Fall 2017

Documentary Film and the City
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
Instructors: Purcell Carson, Alison Ellen Isenberg
Interdisciplinary Design Studio
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.
Instructors: Mario Isaac Gandelsonas
Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities: What is a material? History, Architecture, Environment
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).
Instructors: Lucia Allais, Forrest Michael Meggers
Mapping Gentrification
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.
Instructors: Aaron Peter Shkuda
Mapping the City: Cities and Cinema
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.
Instructors: M. Christine Boyer
The Nature of the City
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.
Unrest and Renewal in Urban America
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.
Instructors: Alison Ellen Isenberg
Urban Studies Research Seminar
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.
Instructors: Aaron Peter Shkuda
Urbanism and Urban Policy
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.
Instructors: Douglas S. Massey