Affiliated Courses 2014 - 2019

Below is the listing of courses taught by Initiative PIs, Fellows and Affiliated Faculty: the current semester courses appear first in the listing. 

SPRING 2019 

ARC 384 / ENV 374 / Design and Planning for Climate Equity: Urban Vulnerability and Adaptation / Instructor: Zachary Lamb

Vulnerability to climate change is highly uneven; some people and places face greater risks than others. Efforts to adapt cities to those impacts impose uneven costs, frequently exacerbating existing inequalities. This course explores how urban planners and designers shape climate change adaptation. There will be three main components: 1) an introduction to foundational theories of uneven vulnerability and adaptation; 2) case studies of adaptation in cities around the world; and 3) a semester project focused on the equity implications and transformative potentials of a major regional adaptation proposal, the “Meadowlands Climate Park.” 

ARC 383 / URB 383 / NES 382 / Spaces of Conflict and Everyday Life / Instructor: Noam Shoked

This course examines the relationship between architecture and politics by focusing on the role of the built environment in twentieth and twenty-first century conflicts. We will examine how settler colonialism shapes places, how sectarian conflicts divide cities and how protest movements utilize urban areas. The class will pay particular attention to the everyday practices of the people who inhabit, appropriate and transform these sites. We will look at a number of case studies from the Middle East, Africa, and North America, and embark on ethnographic investigations of specific sites in New York.

ARC 527 / ENV 527 / Provisioning: Food, Architecture and Urbanism in the Global 20th Century / Instructor: Meredith TenHoor

After the industrialization of agriculture, what does it mean to provision a population or a city? How can food systems be designed, how do we understand the intersections between bodily need, regulation, economies, and the work of architects and urbanists? What opportunities might designers and thinkers have to create better labor conditions and ecologies in our food systems, and to add pleasure to the daily ritual of consumption? In this course, we examine the long modern history of spaces and philosophies of food systems, and South-North relationships that emerge through these systems.

ARC 380 / DAN 310 / THR 323 / URB 310 / The Arts of Urban Transition / Instructors: Aaron Landsman and Aaron Shkuda

This course uses texts and methods from history, theatre, performance studies, and dance to examine artists and works of art as agents of change in New York (1960-present) and contemporary "Rust Belt" cities. Issues addressed include relationships between artists, changing urban economies, and the built environment; the role of the artist in gentrification and creative placemaking; the importance of local history in art interventions; and assessing impacts of arts initiatives. A Spring break trip, and visits to key local sites, are included. Students will use data and methods from the course to produce final projects.

ARC 300 / URB 300 / HUM 300 / SLA 300 / Urban Studies Research Seminar / Instructors: Katherine Reischl and Aaron Shkuda

This seminar introduces urban studies research methods through two cultural capitals: Moscow and New York. Focused on communities and landmarks represented in historical accounts, literary works, art and film, we will travel through these cityscapes as cultural and mythological spaces - from the past to the present day. We will examine how standards of evidence shape what is knowable about cities and urban life, what "counts" as knowledge in urban studies, and how these different disciplinary perspectives construct and limit knowledge about cities as a result.

WWS Research Seminar / U.S. Cities: New Policy for Old Places / Instructor: Alison Isenberg

This seminar will survey core policy issues facing U.S. cities, equipping students to frame and complete significant, original research projects. Topics include: affordable housing, business development, migration and immigration, education and youth, employment, transportation, infrastructure, open space, urban design, cultural institutions, real estate and gentrification, environmental health, climate change, and policing. In addition to this overview approach, each student will research a chosen area of urban policy expertise, with the flexibility to define the scope--local, regional, or national.

URB 451 / HIS 451 / AMS 413 / Writing about Cities / Instructor: Sean Fraga

How do cities remember the past? From street names to Confederate statutes to urban redevelopment, questions of place and public memory are intertwined and frequently contested. In "Writing about Cities: Place and Memory," you'll learn to read cities as cultural texts by engaging in cultural analysis, archival research, and geographic fieldwork. You'll also contribute to discussions about place and memory by proposing a new memorial or monument for Princeton's campus. Field trips within Princeton and to New York City augment our discussions, as do visits from guest speakers.

ARC 595 / The Zoning of Things / Instructor: V. Mitch McEwen

This course introduces students to zoning as an urbanistic tool related to representation, classification, and design. Readings investigate zoning as a form of both ideation and technology through texts that include Michel Foucault, Aristotle, Walter Benjamin, Christopher Alexander, Keller Easterling and Isabelle Stengers, as well as the Zoning Resolution of the City of New York, video games, films, and canonical urban plans.

ARC 492 / URB 492 / ENV 492 / Topics in the Formal Analysis of the Urban Structure - Environmental Challenges of Urban Sprawl / Instructor: Mario Gandelsonas

As part of the search for solutions to climate, water and energy challenges in a rapidly urbanizing world, it is crucial to understand and reassess the environmental challenges and potential of the exurban wasteland. This interdisciplinary course aims to add theoretical, pragmatic and cultural dimensions to scientific, technological, and policy aspects of current environmental challenges, in an effort to bridge the environmental sciences, urbanism and the humanities focusing on the transformation of the Meadowlands, the large ecosystem of wetlands, into a State Park.

ARC 205 / URB 205 / ENV 205 / LAS 225 / Interdisciplinary Design Studio / Instructor: Elisa Silva

The course focuses on the social forces that shape design thinking. Its objective is to introduce architectural and urban design issues to build design and critical thinking skills from a multidisciplinary perspective. The studio is team-taught from faculty across disciplines to expose students to the multiple forces within which design operates.

URB 201 / WWS 201 / SOC 203 / ARC 207 / Introduction to Urban Studies / Instructor: M. Christine Boyer                   

This course will examine different crises confronting cities in the 21st century. Topics will range from informal settlements, to immigration, terrorism, shrinking population, sprawl, rising seas, affordable housing, gentrification, smart cities. The range of cities will include Los Angles, New Orleans, Paris, Logos, Caracas, Havana, New York, Hong Kong, Dubai among others.

LAS 212 / URB 212 / Latin American Soundscapes / Instructor: Leonardo Cardoso 

The course offers an introduction to sound-making and listening across Latin America. It pays attention to music, noise, urban space, and technology. Students conduct ethnographic research and carry out field recordings in the New Jersey area. The course draws on anthropological, sociological, and historical accounts to explore the relationship between music and national symbols in Jamaica and Brazil; the tension between orality and literacy in local forms of speech; and the role of infrastructure, architecture, rituals and visual representations in urban soundscapes.

ARC 262A / CEE 262A / EGR 262A / URB 262A / ART 262 / Structures and the Urban Environment / Instructor: Maria Garlock

Known as "Bridges", this course focuses on structural engineering as a new art form begun during the Industrial Revolution and flourishing today in long-span bridges, thin shell concrete vaults, and tall buildings. Through critical analysis of major works, students are introduced to the methods of evaluating engineered structures as an art form. Students study the works and ideas of individual engineers through their basic calculations, their builder's mentality and their aesthetic imagination. Illustrations are taken from various cities and countries thus demonstrating the influence of culture on our built environment.

URB 302 / GHP 303 / Grassroots Power: Health and Social Change through Collective Action / Instructors: Jerry Nutor and Sebastian Ramirez                

This seminar provides a practical and theoretical toolkit for students interested in health disparities and social change. We will consider how critical perspectives on health, violence and the environment can create the grounds for broader social change. Through a multidisciplinary focus, we will look at how social change is conceptualized and assessed by experts, beneficiaries, and critics. Drawing lessons from the ACT UP, Black Lives Matter, reproductive rights and #MeToo, for example, we will examine how individuals and groups use technology and organize to change the status quo, reimagining ideas of justice and equity from the ground up.

LAS 308 / URB 308 / ENV 345 / Mexico City: Geography, Politics and Everyday Life / Instructor: Ben Gerlofs 

Explore the geography of Mexico City, one of the world's largest and most dynamic urban communities. We examine such topics as the city's rapid expansion during the 20th century, its architectural and aesthetic styles and transformations, its environments and environmental crises, and the shape of its contemporary political geographies. Field study in Mexico City during spring recess will have a special focus on social and spatial aspects of urban redevelopment and neighborhood change.

ARC 312 / URB 312 / Technology and the City: the Architectural Implications of the networked Urban Landscape / Instructor: Andrew Laing

The seminar explores the implications of technologically networked cities for architectural programming and the design of spaces and places, including: 1) how information technology is reshaping the nature of architectural programming and our ideas of spaces, places and community; 2) how programs for spaces, buildings, places, and the city are being transformed by the increasing mobility, fluidity, and "blurring" of activities in space; and 3) the history of ideas that shape our understanding of technology and urbanism, programming and architecture: the networked global city; the sentient city; smart cities; big data; hybrid place.

ARC 316 / ART 312 / URB 314 / FRE 312 / The Art of Living / Instructor: Basile Baudez

Water in the bathroom, gas in the kitchen, heat in the living room: what Western Europe and North America consider basic needs in obvious, purpose-based, domestic spaces are relatively new. All appeared between the late 17th and early 20th centuries. What dynamic between society and family that made the emergence of the apartment building possible? What motivated authorities and private developers to support public infrastructures, from sewage systems to street lights, gas and water networks? This course will provide students with tools to criticize the notion of domestic comfort, public efficiency, urbanism, and "progress."

SPA 365 / LAO 365  / URB 365 / Rapping in Spanish: Urban Poetry in Latino Global Cities / Instructor: Germán Labrador Méndez          

This course studies contemporary urban poetry composed in Spanish on both sides of the Atlantic in cities such as New York, Madrid, Los Angeles, Mexico D.F., Barcelona and Buenos Aires. It focuses on lyrical practices that combine sound and language in a wide range of literary expressions. Contemporary hip-hop poetry and rap lyrics are at the center of the course.

ARC 389 / URB 389 / Urban Futures and Scenarios / Instructor: Marshall Brown

Urbanism requires anticipatory and transdisciplinary thought about the future, which is uncertain by definition. Scenario planning and futures studies provide the techniques and conceptual frameworks for developing strategy in spaces of uncertainty. This seminar will provide an introduction to fundamental techniques and concepts from the practices of scenario planning and apply them to specific questions about the future of cities and metropolitan areas.

ARC 525 / ART 524 / Mapping the City: Cities and Cinema / instructor: M. Christine Boyer     

This course on cartographic cinema explores the digital film archive as a trove of images that can be re-appropriated, re-mixed, re-assembled into new ways of thinking about and imagining cities. Cutting a horizontal trajectory across cities --- New York, Tokyo, Vienna, Paris, Hong Kong, Lagos, Calcutta --- the cinema has captured the dynamic force of urban mutations and disruptions. It has also imposed a vertical axis of memories,confounding meaning and points of view, especially in cities of trauma.

FALL 2018

HIS 388 / URB 388 (HA) / Unrest and Renewal in Urban America / Instructor: Alison E. Isenberg 

This course surveys the history of cities in the United States from colonial settlement to the present. Over centuries, cities have symbolized democratic ideals of immigrant "melting pots" and cutting-edge innovation, as well as urban crises of disorder, decline, crime, and poverty. Urban life has concentrated extremes like rich and poor; racial and ethnic divides; philanthropy and greed; skyscrapers and parks; violence and hope; center and suburb. The course examines how cities in U.S. history have brokered revolution, transformation and renewal, focusing on class, race, gender, immigration, capitalism, and the built environment. 

ARC 205 / URB 205 / LAS 225 / ENV 205 (LA) / Interdisciplinary Design Studio / Instructor: Mario I. Gandelsonas 

The course focuses on the social forces that shape design thinking. Its objective is to introduce architectural and urban design issues to build design and critical thinking skills from a multidisciplinary perspective. The studio is team-taught from faculty across disciplines to expose students to the multiple forces within which design operates. 

URB 385 / SOC 385 / HUM 385 / ARC 385 / Mapping Gentrification / Instructor: Aaron P. Shkuda 

This seminar introduces the study of gentrification, with a focus on mapping projects using GIS (Geographic Information Systems) software. Readings, films, and site visits will situate the topic, as the course examines how racial landscapes of gentrification, culture and politics have been influenced by and helped drive urban change. Tutorials in ArcGIS will allow students to convert observations of urban life into fresh data and work with existing datasets. Learn to read maps critically, undertake multifaceted spatial analysis, and master new cartographic practices associated with emerging scholarship in the Digital and Urban Humanities. 

HUM 310 / COM 371 / URB 311 (LA) / Camp/Prison/Border / Instructor: Nasser Abourahme 

From the 19th century colonial era to the current border/migration crisis, camps and prisons have managed surplus and racialized populations through zones of confinement and exception. It is literature, and particularly the novel, that provides the compelling encounters with questions of confinement and movement. This course approaches the "border crisis" through a combination of readings in political theory/history and global literature, situating it in the longer history of population management and equipping students with the methodological tools for thinking about it across the social sciences/humanities divide. 

URB 202 / JRN 202 / LAO 232 (LA) / Documentary Film and the City / Instructor: Purcell Carson 

Non-fiction film workshop through lens of Trenton's Latinx population, particularly Central American immigrants. Through films, readings, guest lectures, and hands-on filmmaking, students will study history and strategies of migrant populations, culture of remittance between global north and south, and immigration policy. Student collaboration with community partners to research, produce and edit short films. Specific journalistic, ethical, and cinematic challenges of non-fiction filmmaking. Exploring documentary balances between sociological study, mimetic art form, and engaged voice in public media. Two public screenings of student films. 

POL 403 / CHV 403 / ARC 405 / URB 403 (EM) / Architecture and Democracy / Instructor: Jan-Werner Müller 

What kind of public architecture is appropriate for a democracy? Should public spaces and buildings reflect democratic values - such as transparency and accessibility - or is the crucial requirement for democratic architecture that the process of arriving at decisions about the built environment is as participatory as possible? Is gentrification somehow un-democratic? The course will introduce students to different theories of democracy, to different approaches to architecture, and to many examples of architecture and urban planning from around the world, via images and films. Might include a field trip. 

CEE 471 / GEO 471 / URB 471 (STN) / Introduction to Water Pollution Technology / Instructor: Peter R. Jaffé 

An introduction to the science of water quality management and pollution control in natural systems; fundamentals of biological and chemical transformations in natural waters; identification of sources of pollution; water and wastewater treatment methods; fundamentals of water quality modeling. 

SOC 227 / URB 227 (SA) / Race and Ethnicity / Instructor: Patricia Fernández-Kelly 

Our goal in this course is (a) to understand various definitions of race and ethnicity from a theoretical perspective and in a plurality of contexts and (b) to account for the rise of ethnicity and race as political and cultural forces in the age of globalization. Why are ethnic and racial delimitations expanding in areas of the world where such distinctions were formerly muted? Is race and racial discrimination all the same regardless of geographical region? What are the main theories and methodologies now available for the study of race and ethnicity from a comparative point of view? 

URB 200 / WWS 210 / SOC 200 (SA) / Urbanism and Urban Policy / Instructor: Douglas S. Massey 

Introduces students to social scientific thinking on cities and urbanism and then builds on this base to consider and evaluate various approaches to urban policy. 

SPRING 2018

AMS 395 / THR 395 / AAS 395 / HIS 296 / Performing the City: Race and Protest in 1960s Trenton and Princeton / Instructors: Alison E. Isenberg and Aaron Landsman

Through original research and creative process, this seminar immerses students in overlapping histories of race, protest, political mobilization and violence in 1960s Trenton and Princeton. Students will contribute to an archive, conduct interviews and make maps, and then use their research to create performance walks on campus and in Trenton. By combining disciplines, the course addresses questions such as: How can we change a place by walking through it with new knowledge? How do the imprints of various, even conflicting histories, impact the built environment? After the semester, students' final project tours will be offered regularly.

ARC 301 / ENV 301 / SAS 302 / URB 301 / Nature and Infrastructure in South Asia / Instructor: Ateya Khorakiwala

South Asia is often imagined as a chaotic place where infrastructure is in a constant battle against the forces of nature. Monsoon rains erode roads, summer heat shuts down power grids, winter snow closes vehicular access, while dry riverbeds open new routes. On the contrary, infrastructure is also imagined as the only means by which the vagaries of nature and geography can be overcome. How then, can we understand these nebulous terms upon which a utopian imagination of the future is grounded?

ARC 303 / URB  303 / EGR  303 / HUM  303 / SOC 306 / Wall Street and Silicon Valley: Place in the American Economy / Instructor: Aaron P. Shkuda

This course examines two places that play an outsized role in the American economy: Wall Street and Silicon Valley. They are distinct and similarly enduring locations. They embody a divide between urban and suburban, East Coast and West Coast, skyscrapers and office parks, tradition and innovation, conservative and liberal. Despite the ubiquity of electronic trading, firms still congregate in Lower Manhattan. Tech workers fight traffic to maintain a presence in Mountain View. What makes these places endure? How do their histories, architecture, economic dynamics, and distinct cultures shape them as places?

ARC 348 / ENV 348 / The Modern Environmental Imagination: People, Place, Planet / Instructor: Chad L. Monfreda

This course explores the history of the environmental imagination from the Age of Exploration of early modern Europe to the global environmental politics of today. We will trace the ways in which people have imagined themselves and nature have shifted over time, and how these changes have helped shape science and politics in the modern world. The course also examines more recent efforts in the arts and sciences to re-imagine humans and nature in order to grapple with the rapidly changing world of contemporary global environmental politics, with a particular focus on the challenges of urbanization, biodiversity loss, and climate change.

ARC 492 / URB 492 / ENV 492 / Topics in the Formal Analysis of the Urban Structure - Environmental Challenges of Urban Sprawl / Instructor: Mario Gandelsonas

As part of the search for solutions to climate, water and energy challenges in a rapidly urbanizing world, it is crucial to understand and reassess the role of exurban sprawl in the environment. This interdisciplinary course aims to add theoretical, pragmatic and cultural dimensions to scientific, technological, and policy aspects of current environmental challenges, in an effort to bridge the environmental sciences, urbanism and the humanities.

ARC 200 / URB 205 / ENG 391 / AAS 391 / Experimenting in Dark Times: 19th C African American Literature, Culture & Spatial Imaginary / Instructors: Autumn M. Womack, V. Mitch McEwen 

This interdisciplinary course will explore the intersecting worlds of late 19th-century African American literature, technology, visual culture, aesthetics, and reform. Although this period is commonly theorized as the "Nadir," or "dark point," of Black life, it was in fact a moment of artistic innovation and social experimentation as black artists, writers, and activists traversed a range of modes and media in the hopes of imagining new futures. We will tease out the nuances of this often overlooked cultural moment, while developing an understanding of black experimental writing's roots. In design studio, students will design historically experimental urban projects around the literature and media investigated in the weekly seminar. 

ARC 312 / URB 312 / Technology and the City: the Architectural Implications of the networked Urban Landscape / Instructor: Andrew Laing

The seminar explores the implications of technologically networked cities for architectural programming and the design of spaces and places, including: 1) how information technology is reshaping the nature of architectural programming and our ideas of spaces, places and community; 2) how programs for spaces, buildings, places, and the city are being transformed by the increasing mobility, fluidity, and "blurring" of activities in space; and 3) the history of ideas that shape our understanding of technology and urbanism, programming and architecture: the networked global city; the sentient city; smart cities; big data; hybrid place.

ARC 526 / Research in Urbanism: Whatever Happened to Urbanism? / Instructor: M. Christine Boyer

In three essays written in 1994, "Bigness, or the problem of Large Manifesto," "Whatever Happened to Urbanism?" and "The Generic City," Koolhaas blames architects for ignoring the facts of urban existence, its increasing complexity, formlessness, incessant flux and variations. And he mocks city planners, likening them to chess players who have lost to computers, threatened by processes that go on of their own accord expanding towards infinity. Taking Rem Koolhaas' statements as a framework, this course asks what has happened to architectural research on `Urbanism' since the 1970s?

ARC 576 / MOD 502 / ART 598 / Advanced Topics in Modern Architecture - The Perversions of Modern Architecture / Instructor: Beatriz Colomina

Modern architecture was never straightforward. Despite the surface rhetoric of rationality, clarity and efficiency, modern architects were engaged with everything that escapes rationality: sexuality, violence, exoteric philosophies, occultism, disease, the psyche, pharmacology, extraterrestrial life, artificial intelligence, chance, the primitive, the fetish, etc. Through a series of case studies from the early twentieth century till today, of both mainstream figures and misfits, the class will explore the backwaters of modern architecture to reveal the astonishing richness and eccentricity of the field.

ENV 315 / URB 325 / VIS 325 / The Port of New Orleans: Culture and Climate Change / Instructor: Jeffrey Whetstone

New Orleans is decades ahead of any other U.S. city with respect to climate change. The city's culture embodies exuberance and improvisation, and inspires confidence, openness, and collaboration. These qualities, married with scientific inquiry, may be a strategy for the city's survival. Visiting scholars and artists show how cooperation between cultural and scientific communities can provide valuable, sustainable strategies. The class will spend Spring Break in New Orleans visiting sites of artistic and scientific intervention. Students will create models, media, and other creative works in response to research data.

ENV 332 / ENG 437 / Petrofiction / Instructor: Ashley J. Dawson

We know that we must cease using fossil fuels with all due haste if the planet is to avert a climate catastrophe, and yet the odds of making this transition seem long. This is due not only to the political clout of Big Oil, but also to the ways in which oil saturates every aspect of life, from the clothes we wear to the food we eat. Yet neither the dazzling benefits nor the dramatic damages of this ubiquitous petroculture are evenly distributed. Surveying literature, film, music and the visual arts, this course renders the material and social circuits of petroculture visible that they might be better challenged and transformed.

HIS 418 / URB 418 / Imagined Cities / Instructor: Gyan Prakash

An undergraduate seminar about the urban experiences and representations of the modern city as society. Beginning with the premise that the "soft city" of ideas, myths, symbols, images, and psychic expressions is as important as the "hard city" of bricks and mortar, this course explores the experiences and imaginations of modern cities in different historical contexts. Among the cities we will examine are Manchester, London, Paris, Berlin, St. Petersburg, Algiers, Bombay, and Hong Kong. The course will use a variety of materials, but will focus particularly on cinema to examine different imaginative expressions of the urban experience.

HIS 456 / AAS 456 / URB 456 / HUM 456 / New Orleans at 300: Invention & Reinvention in an American City / Instructor: Joshua B. Guild

As it commemorates its tercentennial, this course explores the history of what has been described as an "impossible but inevitable city" over three centuries. Settled on perpetually shifting swampland at the foot of one of the world's great waterways, this port city served as an outpost of three empires and a gateway linking the N. American heartland with the Gulf Coast, Caribbean, and Atlantic World. From European and African settlement through the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, we will consider how race, culture, and the environment have defined the history of the city and its people.

SOC 207 / Poverty in America / Instructors: Matthew Desmond, Kathryn Edin

This course investigates poverty in America in historical and contemporary perspective. We will explore central aspects of poverty, including low-wage work and joblessness, housing and neighborhoods, crime and punishment, and survival and protest. Along the way, we will examine the cause and consequences of poverty; study the lived experience of severe deprivation and material hardship; evaluate large-scale anti-poverty programs with an eye toward what worked and what didn't; and engage with normative debates about the right to housing, living wages, just punishment, and other matters pertaining to American life below the poverty line.

SOC 413 / Spatial Analysis in the Social Sciences / Instructor: Elizabeth M. Roberto 

This course introduces core concepts and tools for analyzing spatial data. Students will gain hands-on experience creating spatial data (e.g., geocoding and merging data sources), producing and interpreting maps, and describing and analyzing spatial patterns and relationships. Drawing on examples in housing, health, education, public policy, and urban studies, students will learn how to apply spatial reasoning in the empirical analysis of social phenomenon and use spatial methods to answer questions about the geographic distribution of social problems, the organization of communities, and the relationship between society and the environment.

FALL 2017

URB 202 / HIS 202 / HUM 202 / VIS 200 / Documentary Film and the City / Instructors: Purcell Carson and Alison Isenberg 

This hands-on urban studies seminar in documentary film making and history focuses on Trenton's unrest of April 1968, when a black college student, Harlan Joseph, was shot and killed by a white police officer. The course works outward from these events to examine the 1960's, race, region, economy, memory, and media representation. Students produce their own short films and related research papers using their own field work and shared archives sources. Collaborative assignments will contribute to works of scholarship and a documentary produced by the professors. Includes public screening of student work. See www.thetrentonproject.com.

ARC 205 / URB 205 / LAS 225 / ENV 205 / Interdisciplinary Design Studio / Instructors: Mario Gandelsonas and Anthony Acciavatti

The course focuses on the social forces that shape design thinking. Its objective is to introduce architectural and urban design issues to build design and critical thinking skills from a multidisciplinary perspective. The studio is team-taught from faculty across disciplines to expose students to the multiple forces within which design operates.

URB 300 / HUM 300 / ARC 300 / WWS 392 / Urban Studies Research Seminar / Instructor: Aaron P. Shkuda 

This interdisciplinary seminar introduces research methods in urban studies. We will focus on some of the ways in which researchers make sense of cities, including various aspects of urban experience, culture, history, theory, form, and policy. Students will use the analytical frameworks covered in the course to develop their own research projects with the goal of developing more dynamic junior papers and senior theses.

ENV 323 / The Nature of the City / Instructor: Ashley J. Dawson

This interdisciplinary seminar examines the production of urban nature. Nature and the city are usually seen as separate, even antithetical, yet cities are now responsible for the majority of carbon emissions that cause climate change. Generating a creative politics of nature in and for the city is consequently a key component of contemporary environmentalism. Reading across fields such as architecture, geography, and postcolonial studies, we will explore the material and social infrastructures through which nature is metabolized in cities, as well as the representations (fictional and otherwise) through which urban nature is depicted.    

URB 385 / SOC 385 / HUM 385 / ARC 385 / Mapping Gentrification / Instructor: Aaron P. Shkuda 

This seminar introduces the study of gentrification, with a focus on mapping projects using GIS (Geographic Information Systems) software. Readings, films, and site visits will situate the topic, as the course examines how racial landscapes of gentrification, culture and politics have been influenced by and helped drive urban change. Tutorials in ArcGIS will allow students to convert observations of urban life into fresh data and work with existing datasets. Learn to read maps critically, undertake multifaceted spatial analysis, and master new cartographic practices associated with emerging scholarship in the Digital and Urban Humanities.

HIS 388 / URB 388 / Unrest and Renewal in Urban America /Instructor: Alison Isenberg 

For centuries cities have embodied U.S. hopes and fears, symbolizing ideals of democratic melting pots and cultural innovation, as well as urban "problems" and crisis. Urban life distilled extremes like rich and poor; parks and skyscrapers; philanthropy and greed; racial and ethnic divides; violence and hope; center and suburb. By producing contrasts and conflicts, cities brokered transformation, rebellion and renewal. Course covers social life, politics, economy, revolutionary ideologies, culture, race, gender, and the built environment--from the colonial era to the present.

ARC 525 / MOD 524 / Mapping the City / Instructor: M. Christine Boyer

A seminar focusing on city imagery and architectural entertainments by examining different methods of framing the city through travel, in the theater, through the invention of traditions, at the museum, from the cinema, or through its architectural composition and spatial configuration.

HUM 595 / ARC 593 / MOD 551 / Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities: What is a material? History, Architecture, Environment / Instructors: Lucia Allais and Forrest Meggers

Materialism has returned to the forefront of humanistic speculation, as scholars rethink how to be human in the face of environmental change. Today, who counts as a historical and/or environmental agent depends largely on what one thinks a material is. This course mines the history of architecture and its allied engineering for technical and philosophical perspectives on this material turn. We alternate seminar discussions (on themes such as solidity, invisibility, aggregation, operability, wires) and workshops (where guest scientists, historians, practitioners lead us in experiments in thinking and making).

SPRING 2017

ARC 321 / Landscapes of Development / Instructor: Ayala Levin 

This research seminar examines the relationship between architecture, resources, and territory in 20th century modernization projects in the U.S., Latin America, the Middle East, South East Asia, and Africa. We will explore the conditions in which architecture has become a tool of development (a concept which we will address critically), and the functions it assumed in the ordering and managing of labor, natural resources and industry. The seminar will conclude with an exhibition composed of students' research into a selected group of historical and/or contemporary projects and a public symposium.  

SPA 360 / AAS 361 / AMS 375 / LAO 360 / Urban Diversity and Segregation in the Americas / Instructor: Bruno M. Carvalho 

Diversity has sometimes been viewed as a source of vitality and strength, other times as a threat to cultural or national cohesion. This seminar explores histories of segregation and debates about diversity in a hemispheric framework, asking: how can Latin American perspectives inform our understanding of the U.S.? How has the U.S. shaped urban developments in Latin America, as a model or cautionary tale? What is the interplay between identity politics and moral values? Urbanism and ethics? How does diversity relate to inclusion, difference, and inequality? Topics include immigration, globalization, social justice, planning, race and racism. 

ARC 466 / ART 466 / SPA 466 / URB 466 / Havana's Architecture: Recent Past and Possible Features / Instructors: Esther Roseli da Costa Azevedo Meyer and Eduardo Luis Rodriguez

A study of modern architecture and urbanism in Havana focusing on Art Deco, the International Style, the American presence (from the sugar mills to Guantanamo), the foreign modernists (Mies, Sert, Neutra, Philip Johnson), the Cuban revolution and the Soviet period, Critical Regionalism, the role of the environment, historical preservation, ruins and gentrification. It concludes with an analysis of the problems and potentials facing a post-Castro Havana.

ARC 525 / ART 524 / MOD 524 / Research into the Foundations of Urbanism / Instructors: M. Christine Boyer and Aaron P. Shkuda 

This course asks what has happened to architectural research on "Urbanism" since the 1970s? How does the legacy of that decade act as an abstract force haunting the profession of architecture even today? In the last fifty years, there have been radical changes to cities around the globe. The public sector has given way to the dominance of the market economy, mega-cities have burst upon the world in expansive numbers, environmental issues demand action, computing power and digitization have changed the nature of architectural practice. How has 'urbanism' as both an empirical descriptive analysis of the condition of cities and as a model of intervention, a representational scenario, reflected, absorbed, or distorted these conditions?

ARC 597 / HUM 597 / MOD 575 / LAS 597 / Humanistic Perspectives on History and Society - Havana: Architecture, Urbanism, and Literature in Transition / Instructors: Beatriz Colomina and Ruben Gallo 

This seminar explores modern architecture and urbanism in Cuba, including the full kaleidoscope of historical, political, and cultural effects before and after the 1959 Revolution. Using the North-South relationship as the basic matrix, individual sessions will explore the spatial dimensions of a wide range of issues from revolution, utopia, cold war, prefabrication, tropical modernism, ruins, preservation, disease, sexuality, violence, resistance, etc. Through a series of case studies -- sites, buildings, urban projects -- we think of Cuba as a laboratory of modern architecture under the influence of multiple norths and souths.

ARC 492 / URB 492 / ENV 492 / Topics in the Formal Analysis of the Urban Structure -  Environmental Challenges of Urban Sprawl / Instructor: Mario I. Gandelsonas 

As part of the search for solutions to climate, water and energy challenges in a rapidly urbanizing world, it is crucial to understand and reassess the role of exurban sprawl in the environment. This interdisciplinary course aims to add theoretical, pragmatic and cultural dimensions to scientific, technological, and policy aspects of current environmental challenges, in an effort to bridge the environmental sciences, urbanism and the humanities. 

ARC 554 / LAS 507 / SPA 601 / The World as Artifact: Tomás Maldonado and the Environmental Turn in Architecture / Instructor: Joaquin Medina Warmburg 

The seminar addresses the environmental aspects of the design philosophy defined in 1970 by Argentine-born design theorist Tomás Maldonado during his scholarship in Princeton. His principal writings devoted to environmental/architectural issues are examined, placing them in their specific historical/cultural contexts. The course looks at a selection of eleven main concepts in order to introduce the students to Maldonado's critical position. The seminar focuses on the intellectual biography of this early Latin American theorizer of architecture as environmental design in a broad sense, including technical, political and social concerns.

FALL 2016

ART 344  / Art & Politics: From Tatlin's Tower to Occupy / Instructor: Irene V. Small 

What is the political capacity of art? What is the aesthetic capacity of politics? This course examines key episodes, strategies, and formulations pertaining to the complex relationship between art and politics across the 20th century. Topics include experiments in radical abstraction and mass performance undertaken by the Russian avant-garde, the institutional politics of Mexican Muralism, painting and propaganda during the Cold War, guerilla interventions and military dictatorships, the AIDS crisis and artist activism, and recent social movements.

URB 300 / HUM 300 / ARC 300 / WWS 392 / Urban Studies Research Seminar / Instructors:  Bruno M. Carvalho and Aaron P. Shkuda 

This interdisciplinary seminar introduces research methods in urban studies. We will focus on some of the ways in which researchers make sense of cities, including various aspects of urban experience, culture, history, theory, form, and policy. Students will use the analytical frameworks covered in the course to develop their own research projects with the goal of developing more dynamic junior papers and senior theses.

URB 202 / HIS 202 / HUM 202 / VIS 200 / Documentary Film and the City / Instructors: Purcell Carson and Alison E. Isenberg 

This urban studies seminar in history and documentary film-making focuses on Trenton's unrest of April 1968, when a black college student, Harlan Joseph, was shot and killed by a white police officer. The course works outward from these events to examine the 1960s, race, region, economy, memory, and media representation. Students collect archival sources and help produce video interviews, culminating in their own research papers and short documentary films.

HIS 465 / LAO 465 / Latino Urban History / Instructor:  Rosina A. Lozano 

Using the cities of Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and Miami as case studies, this course seeks to understand the history of Latinos in urban places. Casting a geographically broad net and focusing largely on the 20th century, this course will comparatively analyze Latinos of different national origins (e.g. Mexican Americans, Cuban Americans, Puerto Ricans, Dominican Americans). In addition, the course will look at a broad cross-section of the Latino community to get at changing understandings of gender, class, race, and immigration status.

DAN 310 / ARC 380 / THR 323 / URB 310 / The Arts of Urban Transition / Instructors: Judith Hamera, Aaron Landsman and Aaron P. Shkuda  

This course uses texts and methods from history, theatre, performance studies, and dance to examine artists and works of art as agents of change in New York (1960-present) and contemporary Detroit. Issues addressed include relationships between artists, changing urban economies, and the built environment; the role of the artist in gentrification and creative placemaking; the importance of local history in art interventions; and assessing impacts of arts initiatives.

SPRING 2016

ARC 492 / URB 492 / ENV 492 / Environmental Challenges of Urban Sprawl / Instructors: Mario Gandelsonas and Elsa Devienne 

As part of the search for solutions to climate, water and energy challenges in a rapidly urbanizing world, it is crucial to understand and reassess the role of exurban sprawl in the environment. This interdisciplinary course aims to add theoretical, pragmatic and cultural dimensions to scientific, technological, and policy aspects of current environmental challenges, in an effort to bridge the environmental sciences, urbanism and the humanities

ART 466 / SPA 466 / ARC 466 / URB 466 / Havana: Architecture, Literature, Arts / Instructors: Michael G. Wood and Esther Roseli da Costa Azevedo Meyer 

This seminar will study the urban setting of Havana in its articulation with literature, film, and the arts from the early twentieth century to the present day. It will explore cross-disciplinary continuities, the engagement with multiple pasts, the city as a meeting place for all the arts and crucible of social identities. There will be a mandatory trip to Havana during Spring break.

SPA 327 / URB 327 / LAO 327 / Latino Global Cities / Instructors: Arcadio Díaz-Quiñones and Germán Labrador Méndez 

This seminar focuses on the comparative study of Latino urban cultures in U.S., Caribbean and Spanish cities (mainly New York City, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Madrid, Spain). Topics include the 2008 Financial Crisis, Occupy-like movements, global migratory flows, popular culture, memory, debt, visuality and citizenship. Paying close attention to their political and cultural contexts, flamenco, hip-hop, graffiti, visual culture, poetry, documentary films and political performances will be analyzed. Guest speakers and musicians will be part of the conversation.

URB 385 / SOC 385 / HUM 385 / ARC 385 / Mapping Gentrification / Instructor: Aaron P. Shkuda 

This seminar introduces the study of gentrification, with a focus on mapping projects using GIS (Geographic Information Systems) software. Readings, films, and site visits will situate the topic, as the course examines how racial landscapes of gentrification, culture and politics have been influenced by and helped drive urban change. Tutorials in ArcGIS will allow students to convert observations of urban life into fresh data and work with existing datasets. Learn to read maps critically, undertake multifaceted spatial analysis, and master new cartographic practices associated with emerging scholarship in the Digital and Urban Humanities.

FALL 2015 

DAN 310 / ARC 380 / THR 323 / URB 310 / The Arts of Urban Transition / Instructors: Judith Hamera, Aaron Landsman and Aaron Shkuda 

This interdisciplinary course uses texts and methods from history, theatre, and dance to examine artists and works of art as agents of change in New York (1960-present) and contemporary Detroit. Issues include relationships between artists, changing urban economies, and the built environment; gentrification and creative placemaking; local history in art interventions; and impacts of urban arts initiatives. A fall break studio trip to Detroit, and visits to archives and sites in New York, are included.

LAS 505 / ENG 506 / ARC 540 / HUM 505 / URB 505 / Conflict Shorelines I / Amazonia: A Botanical Archaeology of Genocide / Instructors: Eduardo L. Cadava and Eyal Weizman

This course explores the relations among colonial history, contemporary conflicts, and climate change by examining the political, legal, epistemic, and aesthetic challenges this kind of violence initiates. Reading colonial and urban histories against meteorological and climate data, we use environmental modes of detection and imaging in order to reveal tropical forests to be archaeological resources in which patterns of human intervention and violence can be read. The Amazon is not only an ecological threshold, but also a political one, and it continues to bear the traces of the deadliest land conflicts in Brazil.

ARC 527 / WWS 527b / Topics in Domestic Policy:  Planning Methods and the Bronx / Instructors: M. Christine Boyer and Tom K. Wright 

This inter-disciplinary course will demonstrate the necessity for solutions that integrate architecture and economic development, urban design and public services, cultural history and a public realm strategy, investment and policy. In doing so, the course will investigate new models for equitable and sustainable growth in American cities, and how to build a future of the Bronx for the residents of the Bronx.

URB 300 / HUM 300 / ARC 300 / WWS 392 / Urban Studies Research Seminar / Instructors: Bruno M. Carvalho and Aaron P. Shkuda 
 

This interdisciplinary seminar introduces research methods in urban studies. We will focus on some of the ways in which researchers make sense of cities, including various aspects of urban experience, culture, history, theory, form, and policy. Students will use the analytical frameworks covered in the course to develop their own research projects with the goal of developing more dynamic junior papers and senior theses.

SPRING 2015

ARC 449 / MAKING SENSE OF THE CITY / Instructors: Johana Londoño and Mariana Mogilevich

This course starts from the premise that to engage the spatial politics of cities of the Americas, we must engage with the senses. We will ask how vision, affect, and smell shape our understandings of and connections to urban space. And conversely, how different spaces condition our sensorial experiences. Employing the critical, interpretive and theoretical knowledge of the humanities, we examine how these sensorial markers of belonging in urban spaces relate to and expand social markers of citizenship, political boundaries, gender, class, race, and ethnicity.

ART 388 / SOC 388 / AMS 388 / ARC 388 / PHOTO, URBANISM AND CIVIC CHANGE BETWEEN 1960-1980 / Instructors: Katherine Anne Bussard and Aaron P. Shkuda

In conjunction with the concurrent exhibition The City Lost and Found, this course focuses on an extraordinary period of visual responses to the changing fabric of America's three largest cities: New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. We explore their seismic transformations, from political protests to urban renewal projects. Students assess original artworks, films, texts, photographs, and a variety of print media (all on view in the Princeton University Art Museum) and analyze readings from disciplines as diverse as cultural geography, urban planning, urban theory, and art history.

ATL 497 / ENV 497 / PRINCETON ATELIER: PERFORMING ENVIRONMENTAL STORIES / Instructors: Kelly Christine Baum and Jenny Price

The term “social practice” refers to an increasingly popular form of public art that takes a participatory and often lighthearted approach to urgent social and political issues. In this Atelier, we will create an eco-corps that focuses on environmental issues. Students will design interactive projects--for example, tours, games, hoe-downs, dances, podcasts, installations--that encourage the audience to experience, perform, and reimagine environmental problems and solutions.

ART 349 / HUM 349 / VIS 345 / THE ARTIST AT WORK / Instructor: Irene Violet Small

What are the environments, fictions, fantasies, and ideologies that condition the artist at work? This course takes as its investigative locus the artist's studio, a space of experimentation and inspiration, but also of boredom, sociability, exhaustion, and critique. Structured around visits to the studios of multiple practicing artists in New York City, the course tracks the trope of “the studio” from the Renaissance to the present, with emphasis on the concept's reconfiguration and reanimation in contemporary art. Lecture with discussion and field trips.

ENG 357 / HUM 357 / URB 357 / TOPICS IN AMERICAN LITERATURE: MAPPING NYC MODERNISM: LIT. AND ART / Instructor: David M. Ball

The years 1880-1930 overturned much of the settled ground of art and literature. Cities accelerated these changes by bringing together disparate racial, ethnic, and artistic communities, nowhere more so than in New York. Through a study of multicultural literature and the arts, we will begin to map the role the city itself played in these transformative years. We will also travel to the sites that made these narratives possible--including extensive study of the holdings from our own museum collection--engaging in experiential learning about the modern period and studying the lasting aftereffects of modernism on the city in the 21st century.

FALL 2014

ARC 448 / URB 448 / LAS 448 / LAS CIUDADES DEL BOOM: ECONOMIC GROWTH, URBAN LIFE AND ARCHITECTURE IN THE LATIN AMERICAN CITY / INSTRUCTOR: Fabrizio Gallanti

The research course explores the consequences of the economic growth experienced in Latin America in the past 25 years on the social and spatial organization of cities. We will analyze how the modification of political systems and the parallel neo-liberal restructuring of economy have impacted on the production of space. Critical analysis will consider the connections between new phenomena of urban transformation, renewed social articulations and the surge of responses from the design fields. Within the general frame of a contemptuous concept as “Latin America” the research course will explore for local differentiations and particularities.