Search | Directories | Reference Tools
UW Home > Discover UW > Student Guide > Course Catalog 

Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Rebecca A. Burnett
GEOG 478
Seattle Campus

Social Justice and the City

Provides a link between general theories of urban development and their specific manifestation in the United States. Explores a series of themes related to contemporary urbanization processes, including urban segregation, gentrification, the rise of fortress cities, homelessness, and the loss of public space. Recommended: GEOG 277.

Class description

The purpose of this course is for students to think critically about urban social relations and to gain a better understanding of social justice, inequality, access, and privilege as they relate to urban space, inclusion and exclusion. With a focus on the current debates around cities, this course will explore the ways in which identity, political economy, and space come together to create different ways of “knowing” the city. This class will highlight the roles of race, class, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, and resistance in shaping the physical and social geographies of cities. The course will challenge you to interrogate dominant representations and conceptualizations of cities and to think critically about who has access and control over urban space.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

We will learn together through readings, class discussion, guest presentations, films and fieldwork. As a writing intensive, 400-level course, this class is designed to improve and challenge your academic skills in the areas of independent research, collaborative research, academic presentations, critical reading, thinking and writing, and political and geographical debate.

Recommended preparation

Geog 277 is recommended

Class assignments and grading

Short papers, a longer research paper, take home midterm, participation assignments, and a fieldwork assignment.


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 Rebecca A. Burnett
Date: 11/13/2012