Course: American Urbanism

HC 444H/431H

Professor: Ocean Howell

Graduation Requirement:  This class will fulfill a Social Science Colloquium and an American Cultures (AC) Multicultural class.  If the student has already taken a Social Science Colloquium, this class will fulfill both of the following requirements:  an Elective Colloquium and an AC Multicultural class.

The cities of the United States have provided the world with a number of firsts, including the first skyscraper and the first settlement to reach a population of 10 million. At various points, American cities have been the largest, the tallest, the densest, and the wealthiest on the planet. For all of their technological and social triumphs, however, American cities have also nurtured crushing inequality, dangerous slums, and criminal economies. This course will introduce students to the history of one of the most fascinating and contradictory social forms of the modern world. Students will read about the American city from a variety of perspectives, the city as a market, design artifact, a political arena, a system for ordering social relations, an "entertainment machine," and as an underworld.    

The course will revolve around short lectures and in-­‐class discussions of secondary-­‐source readings. Instructor will also lead walking tours around campus and the surrounding neighborhoods in order to teach students how to read the built environment itself as a source.