The American City (USSC6917)


This unit explores the concept, ideal and experience of the city in the United States. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, this course seeks to engage a variety of discourses in its exploration of the question of the city as both an imaginary and a material construct. The particularity of the American city will be examined by considering how it is lived in terms of built form, urban life and sustainability and how it is conceived in and through its representation in literature, cinema, the visual arts, critical and cultural theory, urban studies and popular culture. From a study of sources as diverse as the changing and conflicted fictional cityscapes of Edith Wharton, Dos Passos and DeLillo; the cartoons of Frank Miller; the films of Martin Scorcese; as well as, reflecting upon and rethinking the notion of the `wounded' or `traumatised' (post-crisis) cities of NYC, Detroit and New Orleans; addressing the crucial issue of sustainability and the future of the city; and exploring the significance of contemporary urban phenomena, the American city will be discovered to be a unique, dynamic, paradoxical and profoundly influential site of human interaction and engagement.

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1x2-hr class/week


seminar participation (10%), 1x1000wd multi-media scrapbook (25%), 1x oral presentation of research project (15%) and 1x4000wd final research project (50%)

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If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.

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