This course will interrogate concepts of the city and of urban imagination through literature and film set in or featuring cities both real and fictive. We will explore the city's paradoxical claims to modernity, as well as its postmodern and postcolonial transformations. Specific themes and problems will include the relationship between the city and capital; figures of the masses and the crowd; circulation and control; boredom and novelty; the aesthetic, psychosocial, and political significance of architectural structures; the rise of the megacity and post-industrial dystopias. Readings will be loosely organized around four cities--Paris, New York, Dakar, and Johannesburg--and may include Charles Baudelaire, Walter Benjamin, Giannina Braschi, Italo Calvino, Nafissatou Diallo, Langston Hughes, Ishmael Reed, Kgebetli Moele, Ivan Vladislavic, Walt Whitman. Films by Djibril Diop Mambety and Ousmane Sembene, District 9, and King Kong (1933).