Thursday, June 01, 2006

Summer School

Tourist Productions

Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett
New York University / Department of Performance Studies
Fall 2005

A booming multinational industry, tourism is a powerful medium of encounter. There is hardly a place on earth not part of the recreational geography of tourism. This course will undertake a performance analysis of tourist productions, including trouist discourse, settings, events, experiences, and artifacts from an ethnographic perspective. An exemplary case of cultural invention and commodification, tourism is implicated in the histories of pilgrimage, travel, colonialism, and ethnography, retracing their itineraries and replicating their discourses. Tourism offers a particularly rich site for a critical engagement with theories of globalization, imperialism, experience, and identity.

We will pay special attention to the political economy of tourism as seen through a close analysis of actual sites. We will explore the infrastructure and interface of tourism as technologies in their own right. We will consider the problem of agency, the performance of ethnographic tropes, the theatricalization of the life world, shifting threshholds of wonder, the equivocal relationship of actualities and virtualities, "realness" as a mediated effect, imagineering and theming, the discourse of "experience," "immersion," and "world," the nature of "interactivitiy," and the banalization of memory, among others. Of particular interest are (1) tourism as an experience industry that engages the senses and emotions, and (2) the relationship between tourism and heritage in relation to cultural policy and development, from the perspectives of public history, public folklore, public art, and such agencies as UNESCO and the World Bank.

Theories/Practices/Spatialities: Anti-globalization, Anti-capitalisms, Global Justice Movements, and Geographies of the New International (PDF)

John Pickles
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill / Department of Geography

This seminar is structured around two central issues. The first, and central one, is ‘globalization and its discontents’, especially anti-globalization movements like those that erupted in Seattle and beyond, ‘organizations’ like Genoa Social Forum, the autonomous regions movement in Mexico, and others. The second theme will relate to theorizing space and power, that is, we will work towards a theorizing of the conceptual underpinnings and spatial practices of the antiglobalization movements. We will be working through several institutions of globalization in some details (e.g., World Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization, Global Economic Forum) as well as the websites of anti-globalization movements.

The goal of this seminar will be to better understand the institutions, practices, and geographies of contemporary neo-liberalism and globalization, and the various strands of grassroots activism that have emerged in response to the practices and consequences of both. In particular, we will situate these social movements in terms of the institutional practices of millennial capitalism, the spatialities of contemporary modernities, and anti-essentialist social theories and critiques of political economy. That is, we aim to take up a geographical critique of political economy; to spatialize our understand of the economics of the political and the politics of economies, and to hold open the spaces of difference that allow for alternative geographies of modernity.

Rethinking the economy: A multi-/inter-disciplinary seminar (PDF)

Arturo Escobar / Anthropology
Lawrence Grossberg / Communication Studies
John Pickles / Geography

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Spring, 2004

This class is not a primer on the history of economic thought, nor an argument for a new “correct” theory of economics. The class will try to offer a “cultural study” of both the economy and economics while at the same time, introducing students to a wide range of contemporary discourses of economics, especially in the context of debates around globalization. We will engage with and contextualize the various ways in which the 'economy' has been constituted and acted upon in the twentieth century (providing the beginnings of a conjunctural or genealogical account of the economy). We will look at economics as a resource and effect of various discursive apparatuses (of political economy). The course aims to situate the neo-liberal project historically and institutionally, and to consider some of the various ways in which alternative understandings of the economy have been framed and acted upon.

Shifting Values and Other Futures: Neo-liberalism, Development, and the Defense of Society (PDF)

John Pickles
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill / Department of Geography
Spring 2006

Seminar in Cultural Geography

Tim Oakes
University of Colorado at Boulder / Department of Geography
Spring 2006

This seminar explores some critical developments and debates within cultural geography while, at the same time, introducing a sub-field of geography that remains notoriously difficult to define or characterize in any coherent way. The material reflects my interest in culture less as a social phenomenon with particular spatial expressions, than in culture as an idea and resource, with significant material and spatial implications. The seminar therefore assumes a discursive approach to culture. This said, however, I hope to resist any reduction of the discourse of culture to textual metaphors of interpretation. I thus remain consistently focused on the materialist implications of culture (not to be confused with an focus on “material culture”).

Collaboration in Contemporary Art

Grant H. Kester
University of California at San Diego / Visual Arts Department
Winter 2004

This seminar will examine recent developments in collaborative art practice. Specifically we will discuss projects that challenge the conventions associated with solitary artistic expression via collaborative production carried on either among a group of artists, or between the artist and other groups or individuals. Examples include Superflex, MuF, B+B, Littoral Arts, Platform, Park Fiction, Temporary Services, Ernesto Noriega, Mongrel, Sarai Media Lab, Wochenklausur, and Khave Society, among others. How do we account for the re-emergence of the collective unit as a mode of artistic production at this moment? What is the history of this tendency? How do we theorize collaborative production and how does it parallel, and challenge, the forms of knowledge generated by solitary artistic practices? We will discuss the ethical and epistemological questions raised by collaborative practice (with reference to forms of collective identity), it’s conflicted relationship to research paradigms drawn from the sciences as well as the history of vanguard political movements, and its roots in modern art history.

Community Development and Housing Policy: Role of State, Civil Society, and Non-Profits (PDF)

Jacqueline Leavitt
UCLA / Department of Urban Planning
Spring 2006

... Consensus about the scope of the crisis does not mean that everyone agrees on what is to be done. Housing, perhaps more than any other material good, is wrapped up in ideologies of what has been called “propertied independence” and individual freedom. This leads to questions about the role of the state and what types of interventions the state should undertake. Does the state withdraw from programs such as public housing as has been the history in the United States? Should housing intervention resolve structural poverty and if so, what level of government should take the lead? What is the relationship between national policies and local actions? What rights and privileges does homeownership confer and is renting a consignment to second class status? What is the role of civil society? Do nonprofit community development corporations provide one part of the answer, and if so, the answer to what – shelter only or access to the community embedded in the American Dream concept? What role has labor played in the past and what should be its role in the future? Where do the grassroots come in?

Advanced Studies in Urban Cultures

Anne Galloway
Carleton University / Department of Sociology & Anthropology
Winter 2005

According to the United Nations, by mid-2000, almost half of the world's 6.1 billion inhabitants lived in urban areas and that proportion is expected to reach 60 per cent in the next 25 years. As urbanisation increases, there will be a need for greater knowledge of urban people and practices in order to ensure quality of life around the world. Drawing on understandings of cities and urbanism from anthropologists and sociologists, architects, urban planners and geographers, policy makers and artists, this course asks what it means to be - and become - urban.

In a world where technologies seem to render space and time irrelevant, what happens to our sense of place? When cities embody global relations, flows, migrations and cultural ties to far-off places, for whom does the urban remain as tangible and clearly delimited as the medieval walled city? How is city space and public life organised? What forms do power, control and resistance take? What are the roles of "non-places" in urban space? How does mobility shape urban experience? How do the spectacular, the carnivalesque, and utopian dreams play out in urban contexts? What is the relationship of consumption to urban living? How do different people negotiate identities and experience everyday life in the city?

Advanced Studies in Urban Cultures / WEBLOG

Rethinking Economy (PDF)

Julie Graham / Community Economies Project
University of Massachusetts / Department of Geosciences
Fall 2005

This course begins by looking critically at widespread and influential theories of “globalization” and “economic development” in which a naturalized capitalist economy structures the contours of social possibility. We will critically interrogate these literatures from a variety of perspectives — including those of poststructuralism, feminism, and postmodern political economy, as well as other perspectives that students bring to the class. During the second part of the course, we will explore the realm of economic possibility outside the narrow confines of mainstream globalization and development discourse.

Colonialism and Postcolonial Theory

Margaret Kohn
University of Florida / Department of Political Science
Spring 2006

The goal of the course is to analyze the relationship between Western political thought and the project of imperialism. In the first part of the course we will try to unravel the puzzle of how it was possible that universalistic theories such as liberalism could be used to justify and legitimize political domination. We will read canonical figures such as Burke, Mill, Tocqueville, and Marx in order to understand how they criticized and/or defended imperialism. In the second part of the course, students will be exposed to the interdisciplinary literature that is usually labeled “postcolonial theory.” This tradition, pioneered by Edward Said’s Orientalism, draws attention to the problematic issue of representation. In the spirit of Spivak’s famous question “can the subaltern speak,” we will discuss how postcolonial subjectivities are constituted and resisted through discursive practices. In the third part of the course, we will look at the way “the empire writes back.” We will read influential political theories that were formulated in response to the experiences of colonialism and decolonization. Time permitting, the final week will introduce some of the theoretical approaches to contemporary imperialism.

Philosophy, Social Theory, and Human Geography: Powers, Spaces, Politics

Derek Gregory
University of British Columbia / Department of Geography
Fall 2004

Many writers have argued that the (long) nineteenth century was the era of time, the (equally long) twentieth century the era of space. And yet, at the very same moment, others have insisted (some celebrating, others mourning) ‘the end of geography’: the dissolution of space in the fluid world of speed and hypermobility, of instaneity and virtuality. It’s not difficult to resolve this apparent paradox: everything depends on how ‘space’ is conceptualised.

In fact, ‘space’ has become one of the keywords of critical human geography and the “spatial turn” across the spectrum of the humanities and social sciences has produced an extraordinary, even unprecedented interest in the ‘place’ of space in the constitution and conduct of human life. The contributions to this developing discourse have come from almost every discipline – and the spaces in between –and this interdisciplinary course addresses two central questions:

1. What are the differences that ‘space’ makes to how we both understand and conduct social life? Or, to ask the same question in a different way, how is space implicated in the operation and outcome of social processes?

2. How might those differences and implications be registered and made the object of critical inquiry and political action? Or, what are the connections between spatial analytics, power and politics?

Topics in Economic Geography: Space, Sovereignty, Identity and Rule

Michael Watts
University of California at Berkeley / Department of Geography
Spring 2006

Provoked in part by the new phase of American empire, I would like to use this seminar to explore some of the relations between geography, identity and rule. It rests on a presumption that these questions have a contemporary salience related to the ‘new spaces’ in which something like sovereignty operates beyond the confines of the nation state. These governable spaces can be more or less unruly but operate through particular forms of identity and space (one can think of forms of indigenous or chiefly rule in Africa, or forms of trans-border economic activity). The nation retain enormous power of course as a territorially based for of rule and identification and we shall spend much time on this question but also explore non-national spaces and the sorts of processes involved in their making, rule and governance. The ideas of geographers such Harvey, Massey, and Gregory will be read against the ideas of Lefebvre, Foucault, Mann and Poulantzas and Bourdieu. Each week we read a core monograph which will be read against some theoretical pieces (by geographers and non geographers) as a way of attempting to construct a sort of road map of around the idea of governable spaces.

Governing Citizens: Genealogy, Critique, Politics

Engin Isin
York University / Citizenship Studies Media Lab
Summer 2003

Themes in Citizenship Studies > The Summer 2003 theme examined the issue of governing citizens. Rather than considering citizenship as an enclosed political identity (liberal, communitarian, republican, radical), we examined it as an assemblage of strategies and technologies that aim to produce governable subjects. It is through these assemblages that citizenship becomes a 'problem' insofar as its project of producing governable subjects encounter resistances, difficulties, detours and reversals to which it responds with various different rationalities. We examined this subject by drawing upon the literature on 'governmentality' as we also investigated the limits and flaws of this literature.

American Environmental History

William Cronon
Frederick Jackson Turner Professor of History, Geography, and Environmental Studies
University of Wisconsin at Madison
Fall 2005

Environmental history, a relatively new field, studies the changing relationship between human beings and the natural world through time. Despite being numbered at the 400-level, this course is intended as an introduction to this exciting new field of scholarship, with no prerequisites. It assumes no background in American history, geography, or environmental studies, and offers a general survey that can be valuable for students interested in any of these fields, from entry-level undergraduates through graduate students. Although the course is intended to be challenging, it is also meant to be fun: any student willing to attend lectures, do the readings, and work hard should be able to enjoy and do well in it. Our central premise throughout will be that much of the familiar terrain of American history looks very different when seen in an environmental context, and that one can learn a great deal about history, geography, and the environment by studying them together. All too often, historians study the human past without attending to nature. All too often, scientists study nature without attending to human history. We will try to discover the value of integrating these different perspectives, and argue that the humanistic perspectives of historians and geographers are absolutely crucial if one hopes to understand contemporary environmental issues.

We will be approaching American environmental history from at least three different angles. First, we will ask how various human activities have historically depended on and interacted with the natural world: how have natural phenomena and resources shaped patterns of human life in different regions of the continent? Second, we will trace the shifting attitudes toward nature held by different Americans during various periods of their nation's history: how have the human inhabitants of this continent perceived and attached meanings to the world around them, and how have those attitudes shaped their cultural and political lives? Finally, we will ask how human attitudes and activities have worked together to reshape the American landscape: how have people altered the world around them, and what have been the consequences of those alterations for natural and human communities alike? At the same time, we will be tracing the evolution of environmental politics in the United States, so that the course is also a history of conservation and environmentalism in our nation’s political life down to the present.

Revolutionary Planning (DOC)

Jacqueline Leavitt
UCLA / Department of Urban Planning
Spring 2006

This course arose out of the realization that there is a lack of discussion about revolution and revolutionary visions in planning today. Many of the problems faced by under-privileged communities are dire in nature and have been left to only worsen because of the dominant planning ideologies in place. These ideologies and practices have left planners helpless in our pursuit for social justice and have served to only strengthen the status quo. The vision of this course is to understand and analyze the ways revolutionary thought and implementation can educate us about changing the systems that keep people physically, socially, and economically captive.

Historically, revolution has been a method to create social change in repressive environments. Though there have been successful revolutions and there are currently movements struggling for change, many go unnoticed as the society at large continues to believe that they are irrelevant to the problems we face in the United States.

Landscape - Memory - Identity (PDF)

Paul Basu
University of Sussex / Department of Anthropology
Spring 2006

In ‘Landscape-Memory-Identity’ we explore three resonant themes in contemporary anthropology, both separately and in relation to one another. Drawing on a wide variety of theoretical perspectives and ethnographic case examples, the course ranges over such topics as the social construction of landscape; individual and collective memory; narrative and performance; sites of memory and memorialisation; rhetorics of selfmaking; metaphors of home, homeland and homelessness; diasporic communities; symbolic ethnicity; and travelling cultures such as heritage tourism and pilgrimage. In diverse cultural and geographic contexts, the course examines the ways in which places are experienced, known, imagined, yearned for, moved across, remembered, appropriated, contested, represented and identified with. Students will have the opportunity to conduct original research on such themes in their dissertation work, thus developing their own distinctive anthropological approach to this fascinating interdisciplinary field of study.

The Political Economy of Urbanization: An Introduction to Critical Urban Studies (PDF)

Edward Soja
UCLA / Department of Urban Planning
Winter 2006

The urbanization of the world has recently reached a new threshold. Today the majority of the world’s population not only lives in cities but in large metropolitan regions of more than one million inhabitants. This concentration of population in 400 or so sprawling city regions, as they are now called, has been accompanied over the past thirty years by many dramatic changes in the form and functioning of cities, in the ways the urban political economy is organized, in the cultural composition of the population, and in the very nature of urbanism as a way of life. These changes have, in turn, stimulated new approaches to studying cities and the urbanization process.

This course will focus on these new approaches to urban studies and, in particular, on how urban scholars have been analyzing and interpreting the restructuring of the modern metropolis that has been taking place over the past three decades. Specific attention will be given to the Greater Los Angeles urban region and to the development of explicitly spatial perspectives in urban studies and in the theory and practice of urban planning.

Globalization: Theory and Evidence (PDF)

Michael Storper
UCLA / Department of Urban Planning
Winter 2006

Theories of regional economic development, location, and trade are applied here to the contemporary process known as "globalization," and used to decipher this phenomenon and its effects on regional and national patterns of development, employment, income distribution, political institutions and policymaking. The style of the course is to outline the theory used to deal with each topic and then to consider the factual evidence. The purpose of this is to develop a sober analytical approach, and to get beyond the frequent polemics about globalization.


Syllabi in Community-based Arts / CANuniversity

MIT OpenCourseWare

H-Urban Teaching Center

Syllabus Finder / Center for History and New Media

Course Syllabi / UCLA School of Public Affairs - Department of Urban Planning

Research on Space & Place