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Steven Hoelscher, Chair Burdine 437, Mailcode B7100, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-7277

Fall 2004

AMS 370 • The Cultures of Cities-W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
27925 TTh
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
GAR 301

Course Description

The United States, it has been noted, was born in the country and moved to the city. This course examines that social movement and the evolution of the United States from a rural and small-town society to an urban and suburban nation. Specifically, we consider the transformation of urban space and place during the epochal era from the late-eighteenth through the mid- to late-twentieth centuries. Cities have long offered some of the best laboratories for the study of American cultural change, social structure, and economic development. Among the themes and problems that emerge from this distinctive geographical setting, we will consider: the interaction between private enterprise and cultural change; the segregation of public and private space; the formation of new and distinctive urban subcultures organized by gender, work, race, religion, and sexuality; the rise of working and middle classes, and attendant new residential and working spaces; the blatant social and spatial divisions between the rich and poor, the native-born and immigrant, and blacks and whites; and the increasing importance of “cultural capital” in reshaping urban politics and conflicts over revitalization and gentrification.


Nicholas Lemann, The Promised Land: The Great Black Migration and How it Changed America Mike Davis, City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles Kenneth T. Jackson, Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States Dolores Hayden, The Power of Place: Urban Landscapes as Public History Jacob Riis, How the Other Half Lives Andrew Ross, The Celebration Chronicles: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Property Value in Disney’s New Town Don Mitchell, The Right to the City: Social Justice and the Fight for Public Space Films: “Bladerunner” “Lewis Mumford on the City” “The Truman Show”


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