Explore the relationship between the urban experience and visual media. Through the analysis of photography, film, and digital media from 1880 to the present, paired with seminal readings in urban planning and social theory, students will tease out the latent connection between visual media and urban life. Class themes include: ‘sex in the city’ (examining Roman Holiday paired with readings of theorist Anne Friedberg or Richard Sennett); ‘control/surveillance’ (examining Chinatown paired with readings from Michel Foucault or Mike Davis); ‘post-apocalyptic imagination’ (examining anime Ghost in the Shell paired with texts focused on future urban ecology or theorists like Donna Haraway); or “future memories” (examining new media paired with readings which explore both linear vs. non-linear notions of time as it relates to the city).
Course Description: In this course each week, we will compare chosen media examples (photography, films, anime/magna, commercials, web content, etc.) with selected seminal readings in urban planning and social theory to tease out latent connection between visual media and urban life. Each week is be structured around a different theme – city symphonies, alienation, gender, globalism, immigration, poverty, surveillance, ecology, noir, etc. Students are expected to select readings that particularly interest them each week and come to class prepared to discuss the major ideas at hand, referencing the required texts and the media example.