Summer Sessions | Courses | Urban Studies

Course information is posted for 2021. Please check back at a later time for updated 2022 course offerings.

Urban Studies

The Barnard-Columbia Urban Studies program enables students to explore and understand the urban experience in all of its richness and complexity. It recognizes the city as an amalgam of diverse peoples and their social, political, economic, and cultural interactions within a distinctive built environment.

Visit their department site to learn more here: urban.barnard.edu.

Check the Directory of Classes for the most up-to-date course information.

Summer 2021 Session Information

  • SESSION A courses are May 3–June 18, 2021
  • SESSION B courses are June 28–August 16, 2021
Courses
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INTRODUCTION TO URBAN STUDIES
URBS1517S001 3 points.

This course is intended to be both an interdisciplinary introduction to the city and to the field of Urban Studies. As an introduction to the city, the course will address a variety of questions: What is a city? How did cities develop? How do cities function socially, politically, and economically? Why do people live in cities? What are some of the major issues facing cities in the early twenty-first century, and how can cities address these issues? As an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of Urban Studies, the course will present models of how scholars approach cities from a variety of disciplinary viewpoints, including architecture, planning, law, sociology, history, archaeology, anthropology, political science, public policy, and geography. Students will learn some of the major concepts in the field of Urban Studies, and will study the works of leading scholars in the field. Students in the course will approach cities from a number of disciplines, not only through the reading, but also through assignments that take place in different locations throughout New York City.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
URBS1517S001 001/11139 Summer B Subterm Th 01:00 PM–04:10 PM
Tu 01:00 PM–04:10 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Mary Rocco
3 Open for Enrollment
(auto-fill waitlist)
On-Line Only
INTRO TO URBAN ETHNOGRAPHIES
URBS3308V001 3 points.

What is ethnography and what makes ethnography “urban”? This course explores how social scientists use ethnography to analyze questions and dilemmas often associated with urban settings. We will combine close readings of ethnographies with field-based inquiry, including our own studies of urban public space. Through both our readings and our field exercises, we will focus on the methods at the heart of ethnography: observation and participant-observation.

As we read other scholars’ work, we will ask how the author uses ethnographic tools to explore issues that are suitable for intensive fieldwork. We will assess which kinds of research problems and theoretical perspectives are a good fit with ethnography and the roles that ethnography can play in transdisciplinary research projects. You will apply what you have learned about research to design your own pilot fieldwork. The ethnographies that we read together will examine intersections of housing, race, and class in urban communities. You are welcome to extend this focus to your own fieldwork, but it’s not required to do so. This is a writing-intensive course, and we will devote a considerable portion of class time to workshop your individual projects.

 

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
URBS3308V001 001/00202 Summer B Subterm Mo 01:10 PM–04:00 PM
We 01:10 PM–04:00 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Chandler Miranda
3 Open for Enrollment
(auto-fill waitlist)
RACE, SPACE AND URBAN SCHOOLS
URBS3311S001 3 points.

Many people don’t think of themselves as having attended segregated schools.  And yet, most of us went to schools attended primarily by people who look very much like ourselves.  In fact, schools have become more segregated over the past 30 years, even as the country becomes increasingly racially diverse.  In this class, we will use public schools in New York as an example to examine the role race plays in shaping urban spaces and institutions.

We will begin by unpacking the concept of racialization, or the process by which a person, place, phenomenon, or characteristic becomes associated with a certain race. Then, we will explore the following questions: What are the relationships between city schools and their local contexts?  What does it mean to be a “neighborhood school”?  How are spaces inside of schools racialized?  We will use ethnographies, narrative nonfiction, and educational research to explore these questions from a variety of perspectives.  You will apply what you have learned to your own experiences and to current debates over urban policies and public schools.

This course will extend your understanding of key anthropological and sociological perspectives on urban inequality in the United States, as well as introduce you to critical theory.  

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
URBS3311S001 001/12147 Summer A Subterm Th 01:00 PM–04:10 PM
Tu 01:00 PM–04:10 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Chandler Miranda
3 Closed for Online Registration Hybrid
METROPOLITICS OF RACE & PLACE
URBS3315V001 3 points.

This class explores how racism and racialized capitalism and politics shape the distribution of material resources among cities and suburbs in metropolitan areas and the racial and ethnic groups residing in them. Readings and discussion focus on the history of metropolitan area expansion and economic development, as well as contemporary social processes shaping racial and ethnic groups’ access to high-quality public goods and private amenities. We address racial and ethnic groups’ evolving political agendas in today’s increasingly market-driven socio-political context, noting the roles of residents; federal, state, and local governments; market institutions and actors; urban planners, activist organizations, foundations, and social scientists, among others. Here is a sample of specific topics: race/ethnicity and who “belongs” in what “place;” inequitable government and market investment across racial and ethnic communities over time and “sedimentation effects” (for example, the “redlining” of Black communities leading to their inability to access loan and credit markets and the resulting wealth gap between Blacks and Whites); gentrification processes; creating sufficient, sustainable tax bases; and suburban sprawl. Assignments will include two short response papers, mid-term and final exams, and another project to be determined.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
URBS3315V001 001/00003 Summer A Subterm Mo 01:00 PM–02:35 PM
Tu 01:00 PM–02:35 PM
Th 01:00 PM–02:35 PM
We 01:00 PM–02:35 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Angela Simms
3 Registration Block
(w/ Self-Managed Wait List)
HOMELESSNESS IN NYC
URBS3480V001 3 points.

This course will examine the social, political, and economic elements that have aligned in New York City to produce the most expansive infrastructure of homeless shelters in the United States, as well as ongoing changes in the city’s homeless policy since the housing foreclosure crisis. While we will focus primarily on the past 30 to 40 years in New York City, we will consider the history of homelessness and housing in the United States since the Great Depression. Major themes will include criminalization, origin myths, and representations of people who are experiencing homelessness. Key questions will include: In what ways is the current geography of homelessness the result of historical patterns of racism and discrimination? How does studying homelessness provide insight into the ways urban spaces are made? Why have shelters become the primary public response to homelessness in New York? How are race and gender central to the project of building a shelter infrastructure in New York? How are shelters experienced by those living in them? What are some of the ways people living in shelters organize to advocate for their rights and to resist mainstream representations?

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
URBS3480V001 001/00004 Summer A Subterm Tu 09:30 AM–12:40 PM
Th 09:30 AM–12:40 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Christian Siener
3 Registration Block
(w/ Self-Managed Wait List)