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The American City: An Introduction (CSHS 2911-01)

Spring 2018
Wednesdays, 6:00 PM - 8:40 PM
F. Edward Hebert Building, Room 213

Instructor: Carolyn Kolb (Ph.D. in Urban Studies/Urban History)

Americans today are most likely to live in or near a city. America, at its beginnings, was mostly rural.

How and why did American cities begin?
What do cities need to succeed?
What growing pains have our cities faced?
What does America’s urban future look like?

The desired learning outcome of this course is that students be introduced to the study of cities. Students will become familiar with the evolution of the city, how cities and their inhabitants have changed over time, and what a city requires to function optimally. Students will learn terminology of the field (the “walking city,” the “streetcar suburb,” the “doughnut effect”, the “new urbanism”) and will focus on the city in America. Students should also learn to think critically, and to form judgments based on their readings and observations on the topic.

City topics to be explored will include neighborhoods, political systems, infrastructure, population diversity, foodways, celebrations and music. Students will become more competent in online research, will each make a class presentation on their research and will submit written assignments.

Students will have online reading assignments including relevant publications and journal articles as well as fiction. Film and videos will augment the texts and readings, and no textbook needs to be purchased.