Fall 2019 Urban Focused Courses

The Princeton Mellon Initiative is pleased to announce the following courses for Fall 2019. 

Interdisciplinary Design Studio
URB 205 / ARC 205 / LAS 225 / ENV 205
Mario I. Gandelsonas and Danielle Stewart

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. 

Urban Anthropology
URB 225 / ANT 227

According to the UN, by 2050, two-thirds of the world's population will live in cities. Urban life -- whether or not that means living in close proximity to each other, interacting with infrastructure, or new experimentations with the built environment -- has an impact upon how we experience the world and our sense of place. In this class, we will discuss theory on urbanism, infrastructure, and urban anthropology, and we will conduct observations about the built environment in and around campus. This class should be of interest to those interested in urban theory, anthropology, or architecture.

Urban Studies Research Seminar
URB 300 / ARC 300 / HUM 300 / SLA 300
Katherine M.H. Reischl and Aaron P. 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. 

This course includes a 2019 Fall Break trip to Moscow, made possible through the Humanities Council’s David A. Gardner ’69 Magic Project and the Exploration Seminars program, funded by the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies (PIIRS) in cooperation with the Office of International Programs (OIP). 

Mapping Gentrification
URB 385 / SOC 385 / HUM 385 / ARC 385
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.

Unrest and Renewal in Urban America
URB 388 / HIS 388 / AMS 380
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. 

Research in Urbanism: Whatever Happened to Urbanism? A New Orleans Case Study
ARC 526
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?

Affiliated Courses for Fall 2019

Contemporary Issues in Spain
URB 237 / SPA 227 / EPS 227
Germán Labrador Méndez

What is happening in Spain today? Using films and documentaries (and various materials: newspaper articles, YouTube clips, graffiti, etc.), we will study topics such as urban struggles, social movements, global crisis, historical memory, multiculturalism, gender identities, urban cultures, collective fictions, digital cultures, populisms and migration crisis. Those who are planning to apply for the Princeton-in-Spain program and/or pursue a certificate in Spanish or concentration in the Department will find this course to be a fantastic passport. 
The Literature of Fact: The Urban World
URB 280 / JRN 280

For the first time, more human beings today live in cities than in villages worldwide, and urban populations are expected to only grow. This course will explore the social and cultural dimensions of the modern urban form by examining how cities have been written about in the past and how to write about cities in the future. Students will read classic pieces of writing on modern cities as well as new works that break away from old forms and erase the divisions between such genres as cultural criticism, ethnography, and reportage. They will learn how to write field notes, do interviews, use archival sources, and structure a long-form essay. 

Forensic Anthropology and Urban Bodies
URB 309A/B / ANT 309A/B / STC 310A/B
Jeffrey D. Himpele and Janet Monge

Forensic anthropology involves medico-legal cases where human remains have lost "personhood" (an individual cannot be identified due to decomposition or destruction of unique personal features). We will learn techniques that biological anthropologists apply to these cases to identify certain social attributes. We will also blend both biological and social anthropology to analyze human variation and well-being in urban settings. Working with real-world data, students will identify and trace the intertwined physiological, social and environmental factors that have shaped the growth and development of Philadelphia-area children over decades. 
The Urban Revolution in Latin America
URB 324 / LAS 324 / SOC 314
Ben A. Gerlofs

This course examines the rapid urbanization of Latin America, focusing especially on the political, economic, environmental, demographic, and cultural/aesthetic dimensions of urbanizationprocesses and their implications. Topics to include: urban resource wars, gentrification and neighborhood change, planetary urbanization, vanguard urbanism, and the politics of aesthetics. Lectures and reading material will explore these issues across such paradigmatic urban places as Rio de Janeiro, Cochabamba, Mexico City, Los Angeles, Buenos Aires, and Bogotá. 

Theories of Housing and Urbanism
URB 401 / ARC 401
Andrew Laing

The seminar will explore theories of urbanism and housing by reading canonical writers who have created distinctive and influential ideas about urbanism and housing from the nineteenth century to the present. The writers are architects, planners, and social scientists. The theories are interdisciplinary. One or two major works will be discussed each week. We will critically evaluate their relevance and significance for architecture now. Topics include: modernism, technological futurism, density, the new urbanism, the networked city, landscape urbanism, and sustainable urbanism. 

Introduction to Water Pollution Technology
URB 471 / CEE 471 / GEO 471
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; indentification of sources of pollution; water and wastewater treatment methods; fundamentals of water quality modeling. 

Japan's Media Mix: Anime/Cinema/Gaming
EAS 260
Franz K. Prichard

This course surveys Japan's vibrant media mix cultures spanning the histories of anime, cinema and gaming through the intersections of film and media studies. Charting the emergence of media mix cultures and "new" media technologies from silent film to augmented reality in Japan, this course introduces students to major works of anime (animated feature films, television series, and other formats), cinema, and video games. We will examine the changing contours of work and play, sentiment and sensation, thought and materiality, and the forms of mediation and social relation that defined Japan's modern media mix ecologies and platforms. 

Climate Change, Adaptation and Urban Design
ARC 519
Guy J.P. Nordenson

Climate change adaptation is a pressing and difficult challenge to urban design, ecological and engineering planning theory and practice. It is clear that architects, planners, engineers and designers have an important role to help cities contend with climate adaptation. This seminar reviews the general state of science and practice of climate change and adaptation with a primary focus on the United States. It looks to the work of Frederick Law Olmsted for some of the theoretical basis of developing an approach to climate adaptation that is democratic and progressive and evaluate the impediments which restrict change.