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Course Details

Spring 2018-2019
* HIS 451 / URB 451 / AMS 413 (HA)   na, npdf

Writing about Cities

Sean P. Fraga

How do cities remember the past? From street names to Confederate statutes to urban redevelopment, questions of place and public memory are intertwined and frequently contested. In this seminar, "Writing about Cities: Place and Memory," you'll learn to read cities as cultural texts by engaging in cultural analysis, archival research, and geographic fieldwork. You'll also contribute to discussions about place and memory by proposing a new memorial or monument for Princeton's campus. Field trips within Princeton and to New York City augment our discussions, as do visits from guest speakers.

Sample reading list:
Delores Hayden, The Power of Place
John Stilgoe, What is Landscape?
Coll Thrush, Native Seattle
Sharon Zukin, The Cultures of Cities
Kirk Savage, Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves
Eric Avila, The Folklore of the Freeway
See instructor for complete list

Reading/Writing assignments:
Students will read roughly 250 pages per week. A short midterm paper combines our classroom discussions with geographic fieldwork. For the final project, students develop an original, historically-informed proposal for a monument or memorial that commemorates a person, group of people, or event not presently recognized on Princeton's campus. Students may use this project to lay the groundwork for JPs or senior theses. A final paper, summarizing the presentation, is due on Dean's Date.

Paper in Lieu of Mid Term - 30%
Paper in lieu of Final - 30%
Class/Precept Participation - 20%
Other (See Instructor) - 20%

Other Requirements:
United States Travel Required

Prerequisites and Restrictions:
This upper-level seminar is intended for students broadly familiar with U.S. history. You should be prepared if you've taken general U.S. history courses in high school or at Princeton. Specific Interest or prior work in urban history, memory studies, or community activism is helpful but not necessary. No specialized training is required..

Other information:
Student will present their proposals for new monuments or memorials for Princeton's campus to university administrators at the end of term. Syllabus available upon request. Other authors include Lewis Mumford, J. B. Jackson, Jane Jacobs, Walter Benjamin, Joan Dideon, Craig Barton, D. Lorne McWatters, John Bodnar, James Young, Kristin Ann Hass, Andrew Dolkart, Colson Whitehead, and Mitch Landrieu, as well as "Controversial Monuments and Memorials: A Guide for Community Leaders."

Schedule/Classroom assignment:

Class numberSectionTimeDaysRoomEnrollmentStatus
41650 S01 01:30:00 pm - 04:20:00 pm Th        Enrolled:0 Limit:0 Canceled