Urban Studies

Director: Pinar Batur-VanderLippe (Sociology); Steering Committee:Mario Cesareo (Hispanic Studies), Heesok Chang (English), Mita Choudhury (History), Lisa Collins (Art), Brian Godfrey (Geography), Leonard Nevarez (Sociology), Sidney Plotkin (Political Science), Thomas Porcello (Anthropology), Robert Prasch (Economics), Christopher Roellke (Education), Participating Faculty: Nicholas Adams (Art), Joyce Bickerstaff (Africana Studies and Education), Andrew Bush (Hispanic Studies), James Challey (Science, Technology and Society; and Physics), Harvey Flad (Geography), Luke Harris (Political Science), Jeh Johnson (Art), Peter Leonard (Field Work), Eileen Leonard (Sociology), Marque Miringoff (Sociology), Robin Trainor (Education), Anthony Wohl (History).

The Urban Studies Program is designed as a multidisciplinary concentration in the study of cities and urbanization. Students examine the development of cities and their surrounding regions; the role of cities in the history of civilization; the social problems of urban life; the design of the built environment; and past and present efforts at planning for the future of urban societies. There are four major purposes of the program: (1) to introduce students to a temporal range and spatial variety of urban experience and phenomena; (2) to equip students with methodological tools to enable them to investigate and analyze urban issues; (3) to engage students experientially in a facet of the urban experience; and (4) to develop within the student a deeper grasp of these issues through advanced study within at least one disciplinary approach.

Requirements for Concentration:

1) 14 units, including Introduction to Urban Studies (100), one unit of Urban Theory and the Senior Seminar.

2) One unit of Research Methods appropriate to the student's concentration in Urban Studies, chosen from Art 102-103, Art 275/276, Economics 209, Geography 220, Geography 222, Sociology 254, Anthropology 245, Political Science 207, or Psychology 270.

3) Disciplinary Cluster. Four units at the 200-level, with 2 units taken from two separate disciplinary areas related to Urban Studies, i.e., Architecture, Art, Economics, Geography, History, Political Science, Sociology, etc., including other Multi-disciplinaries. In addition, two units at the 300-level, from two separate disciplines, reflecting the intellectual path set by the 200-level courses.

4) Urban Studies Cluster. Two units at the 200-level, originating in Urban Studies or cross-listed with Urban Studies.

5) One unit of fieldwork, or one half unit of Urban Studies 249 (1/2), plus one half unit in a chosen field work in cooperation with the course instructor.

6) Senior Thesis. One unit, two semester length requirement, to be considered for honors in Urban Studies. Majors will have the option of taking one additional 300 level course, instead of the Senior thesis, in the disciplinary concentration or in Urban Studies.

Recommendations for the Major:

1. Foreign Language. Competency through the third year college level, as demonstrated by completion of the relevant courses or examination.

2. Structured JYA Experience. This is especially recommended for those who are interested in architecture and/or global, historical and comparative issues, and area studies.

3. Outside of Major Course work. This includes Introduction to Macroeconomics and Introduction to Microeconomics, study of aesthetics, ethics and social and political philosophy, and study of theories of confrontation and liberation, concentrating on class movements, critical race theory, anti-racism, feminist theory, queer theory and environmental theory.

Requirements for Correlate Sequence: Six units including Urban Studies 100, which should be taken no later than the Junior year, one unit of Urban Studies 200, two 200-level courses, reflecting the concentration of the student in the Urban Studies correlate, two 300-level courses in accordance with the intellectual path set by the 200-level work. No more than two transfer units may be credited towards the sequence. No more than one unit may overlap with the major.

After declaration of the major or correlate sequence, no NRO work will be permissible or applicable to the major.


Core Courses

100b. Introduction to Urban Studies (1)

This course is an introduction to the debates on historical alteration of urban space and its cross cultural expressions. By concentrating on urban contradictions, topics include formation and perpetuation of hierarchy in space, and its political, economic social and cultural manifestations and contesting movements. The specific requirements of the course entail study of the debates, including their methodology, with an emphasis on the connection between theory and research. The course is coordinated by one faculty member in cooperation with the Urban Studies Program faculty. Ms. Batur-VanderLippe.

200a. Urban Theory (1)

This course reviews the development of theories regarding human behavior in cities and the production of space. The course spans the twentieth century, from the industrial city to cyber-space, with a global comparative focus. Literature and topics examined to include urban ecology, community studies, the public sphere, economy, the global city system and urban cultures. Mr. Nevarez.

Prerequisite: Urban Studies 100.

201b. Aesthetics and Urban Social Movements: Reading the (1)
Body in Protest

The course explores the political practices of social movements as forms of theatricality that display, dramatize, elaborate, and symbolically resolve the social tensions that have brought them into being. Mr. Cesareo.

Prerequisite: Urban Studies 100.

203a or b. Topics in Social Psychology (1)

(Same as Urban Studies 203) Topic for 2000/01: Self and Society in the Information Age

213b. Urban Planning and Practice (1)

An introduction to planning and practice. Course examines successful and unsuccessful cases of urban and regional planning events, compares and evaluates current growth management techniques, and explores a wide variety of planning methods and standards. Topics include citizen participation, goal setting, state and local land use management approaches, environmental protection measures, affordable housing strategies, transportation, and urban design. Mr. Akeley.

245b. The Ethnographer's Craft (1)

(Same as Anthropology 245)

249a. Field Work As an Urban Experience (1/2)

This course requires students to enroll in a half unit of field work in an area of their choice. It provides an interpretive and comparative framework by offering students readings on activism, social organization and community movements and facilitates collective discussions in a classroom setting. The Program.

Co-requisite: 1/2 unit of field work for a total of 1 unit.

[265b. Urban Education Reform] (1)

[Same as Education 265b) This course examines American urban education reform from historical and contemporary perspectives. Particular attention is given to the politics and economic aspects of educational change. Specific issues in the course include, but are not limited to: centralized vs. decentralized decision-making structures; standards and accountability mechanism; recruitment and retention of teachers; micropolitics within urban schools; and incentive-based reform strategies. Students are also afforded the opportunity to participate directly in current reform efforts through selected service learning projects in local Poughkeepsie schools. Mr. Roellke.

Special Permission

Not offered in 2000/01.

[273a. Representations of the City] (1)

This course provides a multidisciplinary analysis of how the city is represented in a variety of cultural media such as art, literature, music, or film. The particular focus may change from year to year, depending on the instructors. Instructor to be announced.

Not offered in 2000/01.

[274a. Urban Sociology: Building the City] (1)

(Same as Sociology 274a)

Not offered in 2000/01.

282a. Cities and Urbanization in Latin America

(Same as Geography, Latin American Studies and Sociology 282)

282b. Learning the 3 R's: Race, Representation, and Resistance (1)

(Same as Education 282)

283b. The Urban Informal Economy in Latin America (1)

(Same as Latin American/Sociology 283)

285a. Gender and Social Space (1)

(Same as Women Studies 285) This course explores the ways in which gender informs the spatial organization of daily life. This course explores the interrelation of gender and key spatial forms and practices such as the home, the city, the hotel, migration, shopping, community activism, and walking at night. The course draws on feminist theoretical work from diverse fields such as geography, architecture, anthropology and urban studies not only to begin to map the gendered divisions of the social world but also to understand gender itself as a spatial practice. Ms. Brawley.

Special Permission.

287a. Women and the Culture of Nature: Feminist Environmentalism (1)

(Same as Women Studies 287) This course is an introduction to feminist environmentalism as a political movement and an emerging critical field. We explore the ways women have shaped the meaning of nature as naturalists, gardeners, tourists, artists, scholars, and activists. We also explore a range of feminist theoretical approaches to the environment and to environmental crisis, such as critical ecofeminism feminist movements to end environment racism, and Marxist-feminist critiques of capitalist development. Ms. Brawley, Ms. Hackett.

Special Permission.

288a. Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning (1)

(Same as Science, Technology and Society 288a) Environmental quality can be threatened by development and urbanization. However, a healthy environment is impossible without healthy cities. This course examines the interrelationship between cities and regions, and points of interconnection between urban policy and planning, and environmental policy and planning. A wide range of factors contributing to urban and environmental quality are considered, and twentieth century American urban and environmental policies are reviewed. Recent and emerging policy tools and planning methods for managing land use and development in cities and regions are emphasized. In so doing, a foundational understanding of sustainable land use, and sustainable development are developed. Mr. Bunnell.

Prerequisite: Urban Studies 100.

290a or b. Field Work (1/2 or 1)

Individual projects through field work office, under supervision of one of the participating instructors. May be elected during the college year or during the summer. Special permission. Unscheduled.

300a. and 301b. Senior Thesis (1)

A thesis written in two semesters for one unit. The Program.

350b. New York City as a Social Laboratory (1)

(Same as Sociology 350b) In a classic essay on urban studies, sociologist Robert Park once called the city "a laboratory or clinic in which human nature and social processes may be conveniently and profitably studied." The scale, dynamism, and complexity of New York City make it a social laboratory without equal. This seminar provides a multidisciplinary inquiry into New York City as a case study in selected urban issues. Classroom meetings are combined with the field-based investigations that are a hallmark of Urban Studies. Site visits in New York City allow meetings with scholars, officials, developers, community leaders and others actively involved in urban affairs. Topics for the seminar may change from year to year, in which case the course may be repeated for credit.

Prerequisites: permission of the instructor.

Topic for 2000/01b: Urban Poverty and Inequality: This seminar draws on current scholarly debates about the factors which exacerbate or alleviate poverty among ethnic and racial minorities in urban settings. We discuss relevant issues with experts, community leaders and members of social service organizations, after which students carry out independent field research in a New York City neighborhood. Ms. Kaufman.

370b. Topics in Social and Urban Geography (1)

(same as Geography 370)

380a. Poughkeepsie Institute (1)

This course is taught in conjunction with the Poughkeepsie Institute, which is a collaboration of five local colleges: Bard, Dutchess Community, Marist, New Paltz and Vassar. The topics vary but are always on urban issues of local concern (often with national implications). The seminars are team-taught. There are always five professors present, one from each college. The course requires direct community experience and research. It aims to issue a collaborative report to foster community discussion among citizens, the media, and policy making bodies. The topics for the Institute may change from year to year in which case the course may be repeated for credit.

Topic for 2000/01b: The Poughkeepsie Waterfront: This course aims to discover, analyze, and report on the history, current project and future of the Poughkeepsie Water Front. This team-taught, multidisciplinary course examines the sociopolitical realities, local environmental issues and economic development policies. There is a strong emphasis on direct community research. Students are involved in traditional classroom work as well as cooperative research projects.

Prerequisite: permission of instructor.

Limited to 5 students.

381b. The Psychological Experience of Migration (1)

(Same as Psychology 381)

382b. Delmas Seminar: Walter Benjamin: Modernity and Everyday Life (1)

This year's Delmas seminar takes the work of Walter Benjamin as a point of departure for an inquiry into the relationship between modernity and everyday life. Benjamin made it his project to "unlock the concept of modernity," a project that involved, in part, coming to understand the relation between economic and the social, between capitalism and culture. Benjamin thought this relation could best be understood by looking at the ruins left behind by a previous moment of capitalist development- for him, Paris in the 19th century. For Benjamin, the commodity to not die a simple death; it lives on as garbage. This 'after life' opens the commodity to interpretation as 'the dream of the collective' and thus grounds the process of 'awakening' from the 'narcotic historicism' or capitalist modernity. The distracted gaze of the flauneur in the city, the phantasmagoria of the arcades, the mechanized unanimity of the crowd, the "commodity-soul," allegory, collective dream, literary montage, photography and film - these become the terms and methods by which Benjamin seeks to understand the "expressive character" of industrial society.

This seminar includes a two-week trip to Berlin and Paris (during Spring Break.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. Note application deadline is Monday, November 13th.

386b. Senior Seminar (1)

This course concentrates on advanced debates in Urban Studies and is designed to encourage students to produce research/grant proposals for projects in Urban Studies. Topics vary according to instructor. This seminar is required of all majors. Ms. Batur-VanderLippe, Mr. Godfrey.

Prerequisite: Urban Studies Majors only.

387b. Geographies of Modernity in Nineteenth Century America (1)

(Same as American Culture 387b) This course explores the transformations in social space and cultural identity that attended the emergence of modernity in the nineteenth century America. We chart the rise of the city, the public park, the asylum, the train, the factory the middleclass home, the culture industry, and the continental nation, as we explore the ways in which selected writers negotiated the ambivalent power of these new spaces of modern life and the new models of subjectivity and inferiority that took shape within them. Ms. Brawley, Ms. Graham.

Special Permission.


Independent Work

298a or b. Independent Work (1/2 or 1)

Individual project of reading or research, under supervision of one of the participating instructors.

399a or b. Senior Independent Work (1/2 or 1)

Independent project of reading or research under supervision of one of the participating instructors.