D'Ambra.

Prerequisite(s): ART 105 or 106 or one unit in Greek and Roman Studies, or permission of the instructor.

Two 75-minute periods.

222 Urban Political Economy 1

(Same as INTL 222) This course employs the multidisciplinary lens of political economy to analyze economic development, social inequality, and political conflict in contemporary cities. Why do people and resources tend to concentrate in cities? How does the urban landscape promote and constrain political conflict and distribute economic and social rewards? How are local outcomes influenced by global political-economic forces? The course develops an analytical framework to make sense of a variety of urban complexities, including poverty, segregation, suburban sprawl, the provision of affordable housing, global migration, and the effects of neoliberalism on rich and poor cities throughout the world. Timothy Koechlin.

Not offered in 2017/18.

225a. Renaissance Italy 1

(Same as HIST 225) This course examines the history of Italy between 1300 and 1565. Italian intellectual, political, and religious history is emphasized, but some attention is also given to cross-cultural, gender, and social history. Looking beyond Italy, we also consider developments in Byzantium and the Ottoman Empire and their impact on Italy and Europe. Topics to be covered include the Black Death, the rise of humanism, the Renaissance papacy, and the Catholic Reformation. Finally, throughout the course, we question the meaning of the term "Renaissance": is it a distinct period, a cultural movement, or an insufficient label altogether?  Nancy Bisaha.

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.

230a. Making Cities 1

This course surveys the production of urban space, from the mid 19th century industrial city to today's post-bubble metropolis. Theories of urban planning and design, landscape architecture, infrastructure and real estate development are discussed in the context of a broad range of social, cultural, political and economic forces that have shaped urban space. Looking at American and European case studies, we ask: Who made decisions on the production of urban space? How were urban interventions actually brought about? Who were the winners and losers? Tobias Armborst.

Two 75-minute periods.

232b. Design and the City: Contemporary Urbanisms 1

This course looks at the evolving theories and practices of urban design since 1960, with a focus on current projects and debates. Initially conceived as the design discipline of the public realm, urban design has been transformed and redefined in relation to the changing modes of production of urban space. Today, in an urban environment that is largely shaped by forces and processes beyond the control of architects, planners and designers, the role of urban design is highly contingent on specific actors and projects. In addition to discussing readings from the past 50 years, we study a number of practices and projects from around the world. Tobias Armborst.

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.

235 Quality of Life 1

(Same as SOCI 235) In a world of cultural diversity, uneven development, and political conflict, enhancing quality of life is arguably the unifying principle in our ambitions for social planning and personal life. But just what does "quality of life" mean? How did it become a preeminent concern for policy-makers and the public at large? And what is at stake if we subordinate other conceptions of the common good to this most subjective and individualistic of ideas? This course takes up these questions through an examination of quality of life's conceptual dimensions and social contexts. Topics include global development policy, patient-doctor conflicts over the right to die, the pressures of work-life balance, the influence of consumer marketing, the voluntary simplicity movement, the "quality of life city," and the cultural divides between conservative "Red States" and liberal "Blue States." Leonard Nevarez.

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.

237 Community Development 1

(Same as SOCI 237) This course provides hands-on lessons in nonprofit organizations, urban inequality, and economic development that are intended to supplement theoretical perspectives offered in other classes. Students examine local efforts to revitalize neighborhoods, provide social services, leverage social capital, and promote homeowner and business investment in the contemporary city. A community development initiative in the City of Poughkeepsie (to be determined) provides the case study around which lectures, readings, and guest speakers are selected. The course includes a special weekly lab section during which students volunteer at local organizations, conduct fieldwork, or otherwise independently gather and analyze data in support of the case study. Students are graded for both their comprehension of course materials (in essays and exams) and their participation in the community-development initiative (through fieldwork and the final report written collectively by the instructor and students). Leonard Nevarez.

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 2-hour periods.

245b. The Ethnographer's Craft 1

(Same as ANTH 245) This course introduces students to the methods employed in constructing and analyzing ethnographic materials through readings, classroom lectures, and discussions with regular field exercises. Students gain experience in participant-observation, fieldnote-taking, interviewing, survey sampling, symbolic analysis, the use of archival documents, and the use of contemporary media. Attention is also given to current concerns with interpretation and modes of representation. Throughout the semester, students practice skills they learn in the course as they design, carry out, and write up original ethnographic projects. Candice Lowe Swift.

Two 75-minute periods plus two 75-minute workshops outside of regular class hours.

249 The Politics of City, Suburb, Neighborhood 1

(Same as POLI 249) An examination of the development, organization, and practice of the varied forms of politics in metropolitan areas. Main themes include struggles between machine and reform politicians in cities; fiscal politics and urban pre-occupations with economic growth, racial and class politics; changes in federal urban policies; neighborhood politics and alternative forms of community organization; suburban politics and race/class. Sidney Plotkin.

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.

250a. Urban Geography: Space, Place, Environment 1

(Same as GEOG 250) Now that most of the world's population lives in urban areas, expanding city-regions pose a series of social, spatial and environmental problems. This course focuses on the making of urban spaces, places, and environments at a variety of geographical scales. We examine entrepreneurial urban branding, sense of place and place making, geographies of race and class, urbanization of nature, environmental and spatial justice, and urban risk and resilience in facing climate change. Concentrating on American urbanism, case studies include New York City, Poughkeepsie, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Students also research specific issues in cities of their own choice, such as land-use planning and public space, historic preservation, transit-oriented development, urban ecology and restoration, urban sustainability programs, and citizen movements for livable cities. Brian Godfrey.

Two 75-minute periods.

252 Cities of the Global South: Urbanization and Social Change in the Developing World 1

(Same as GEOG 252 and INTL 252) The largest and fastest wave of urbanization in human history is now underway in the Global South---the developing countries of Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Most of the world's urban population already resides here, where mega-cities now reach massive proportions. Despite widespread economic dynamism, high rates of urbanization and deprivation often coincide, so many of the 21st century's greatest challenges will arise in the Global South. This course examines postcolonial urbanism, global-city and ordinary-city theories, informal settlements and slums, social and environmental justice, and urban design, planning, and governance. We study scholarly, journalistic, and film depictions of Mexico City and Rio de Janeiro in Latin America; Algiers and Lagos in Africa; Cairo and Istanbul in the Middle East; and Beijing and Mumbai in Asia. Brian Godfrey.

Prerequisite(s): a previous Geography or Urban Studies course.

Two 75-minute periods.

254a. Victorian Britain 1

(Same as HIST 254) This course examines some of the key transformations that Victorians experienced, including industrialization, the rise of a class-based society, political reform, and the women's movement. We explore why people then, and historians since, have characterized the Victorian age as a time of progress and optimism as well as an era of anxiety and doubt. Lydia Murdoch.

257b. Genre and the Postcolonial City 1

(Same as AFRS 257 and POLI 257) This course explores the physical and imaginative dimensions of selected postcolonial cities. The theoretical texts, genres of expression and cultural contexts that the course engages address the dynamics of urban governance as well as aesthetic strategies and everyday practices that continue to reframe existing senses of reality in the postcolonial city. Through an engagement with literary, cinematic, architectural among other forms of urban mediation and production, the course examines the politics of migrancy, colonialism, gender, class and race as they come to bear on political identities, urban rhythms and the built environment. Case studies include: Johannesburg , Nairobi, Algiers and migrant enclaves in London and Paris. Samson Opondo.

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.

258 Sustainable Landscapes: Bridging Place and Environment in Poughkeepsie 1

(Same as GEOG 258) Geographers have long understood the relationship of aesthetic landscapes and place to include concepts of identity, control, and territory. Increasingly we consider landscape aesthetics in the context of sustainability and environmental quality. How do these contrasting sets of priorities meet in the process of landscape design and land use analysis? In this course we begin by examining regional and local histories of landscape design and land use planning and their relationship to concepts of place, territory, and identity. We consider landscape ecological approaches to marrying aesthetic, land use planning, and environmental priorities in landscapes. We investigate local issues such as watershed quality, native plantings, and storm water management in the context of local land use planning in order to consider creative ways to bridge these once-contrary approaches to understanding the landscapes we occupy and construct. We focus on projects and topics related to the greater Poughkeepsie area. Susan Blickstein.
 

Prerequisite(s): one 100-level course in Geography.

Not offered in 2017/18.

One 3-hour period.

264 The Metropolitan Avant-Gardes 1

(Same as ART 264 and MEDS 264) Radical prototypes of creativity and self-organization were forged by the new groups of artists, writers, filmmakers and architects that emerged in the first decades of the twentieth century. They based themselves in the new metropolitan centers.  The course studies the avant-gardes' different and often competing efforts to meet the economic transformation that industrialization was bringing to city and country alike. Afterward, the role of art itself would be seen completely differently. Molly Nesbit.

Prerequisite(s): ART 105 or ART 106, or permission of the instructor. 

Two 75-minute periods and one weekly film screening.

265 Modern Art and the Mass Media: the New Public Sphere 1

(Same as ART 265 and MEDS 265) When the public sphere was reset during the twentieth century by a new order of mass media, the place of art and artists in the new order needed to be claimed. The course studies the negotiations between modern art and the mass media (advertising, cinema, TV), in theory and in practice, during the years between the Great Depression and the liberation movements of the late 1960s-the foundation stones of our own contemporary culture. Neither the theory nor the practice has become obsolete. Molly Nesbit.

Prerequisite(s): ART 105 or ART 106.

Two 75-minute periods and one film screening.

268 After 1968: the Activation of Art 1

(Same as ART 268 and MEDS 268) This course studies the emancipation of the visual arts after 1968, here and abroad, together with the political and philosophical discussions that guided them. Theory and practice would form new combinations. The traditional fine arts as well as the new media, performance, film, architecture and installation art are treated as part of the wider global evolution creating new theaters of action, critique, community and hope. Molly Nesbit.

Prerequisite(s): ART 105 or ART 106.

Two 75-minute periods and one film screening.

270 Gender and Social Space 1

(Same as GEOG 270 and WMST 270) This course explores the ways in which gender informs the spatial organization of daily life; the interrelation of gender and key spatial forms and practices such as the home, the city, the hotel, migration, shopping, community activism, and walking at night. It draws on feminist theoretical work from diverse fields such as geography, architecture, anthropology and urban studies not only to begin to map the gendered divisions of the social world but also to understand gender itself as a spatial practice. Lisa Brawley.

Prerequisite(s): one of the following: URBS 100, GEOG 102, or WMST 130, or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.

271 Visual Urbanism 1

(Same as MEDS 271) This course examines correspondences between the emergent metrop-olis and practices of urban spectatorship. We approach the moderniza- tion of vision as an aspect of capitalist urbanization, as we engage the shifting media forms that have refracted and regulated modernity's urban conditions from the mid-19th century to the present: camera obscura, magic lantern, window display, crime photography, film noir, snapshot, broadcast television, billboard, hand-held video, SimCity, Google earth, CCTV, immersive VR. Issues we investigate include: the increasing predominance of visual culture in urban everyday life; the distracted attention of the urban spectator as a mode of modern subjectivity; the role of the visual in shaping both official and vernac- ular understandings of the city; the use of city image and urban brand in urban development; the merging of physical and information space as urban landscapes become media-saturated environments; urban surveillance and the use of the visual as a vector of modern political power. Throughout, we approach urban visibility as a fiercely ambiva- lent force: both a source of spectacle and a tool to render legible the hidden powers that structure urban everyday life. Readings include works by Roland Barthes, Jonathan Beller, Walter Benjamin, Guliano Bruno, Susan Buck-Morss, Christine Boyer, Rey Chow, Elizabeth Currid, Jonathan Crary, Guy Debord, Anne Friedberg, Eric Gordon, Tom Gunning, Miriam Greenberg, Frederic Jameson, Rem Koolhaas, Kevin Lynch, W.T.J. Mitchell, Venessa Schwartz, William White, and Raymond Williams. Lisa Brawley.

Two 75-minute periods.

272 Buildings and Cities after the Industrial Revolution 1

(Same as ART 272) Architecture and urbanism were utterly changed by the forces of the industrial revolution. New materials (iron and steel), building type (train stations, skyscrapers), building practice (the rise of professional societies and large corporate firms), and newly remade cities (London, Paris, Vienna) provided a setting for modern life. The course begins with the liberation of the architectural imagination around 1750 and terminates with the rise of modernism at the beginning of the twentieth century (Gropius, Le Corbusier).

Prerequisite(s): ART 105 or ART 106 or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.

273b. Modern Architecture and Beyond 1

(Same as ART 273) European and American architecture and city building (1920 to the present); examination of the diffusion of modernism and its reinterpretation by corporate America and Soviet Russia. Discussion of subsequent critiques of modernism (postmodernism, deconstruction, new urbanism) and their limitations. Issues in contemporary architecture.

Prerequisite(s): ART 105 or ART 106, or ART 170, or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.

275 Rome: Architecture and Urbanism 1

(Same as ART 275) The Eternal City has been transformed many times since its legendary founding by Romulus and Remus. This course presents an overview of the history of the city of Rome in antiquity, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Baroque period, and modern times. The course examines the ways that site, architecture, urbanism, and politics have interacted to produce one of the world's densest urban fabrics. The course focuses on Rome's major architectural and urban monuments over time (e.g., Pantheon, St. Peters, the Capitoline hill) as well as discussions of the dynamic forms of Roman power and religion. Literature, music and film also will be included as appropriate. Nicholas Adams.

Prerequisite(s): ART 105 or ART 106, or ART 170 or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.

277 America 1890-1990 "The Rise and Fall of "The American Century" 1

(Same as HIST 277) In 1941, Henry Luce, publisher of Time and Life magazines, proclaimed the twentieth as "America's century." At mid-century, many Americans agreed with Luce's view of the US as the preeminent global power By the 1980s, however, believing their country was in decline, more and more Americans began losing confidence in America's greatness.    Using primary sources that range from political pamphlets to Hollywood film, presidential speeches to oral interviews, this course looks at America's rise to prominence after 1890 and the nation's so-called decline nearly a century later. We pay particular attention to the social and political changes marking the growth of progressive reform from the 1890s to the 1970s, then trace the rise of conservatism during the final decades of "the American century." Miriam Cohen.

279a. Four Architects of the Modern Era 1

(Same as ART 279) The course considers the architecture, the design work, and the subsequent reputations of the greatest architects of the twentieth century, Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, Alvar Aalto, and Louis Kahn. A comparative discussion of these architects and their work entails a close of examination of their major works and architectural theories in the context of cultural change during the twentieth century. Nicholas Adams.

 

Prerequisite(s): ART 105 or 106 or ART 170, or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.

290a or b. Field Work 0.5 to 1

Individual projects through field work office, under supervision of one of the participating instructors. May be elected during the college year or during the summer.

Special permission.

Unscheduled.

298a or b. Independent Work 0.5 to 1

Individual project of reading or research, uder supervision of one of the participating instructors.

Urban Studies: III. Advanced

300a. Senior Thesis 0.5

A thesis written in two semesters for one unit. The Program.

Yearlong course 300-URBS 301.

301b. Senior Thesis 0.5

A thesis written in two semesters for one unit. The Program.

Yearlong course URBS 300-301.

303 Advanced Debates in Urban Studies 1

This seminar focuses on selected issues of importance in Urban Studies. Topics vary according to the instructor. The course is required of all majors and may be taken during the junior or senior years; it can be repeated for credit if the topic has changed.

Topic for 2017/18a: Critical and Social Design.This course takes up the theory and practice of Design Thinking to explore the messy, emerging terrain of "social innovation," especially with regard to urban policies, practices, and institutions. We locate the emergence of Design Thinking in relation to the perceived failures of modernist urban planning, and track its exponential growth in an era of neoliberal governance and "creative cities." We investigate "human centered design" as a new form of urban expertise, as a broadening range of institutions—hospitals, universities, non-profits, state and federal agencies—scramble to establish divisions of design strategy and innovation.

We ask: How did the world become a design problem? What does it mean to approach urban inequality, social injustice, public health failures, and political disenfranchisement in terms of design? How do DIY urban movements such as Tactical and Everyday Urbanism track within the broader trajectory of design-driven social intervention? How might we intervene in the emerging doxa of Design Thinking itself? How might we critically disrupt the expanding field of design strategy toward deepening democracy and fostering the just city?  

The course is structured as a hybrid of studio and advanced seminar. Informed by recent scholarship in design and in critical urban theory, students learn, practice, and critically reflect on the techniques of design strategy in a series of individual and collaborative projects.

Readings include critical essays and chapters by Wendy Brown, Sara Hendren, Bruno Latour, Eric Olin Wright, J.K. Gibson-Graham, Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby, Chris Le Dantec, Lucy Suchman, Jamie Peck and Neil Brenner, along with a selection of methods manuals such as: the d.school Bootcamp Bootleg; Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, Designing Your Life; IDEO.org's Field Guide to Human-Centered Design, Joan Minieri and Paul Gestors, Tools for Radical Democracy: How to Organize for Power in Your Community; Zaid Hassan, The Social Labs Revolution: A New Approach to Solving our Most Complex Challenges. Lisa Brawley.

Topic 2017/18b:  Memory, Planning, and Placemaking. (Same as GEOG 303) Urban memory and heritage are increasingly important sources of cultural identity, tourism, community development, and political symbolism in our globalized world. Cities recognize heritage sites, historic districts, monuments and landmarks, memorials, nature preserves and other special areas as strategies of placemaking – the social, spatial, and symbolic processes by which distinctive places are planned and authorized by governmental authority. This seminar focuses on the role of place memory in the planning and governance of global cities. We consider both official historic designations and grassroots efforts of "counter-memory" to recognize underappreciated and marginalized groups. By examining the continuities and ruptures of collective memory in cities, this seminar explores how processes of remembrance (and forgetting) affect society, space, politics, community, and identity. Field trips examine the making of historic places in the Hudson Valley and New York City. After examining the theory and practice of historic placemaking, students carry out research on sites of their own choosing. Brian Godfrey.

One 3-hour period.

310 Urban Inequality 1

This course looks at urban inequality - its meaning, its complexity, its causes, and its implications. As centers of political power and capital accumulation, cities have long been sites of socio-economic, spatial, racial and other forms of inequality. The reproduction of inequality - in the US and elsewhere - happens, to a considerable extent, in cities and by urban processes. This course is designed to allow (and force) students to explore the complicated, layered inequality that characterizes cities. How is economic inequality linked - as cause and effect - to political, racial, educational and spatial inequality? How are these inequalities reflected in and reinforced by the built environment? How is inequality within cities linked to globalization, and to neo-liberal policies in the US? How can we intervene, to make our cities more equal and more "just"? How can urban residents articulate and assert their "right to the city"? And how do the answers to these questions vary from city to city? Timothy Koechlin.

Not offered in 2017/18.

314 Seminar in Ancient Art 1

(Same as ART 314 and GRST 314) Topic for 2017/18b: Pompeii: Public and Private Life. The volcanic eruption of Vesuvius in A.D. 79 blotted out life in Pompeii, but the Roman town lives on as a study site and tourist attraction. Its urban development with grand theaters and amphitheaters alongside of taverns and brothels exemplifies high and low Roman culture. The homes of private citizens demonstrate intense social competition in their scale, grounds, and the Greek myths painted on walls. Pompeii gave shape to the world of Roman citizens and others through its raucous street life and gleaming monumental centers. Eve D'Ambra.

Prerequisite(s): permission of the instructor.

One 2-hour period.

316 Constantinople/Istanbul: 1453 1

(Same as HIST 316) This seminar examines a turning point in history-the end of the Byzantine Empire and the rise of the Ottoman Empire. The focus is the siege of Constantinople as seen in primary accounts and modem studies. The course also looks closely at culture and society in late Byzantium and the early Ottoman Empire. Specific topics include the post-1453 Greek refugee community, the transformation of Constantinople into Istanbul, and the role of Western European powers and the papacy as allies and antagonists of both empires. Nancy Bisaha.

Not offered in 2017/18.

One 2-hour period.

318b. Urban and Regional Economics 1

(Same as ECON 318) An exploration of the nature and development of urban areas that begins with an examination of the theory of why cities grow and how individuals and firms choose their locations before covering patterns of land use, suburbanization, transportation, education, crime, and housing and their influence the growth of cities. Dustin Frye.

Prerequisite(s): ECON 201 and ECON 209.

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.

320 Mapping the Middle Landscape 1

A majority of Americans today live, work and shop in an environment that Leo Marx has termed "the middle landscape": the suburban and exurban area between city and countryside. This reading and research seminar investigates some of the middle landscape's peculiar spatial products, such as master planned communities, mega-malls and ethnoburbs. The investigation focuses on the physical environment as well as the general attitudes, fears and economic forces that shaped this environment. After a series of introductory lectures and discussions, students produce detailed case studies, using a variety of mapping techniques. Tobias Armborst.

One 3-hour period.

326b. Machiavelli: Power and Politics 1

(Same as HIST 326) This course examines the life and writings of one of the most fascinating and misunderstood thinkers of the early modern era. By situating Machiavelli (1469-1527) against the backdrop of his times, we gain insight into the Florentine Republic, Medici rule, the papacy, and devastating invasions of Italy by French, Spanish, and German armies. We also explore cultural movements like the study of antiquity by humanists and the rise of vernacular writing and bold new forms of popular expression and political discourse. Several of Machiavelli's works are read, including his letters and plays, The Prince, The Discourses, The Art of War, and The Florentine Histories, as well as some of the major modern interpretations of Machiavelli in historiography and political thought. Nancy Bisaha.

Not offered in 2017/18.

One 2-hour period.

340 Advanced Urban and Regional Studies 1

(Same as GEOG 340) Topic for 2017/18a: Restless Cities: Innovation and social conflicts. In recent years, cities in the United States have become renewed centers of  experimentation and transformation, of marked innovation and socio-political conflict. How and why do these urban innovations emerge, and how do they manifest the changing role of the state, capital, and the dynamic relationships between the local, national, and global? This course explores these questions through a variety of case studies ranging from social movements to social enterprises and the gig economy of AirBnB and Uber. In doing so, we explore a theoretical literature on cities and networks, socio-ecological justice, and especially the geographical concept of scale, which illuminates many of these processes. We evaluate the morality of scale itself: in an era defined by multiple intersecting crises of ecology, democracy, and economy, are local and neighborhood-scale political projects inherently more just and democratic than national ones? Can neighborhood efforts like community gardening and organizing have national and global impacts? Is "small" really beautiful and "big" really evil? We survey the geographic literatures on scale, as well as economic sociology and actor network theory, drawing on advanced theoretical debates on scale. Evan Casper-Futterman.

352 The City in Fragments 1

(Same as MEDS 352) In this seminar, we use the concept of the fragment to explore the contemporary city, and vice versa. We draw on the work of Walter Benjamin, for whom the fragment was both a central symptom of urban modernity and a potentially radical mode of inquiry. We also use the figure of the fragment to explore and to experiment with the situationist urbanism of Guy Debord, to address the failure of modernist dreams for the city, and to reframe the question of the "global" in contemporary discussions of global urbanization. Finally, we use the fragment to destabilize notions of experience and evidence---so central to positivist understandings of the city---as we make regular visits to discover, as it were, non-monumental New York. Readings include works by Walter Benjamin, Stefano Boeri, Christine Boyer, Guy Debord, Rosalyb Deytsche, Paul Gilroy, Rem Koolhaas, Henri Lefebvre, Thomas Lacquer, Saskia Sassen, Mark Wigley, and others. Lisa Brawley, Heesok Chang.

Prerequisite(s): permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2017/18.

356 Environment and Land Use Planning 1

(Same as ENST 356 and GEOG 356) This seminar focuses on land-use issues such as open-space planning, urban design, transportation planning, and the social and environmental effects of planning and land use policies. The focus of the course this year is impacts of planning policies (such as transportation, zoning, or growth boundaries) on environmental quality, including open space preservation, farmland conservation, and environmental services. We begin with global and regional examples and then apply ideas in the context of Dutchess County's trajectory of land use change and planning policies. Susan Blickstein.

Prerequisite(s): one 200-level course in Geography, Urban Studies or Environmental Studies.

Not offered in 2017/18.

One 3-hour period.

367a. Urban Education Reform 1

(Same as EDUC 367) This seminar examines American urban education reform from historical and contemporary perspectives. Particular attention is given to the political and economic aspects of educational change. Specific issues addressed in the course include school governance, standards and accountability, incentive-based reform strategies, and investments in teacher quality. Maria Hantzopoulos.

Prerequisite(s): EDUC 235 or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2017/18.

One 2-hour period.

369 Social Citizenship in an Urban Age 1

(Same as EDUC 369 and HIST 369) During a 1936 campaign speech President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared that in "1776 we sought freedom from the tyranny of a political autocracy." Since then "the age of machinery, of railroads; of steam and electricity; the telegraph and the radio; mass production and mass distribution---all of these combined to bring forward a new civilization and with it a new problem . . . . For too many of us the political equality we once had won was meaningless in the face of economic inequality." Therefore, the President concluded, government must do something to "protect the citizen's right to work and right to live." This course looks at how Americans during the twentieth century fought to expand the meaning of citizenship to include social rights. We study efforts on behalf of labor laws, unemployment and old age insurance, and aid to poor mothers and their children. How did these programs affect Americans of different social, racial, and ethnic backgrounds? How did gender shape the ways that people experienced these programs? Because many Americans believed that widening educational opportunities was essential for addressing the problems associated with the "new civilization" that Roosevelt described, we ask to what extent Americans came to believe that access to a good education is a right of citizenship. These issues and the struggles surrounding them are not only, as they say, "history." To help us understand our times, we look at the backlash, in the closing decades of the twentieth century, against campaigns to enlarge the definition of citizenship. Miriam Cohen.

One 2-hour period.

370 Seminar in Architectural History 1

(Same as ART 370) Topic for 2017/18a: Post-War American Architecture. The course focuses on the career of the architect Gordon Bunshaft (1909–1990) and the architectural firm of Skidmore Owings & Merrill. We examine Bunshaft's career in light of the development of the glass skyscraper (Lever House), the invention of the glass bank (Manufacturers Trust), and the creation of the corporate campus (Connecticut General) in post-World War II America. Nicholas Adams.

Prerequisite(s): 200-level course in architectural history.

One 3-hour period.

383 Indigenous New York 1

(Same as AMST 383) Over half of all Native American people living in the United States now live in an urban area. The United States federal policies of the 1950's brought thousands of Indigenous peoples to cities with the promise of jobs and a better life. Like so many compacts made between the United States and Native tribes, these agreements were rarely realized. Despite the cultural, political, and spiritual losses due to Termination and Relocation policies, Native American people have continued to survive and thrive in complex ways. This seminar examines the experiences of Indigenous peoples living in urban areas since the 1950's, but also takes into consideration the elaborate urban centers that existed in the Americas before European contact. Using the New York region as our geographical center, we examine the pan-tribal movement, AIM, Red Power, education, powwowing, social and cultural centers, two-spiritedness, religious movements, and the arts. We study the manner in which different Native urban communities have both adopted western ways and recuperated specific cultural and spiritual traditions in order to build and nurture Indigenous continuance. Finally, in this course, we understand and define "urban" in very broad contexts, using the term to examine social, spiritual, geographical, material, and imagined spaces in which Indigenous people of North America locate themselves and their communities at different times and in different ways. Molly McGlennen.

Not offered in 2017/18.

One 2-hour period.

385b. Seminar in American Art 1

(Same as ART 385) Topic for 2016/17b: The Visual and Material Culture of U.S. World's Fairs, 1853-1939. From the mid-nineteenth through the mid-twentieth centuries, world's fairs played a crucial role in facilitating the emergence of mass visual culture and shaping important developments in the fine arts, architecture, and urban design. Millions of visitors attended these immense global spectacles, wandering through the elaborate but temporary cities erected on the fairgrounds, in order to view public works of art and architecture, anthropological exhibitions, popular entertainments, and juried exhibitions of the latest cultural, scientific, and technological achievements. This interdisciplinary seminar focuses on the art, architecture, and techniques of display at major world's fairs held in the United States, including New York (1853 and 1939), Philadelphia (1876), Chicago (1893), Buffalo (1901), St. Louis (1904), and San Francisco (1915). We consider how the visual and material culture of international expositions attempted to give form to (or, in some cases, subvert) a new social order during an era of rapid modernization, industrialization, and growing nationalism and imperialism. Lacey Baradel.

Prerequisite(s): permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2017/18.

One 2-hour period.

399a or b. Senior Independent Work 0.5 to 1

Individual project of reading or research, under supervision of one of the participating instructors.