This course considers the sociological dimensions of urban life, treating the city as both a social formation with its own distinctive set of logics, institutions, and practices, as well as a spatial metaphor for the problems and conflicts of modern society more generally. The main areas of inquiry are (a) urbanization and the place of the city in the modernization process; (b) the sidewalk as a locus of racial and class relations, interactions, tensions, and cultural practices; (c) post-WWII transformations of urban space, with a focus on the processes of urban renewal, suburbanization, and “gentrification”; (d) the sources and structures of urban poverty, and their interpretation (and misinterpretation) in the ethnographic accounts of sociologists.
Limited to 20 students. Spring semester. Five College Professor Fantasia.