Urban Studies

Director: Pinar Batur-VanderLippe (Sociology); Steering Committee: Nicholas Adams (Art), Joyce Bickerstaff (Education and Africana Studies), Andrew Bush (Hispanic Studies), James Challey (Physics and Science, Technology and Society), Brian Godfrey (Geography), Luke C. Harris (Political Science), Jeh Johnson (Art), Peter Leonard (Urban Studies), Marque Miringoff (Sociology), Sidney Plotkin (Political Science), Robin Trainor (Education), Anthony S. 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: 12 units, including Introduction to Urban Studies (100); 1 unit chosen from the approved courses in urban theory; 1 unit of Field Work (290); 1 unit chosen from the approved methods courses; Workshop in Urban Practice (recommended in junior year); Senior Thesis or Project (300) or an additional 300-level course chosen from the approved Urban Studies courses; 6 units chosen from the approved Urban Studies courses, at least one of which must be at the 300-level. No more than 4 transfer units may be credited toward the major.

Requirements for Correlate Sequence: 6 units, including Introduction to Urban Studies (100) which should be taken no later than the junior year; 1 unit chosen from approved courses in urban theory; two relevant courses at the 200-level (1 unit of field work at an approved urban placement may be substituted);two relevant courses at the 300-level in two different disciplines. No more than 2 transfer units may be credited toward the sequence. No more than one unit may overlap with major.

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

Core Courses

100b. Introduction to Urban Studies: The City in History (1)

An introduction to the study of cities from a variety of methodological perspectives; in a variety of historical and cultural settings. The emphasis is on the history and character of urbanization, the physical layout of specific cities, day-to-day life in these cities, and the meaning of these cities within the broader historical setting. Instructors to be announced.

271a. Forms of Social Conflict (1)

(Same as Sociology 271a)

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.

Topic for 1999/00a: The City in Film and Photography. This course studies artistic representations of the city in twentieth-century film and photography. Films to be assigned may include Metropolis, The City, Hester Street, Chinatown, and Leaving L.A. We will offer an option to make a short video film about a city--Poughkeepsie. Mr. Leonard.

280b. Urban Education Reform (1)

(Same as 280 Education) This course examines American urban education reform from historical and contemporary perspectives. Particular attention is given to the political 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 mechanisms; 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.

Prerequisite: introductory political science or economics.

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

(Same as Education 282)

284a. Urban Sociology: Building in the City (1)

(same as SOCI 284a)

286b. Designing the American Suburb (1)

(Same as Geography 286) The course reviews the form and function of the American suburb. Cultural associations of suburbs are put into the broader historical context of U.S. urbanization. Intentional communities, retrofits and new urbanist concepts are examined and applied in real life settings.

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 or b. Senior Thesis or Project (1)

Under the guidance of one of the members of the participating faculty.

301b. Workshop in Urban Practice (1)

A study of particular forms and concepts, versions and visions of American communities as found in the local region. The course is designed to enable students to study issues of national policy or culture at the local level. Students will work together in multidisciplinary research groups, incorporating on-site learning with a wide range of sources and methods, and sharing their results.

Required of students concentrating in the program, open to other students whose concentration makes it appropriate, by permission of the director and as space permits.

May be repeated for credit if the topic has changed.

Topic for 1999/00b: To be announced. Mr. Johnson.

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

(Same as 350a. Geography) 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.

Topic for 1999/00a: Urban Redevelopment and Gentrification. An examination of urban redevelopment projects and related processes of gentrification in the historical contexts of social change, immigration, economic restructuring, and planning in New York City. The seminar focuses on the impacts of government- and corporate-sponsored urban renewal in Lower Manhattan, Greenwich Village, Times Square, Harlem, the South Bronx, and Brooklyn. After visiting these areas and discussing relevant issues with experts, students will carry out independent field research. Mr. Godfrey.

Prerequisites; Geography 250 or permission of the instructor.

380a. Poughkeepsie Institute: Housing and Homelessness in Poughkeepsie (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 1999/00a: Housing and Homelessness in Poughkeepsie. This team-taught course will examine the current types of housing in Poughkeepsie, as well as the causes and conditions of the homeless in our area. There will be traditional reading from a variety of academic fields, as well as a strong field work component of direct community experience with the issues. The research and public policy recommendations will be released to the public and the media, in written and video form, to promote community discussion on these issues. Instructor to be announced.

Prerequisite: permission of instructor.

Limited to 5 students.

[381. Community, Technology, and Power] (1)

An examination of the impact of major technologies on American communities and how such communities respond. Special emphasis is given to the local effects of the civilian and military nuclear industry; other examples may include the automobile and chemical industries, conflicts over hazardous waste sites, community responses to plant shutdowns, as well as local efforts to attract new technology and investment. The role of community planning in technological development is also considered. Ms. Batur-VanderLippe, Mr. Plotkin.

Prerequisite: permission of instructors.

Not offered in 1999/00.

385a. Seminar in Urban Planning (1)

(Same as Geography 385) Investigates current major urban and environmental issues such as land use, transportation, housing, urban renewal, new towns and environmental quality, analyzing causes and attempted solutions. Approached through theory and practice of city and regional planning profession; independent analysis and problem-solving encouraged in field research. Mr. Akeley.

Prerequisite: open to juniors and seniors by permission.

II. 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.

Approved Courses

Urban Theory

Geography 250. Urban Geography (1)

[Sociology 262. The City] (1)

Urban Studies 271. Forms of Social Conflict (1)


Art 102-103. Basic Drawing (1)

Art 275/276. Architectural Drawing (1/2)

Economics 209. Introduction to Statistics and Empirical Economics (1)

Geography 220. Cartography (1)

Geography 222. Geographic Research Methods (1)

Sociology 254. Research Methods (1)

Urban Studies

Africana Studies 206. Social Change in the Black Community (1)

[Africana Studies 270. The Harlem Renaissance] (1)

Africana Studies 330. Black Metropolis: Caste and Class in Urban American 1800-1980 (1)

Art 170. History of Architecture (1)

Art 220. Romanesque and Gothic Architecture (1)

[Art 270. Renaissance Architecture] (1)

[Art 272. Modern Architecture] (1)

Art 273. Architecture after Modernism (1)

Art 370. Seminar in Architecture History (1)

Art 375/376. Architectural Design (1)

[Classics 217. Democracy and Imperialism: Athenian Democracy, the Peloponnesian Wars, and the Aftermath] (1)

Classics 218. Republican Rome: From the Foundation through the Age of Augustus (1)

[Classics 219. The Roman Empire: From the Julio-Claudian Era through the Fall] (1)

Economics 245. Public Economics (1)

Education 235. Issues in Contemporary Education (1)

[Education 260. Child Abuse and Domestic Violence: American Cultural and Social Problems] (1)

Geography 250. Urban Geography (1)

[Geography 370. Topics in Urban and Social Geography] (1)

[History 277. The Making of the "American Century": 1890-1945] (1)

History 354. Victorian London: A Test Case in Urban History (1)

[History 369. Themes in Twentieth-Century Urban History: Social Reform and the Evolution of the Welfare State] (1)

[Political Science 239. Public Policy Analysis] (1)

Political Science 242. Law, Justice and Politics (1)

[Political Science 249. The Politics of City, Suburb and Neighborhood] (1)

Political Science 348. Seminar in Democracy and Power in America (1)

[Sociology 262. The City: People, Space and Struggle] (1)

[Sociology 263. Criminology] (1)

[Sociology 361. Cities of the World: Urbanization from a Global Perspective] (1)

[Sociology 364. Social Welfare and Social Policy] (1)