Fall 2020 Urban-Focused Courses

The Princeton Mellon Initiative is pleased to announce the following sponsored and affiliated courses for Fall 2020. Additional courses will be added over the coming weeks. 

 URB 205 / ARC 205 / LAS 225 / ENV 205 

Interdisciplinary Design Studio  / 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 300 / ARC 300 / HUM 300 / SLA 300

Urban Studies Research Seminar / Aaron P. Shkuda

This seminar introduces urban studies research methods through a study of New York in conversation with other cities. Focused on communities and landmarks represented in historical accounts, literary works, art and film, we will travel through 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.


URB 385 / SOC 385 / HUM 385 / ARC 385

Mapping Gentrification / 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.


WWS 401

Climate Adaptation and the Coasts / Guy Nordenson

This policy task force will examine the current practice of adaption in places that have been impacted by coastal storms and tsunamis, to understand the state of practice and future planning including climate change. These will include the US coasts as well as the East coast of Japan. We will examine historical examples (Tohoku, Japan and Naples, Italy) of coastal adaptation to look for fresh ideas for the future. Task force members will be asked to explore alternative policies and planning strategies that may well break with current practices in an effort to think creatively about a very difficult challenge. The findings and policy recommendations will be shared with public sector policymakers, researchers and policy analysts, and advocates working on behalf of coastal communities.


AMS 317 / MTD 321 / THR 322 / ENG 249

Sondheim's Musicals and the Making of America / Stacy Wolf

In this course, we'll examine the musicals of Stephen Sondheim from COMPANY (1970) to ROAD SHOW (2009) as a lens onto America. How have Sondheim's musicals conversed with American history and American society since the mid-20th century? How do Sondheim's musicals represent America and Americans, and how have various productions shaped and re-shaped those representations? We'll explore how Sondheim and his collaborators used the mainstream, popular, and commercial form of musical theater to challenge, critique, deconstruct, and possibly reinforce some of America's most enduring myths.


DAN 215 / ANT 355 / GSS 215 / AMS 215

Introduction to Dance across Cultures / Judith Hamera

Bharatanatyam, butoh, hip hop, and salsa are some of the dances that will have us travel from temples and courtyards to clubs, streets, and stages around the world. Through studio sessions, readings and viewings, field research, and discussions, this seminar will introduce students to dance across cultures with special attention to issues of migration, cultural appropriation, gender and sexuality, and spiritual and religious expression. Students will also learn basic elements of participant observation research. Guest artists will teach different dance forms. No prior dance experience is necessary.


URB 377 / ENV 377 / CEE 377 / SAS 377

Sustainable Cities in the US and India: Technology, Policy & Entrepreneurship Pathways / Anu Ramaswami

An interdisciplinary exploration of our quest for urban sustainability in different parts of the world. We will: 1) Explore the concept of sustainable cities, focusing on systems that provide food, energy, water, mobility, housing, waste management, and public spaces to more than half the world's people that live in urban areas today; 2) Compare and contrast cities in the US and India, understanding their diverse contexts and current baseline in terms of infrastructure, environment, economy, health, wellbeing and equity. 3) Explore pathways to a more sustainable future, including technology innovation, policy and social entrepreneurship.


URB 401 / ARC 401

Theories of Housing and Urbanism / 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.


WWS 328

Crime and Violence in U.S. Cities / Patrick Sharkey

This course focuses on the problems of crime and violence in the United States, and considers how to confront these problems. The semester is organized into four parts: 1) How to think about and study the problems of crime and violence; 2) Ideas and theories explaining crime and violence; 3) The challenge of violence in the United States; and 4) Approaches to confronting violence. Over the course of the semester, students will carry out two research projects analyzing data and policy related to crime and violence.


WWS 331 / SOC 312 / AAS 317

Race and Public Policy / Douglas Massey

This course analyzes the historical construction of race as a concept in American society, how and why this concept was institutionalized publicly and privately in various arenas of U.S. public life at different historical junctures, and the progress that has been made in dismantling racialized institutions since the civil rights era.


ARC 519

Climate Change, Adaptation and Urban Design / Guy 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.


WWS 537 / SOC 537

Urban Inequality and Social Policy / Patrick Sharkey

This course focuses on the causes, consequences, and responses to urban inequality. The course is organized in four parts. First, we consider how one comes to learn about and understand cities and neighborhoods. Second, we review classic and current ideas about how urbanization affects the way we live and interact with each other. Third, we assess various explanations for urban inequality. Fourth, we focus our attention on central problems and challenges of urban life, from segregation to violence, and consider policy responses.