Poslední úprava: Dejan Kralj, Dr. (29.11.2015)
Critical American Urban History
Department of American Studies, Institute of International Studies, Charles University, Prague
Class sessions: Wednesdays, 14:00--‐15:20, J4018, Jinonice
Consultation hours: Wednesdays 11:00-13:00. Office: J3080, Jinonice Building A
Phone: 251 080 297 firstname.lastname@example.org
Lecturer: Dejan Kralj, Ph.D.
Syllabus subject to change with advance notification by the instructor
This course examines the evolution of the United States from a rural and small--‐town society to an urban and suburban nation, with a specific focus on the twentieth century and post--‐1945 social, cultural and political issues. Cities such as New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles have long offered some of the best laboratories for the study of American history, social structure, economic development and cultural change.
Certain problems and themes recur throughout the course of American urban and cultural history which will be focal points of this seminar: the interaction of private commerce with cultural change; the rise of distinctive working and middle classes; the segregation of public and private space; the formation of new and distinctive urban subcultures organized by gender, work, race, religion, ethnicity, and sexuality; problems of health and housing resulting from congestion; and blatant social divisions between the rich and poor, the native--‐born and immigrant, and blacks and whites: and such issues as environmental degradation, disenfranchisement, and violence. This colloquium will thus provide a historiographical introduction to the major questions and issues in the culture and social life of American cities.
Course Structure: Each class session will begin with a brief overview lecture by the instructor introducing that week’s theme for the course. Afterwards, a group of 1-3 students will give a short formal presentation (critical analysis, assessment, critique) on an outside reading of their choosing related to that week’s theme for the course. This group will also pose some questions for class discussion that relates to their specific work in addition to the assigned reading that the entire class, including the presenters, will read for each week. The rest of the session will be taken up by in--‐class discussion based on the instructors lecture, the students presentation, the assigned reading and related topics. This 2 means that for each class, all students will have to have read and bring in printed form the assigned reading.
1) Lectures, Reading Assignments, and Discussions: This course is a "student--‐driven" class advocating "active" participation and learning. Although there will be occasional lectures to supplement information not found in the readings, the focus of this course will be active discussion and analysis of the assigned reading materials and films. Students should read all materials assigned for each specific class date prior to attending class and be prepared to engage in student--‐led small and large group discussions. Students should prepare and maintain throughout the semester discussion "notes" covering the major issues and themes of each week’s readings as well as the films that will be viewed throughout the semester. In class, you should be prepared to share your analysis of the readings, pose questions, and relate the readings to other aspects of the course. In addition, the instructor will on occasion supply "discussion questions" to assist in focusing student’s class--‐time participation. Students that miss class frequently or that do not participate regularly in class discussion will be graded accordingly.
2) Presentations-Each student will give a short (5-10 minute) presentation (critical analysis, assessment, critique) on an outside reading of their choosing related to that week's theme for the course.
3) Each student will submit a short 5-8 page analytical paper exploring any topic(s) discussed in class or via the assigned readings. (Appropriate formats: historical essay, book review, multiple article comparison and critique)
4) Final Exam-There will be a comprehensive short answer essay exam on the final day of course. You will be given a set of questions from which you will answer two questions covering the various themes, issues and debates discussed throughout the semester.
Course Assessment Participation/discussion 40%, Presentation 10%, Paper 25%, Final Exam 25%
Below you will find a tentative list of weekly reading and discussion themes. I reserve the right to make any alterations deemed necessary as the semester progresses. Students will be notified in advance of any changes and will only be examined over the materials covered preceding the examination date.
Week 1 COURSE INTRODUCTION/SYLLABUS REVIEW (30.09.15)
Week 2 Introduction to Critical American Urban History (07.10.15)
Mandatory Readings: Timothy Gilfoyle, "White Cities, Linguistic Turns, and Disneylands" and Mumford, "What is a City?" 92-96.
Week 3 The Forces of Urbanization (14.10.15)
Mandatory Readings: William Cronon, Nature's Metropolis, Ch. 1 "Dreaming the Metropolis", pp. 23-54.
Week 4 Immigration In America (21.10.15)
Mandatory Readings: Timothy L. Smith, "Religion and Ethnicity in America", The American Historical Review, Vol. 83, No. 5 (Dec., 1978): 1155-1185. PRESENTATION: Natalie Cimalova
Week 5 NO CLASS NATIONAL HOLIDAY (28.10.15)
Week 6 Crime in the City (04.11.15)
Mandatory Readings: Mark H. Haller, "Organized Crime in Urban Society: Chicago in the Twentieth Century" Journal of Social History, Vol. 5, No. 2 (Winter, 1971-1972), pp. 210-234
PRESENTATION: Dalek Przemyslaw, Claire Slingsby, Julie Chmelikova
Week 7 Origins of Urban Popular Culture (11.11.15)
Mandatory Readings: Anthony Macías "Detroit Was Heavy": Modern Jazz, Bepop, And African American Expressive Culture" The Journal of African American History, Vol. 95, No. 1 (Winter 2010), pp. 44-70
PRESENTATION: Tomas Reif, Naomi Eiro, Katerina Davidova
Week 8 Suburbanization (18.11.15)
Mandatory Readings: Kenneth Jackson, Crabgrass Frontier, "Home Sweet Home: The House and the Yard" 44-72.
PRESENTATION: Adam Hushegyi, Petra Landerova, Lukas Jandus
Week 9 Race and the City (25.11.15)
Mandatory Readings: Karl E. Johnson, "Police-Black Community Relations in Postwar Philadelphia: Race and Criminalization in Urban Social Spaces, 1945-1960", The Journal of African American History, Vol. 89, No. 2, African Americans and the Urban Landscape (Spring, 2004): 118-134.
Josh Sides, "Straight into Compton: American Dreams, Urban Nightmares, and the Metamorphosis of a Black Suburb" American Quarterly, Vol. 56, No. 3, Los Angeles and the Future of Urban Cultures (Sep., 2004), pp. 583-605.
PRESENTATION: Tereza Pankova, Minkyung Shin, George Youngman
Week 10 Urban Crises & The Post-Industrial City (02.12.15)
Mandatory Readings: Thomas Sugre, Origins of the Urban Crisis, "Introduction" pp.2-13, and Peter Drier, "America's Urban Crisis A Decade After the Los Angeles Riots" pp.35-54.
PRESENTATION: Caio Ribeiro
Week 11 Race and the Militarization of Policing in American Cities (09.12.15)
Mandatory Readings: Mike Davis "Fortress Los Angeles: The Militarization of Urban Space" 155-180. PAPERS DUE
PRESENTATION: Faith Thompson
Week 12 American Cities Beyond the 21st Century FINAL EXAM (16.12.15)