Stephen C. Brown
Delineation and analysis of a specific problem or related problems in anthropology. Offered occasionally by visitors or resident faculty.
Anth 469 is a rubric for focusing on extraordinary topics. In this case the title of the class will be 'Metropolis' (working title, anyway) and the focus will be on the development of urban centers over the last two centuries. For the first time in history, living in a city is a usual condition for nearly half the human race. Many people have observed that modernity is closely associated with the rise of this unprecedented social and cultural phenomenon. While there have unquestionably been instances of concentrations of people living in close proximity dating back thousands of years, some argue that only recently have the specific social forms and organizations associated with contemporary urban centers emerged. In fact it is now commonplace to observe that the city-dwelling elite of, say, India and Japan may have more in common with each other than they do with the rural populations of their own respective nations. If globalization means anything, it isnt a villageits a city.
The title of the class consciously alludes to the eponymous Fritz Lang film, which along with some other seminal works by Walter Benjamin et al will set the tone for the class. So we will take a look at the origins of the modern city, some of the issues associated with it, and also look at some of the different forms of specific citiesprobably including Johannesburg (South Africa), Surabaya (Indonesia), and Seattle (wherever that is), and possibly including Paris, New York/Harlem, Tokyo, Bombay, Manila, Sao Palo, and Buenos Aires.
In addition to anthropological texts, the course will draw from films, novels, and other materials which afford insight into how the modern city mediates our lives. Coursework will certainly include several short papers and will require participation in class discussions.
Contact Chris Brown at email@example.com for further information
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Class assignments and grading