AP/ANTH 4450 3.00
ANTHROPOLOGY OF THE CITY
In the next few decades, there will be more people living in cities than ever before. The tremendous growth of cities around the world but especially in the global south, which now has cities comprising of fifteen to twenty-five million people (almost half the size of the population of Canada), poses an interesting set of questions for anthropology, a discipline that has traditionally focused on smaller groups and settings.
Through a close reading of a few classics in Urban Anthropology and contemporary ethnographic case studies from Mexico, Brazil, Thailand, India, China, USA, and Canada, first half of the course introduces the students to the foundational concepts and methodological tools used by anthropologists in the study of the city.
Covering approaches from World-Systems theory to theories of space and place, everyday practices, and governmentality, the course examines the historical, social, political-economic forces that make cities to be the locus of capitalist production, consumption, labor, migration, wealth and waste. In the second half, the course focuses on the ethnographic case studies from the global north and south to examine urban forms, gentrification, crime, violence, urban renewal, poverty, im/migration, neighborhoods, dissent, and governance in the megapolises and critically engages with the methodological challenge posed by the scale and complexity of the city for anthropology.
In addressing the ways anthropologist can draw on and contribute to the study of the city, the course considers the methodological exercise of the flaneur to study the everyday life of the city as well as other anthropological methods.
The goal of the course is to make students reflect on the space of the city, how it is configured by micro-and macro-practices of a range of actors (humans and non-humans) and in turn constitute the city as a anthropological site, process, and a practice. Specific assignments are designed to engage and reflect on different aspects of a city (politics, populations, possibilities, media, governance) they know and one they don't know.
Format: Three seminar hours