EXI585: Introduction to Urban Studies

The world's urban populations rose from 13% in 1900 to 56.61% in 2021.

The world's urban populations rose from 13% in 1900 to 56.61% in 2021. Attendant to this global trend are the ongoing pressures on urban and national governments to provide solutions to a wide array of urban problems. This course is about how cities, suburbs, and metropolitan areas worldwide meet, or fall short of, the residents' aspirations to address those problems. The course will use the tools of geography, history, and social sciences to get a sense of how various disciplines frame and analyze the urban question. As this course requires hands-on student involvement, field trips and short assignments culminating in a final project, will constitute opportunities for students to learn and use new skills in "reading" the city. The course is divided into three main topoi (spatial contexts), each associated with a set of concepts, theories, processes and issues: First, the local where Exeter will serve as a visual laboratory for analyzing spatial data. Second, the national with Boston as a case study in urban history and a potential site for ethnographic exploration. Third, the global will focus on a selection of cities in the Global South to exemplify ways in which (post)colonialism, global capitalism and state formation continue to (re)shape urban processes. The course will include three Sunday field trips to Boston. Each student must commit to attending at least two of these trips.