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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Gregory Keith Harris
CHID 250
Seattle Campus

Special Topics: Introduction to the History of Ideas

Examines a different subject or problem from a comparative framework. Satisfies the Gateways major/minor requirement. Offered: AWSp.

Class description

To conceive of the city as anything other than the intersection of flows, trajectories, interests, or processes would be a great injustice. Everyday urban life depends on material flows of electricity, water, information, the influx of food, and the outflow of waste, while it also creates ideas, communication, camaraderie, exchange, products, and violence. Some painters, filmmakers, musicians, and photographers have used the city as inspiration, while others – graffiti writers, performance artists – use it as their canvas or stage.

As a place where all these practices collide, the city has been studied from a wide range of perspectives: sociology, architecture, geography, urban planning, economics, public policy, and philosophy. In this course we will follow many of the crooked paths of knowledge and representation that have been carved through the city by the likes of Henri Lefebvre, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Teju Cole, Michel Foucault, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Philip Glass, and Timothy “Speed? Levitch, and perhaps even cut some of our own.

Student learning goals

Gain familiarity with a wide range of thinkers who address the city.

General method of instruction

Primarily close readings and primarily seminar style discussions, with short lectures when the material demands it, and several film screenings.

Recommended preparation

No prerequisites

Class assignments and grading

Short reading responses and in class discussions. Term paper/project that will relate some of the in-class readings to an urban space of your choosing.

Grades are based on the demonstration of engagement with the course material through class discussion and the paper/project.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Gregory Keith Harris
Date: 01/25/2013