Culture of Cities

During the nineteenth century, as dramatic urban transformations rendered many European and American cities nearly unrecognizable, a new urban discourse emerged. Urban critics struggled to understand the nature of this altered environment and to analyze the unique qualities of urban life. This seminar will address this literature historically and thematically, reading a selection of key texts. These readings are highly selective and only represent a small part of a vast literature, yet they should serve as an introduction to the ways in which European and American writers in widely varied disciplines have approached the city.