A Sense of Place
|Semester and Year||SP 2015|
|Time||12:30 – 3:15|
Notes & Restrictions
Course meets during the first seven weeks only, Jan. 30 – March 12
This course examines the places in which we work and play, travel and dwell–the office tower and the suburban house, the city street and the superhighway, the small town and the megalopolis, the shopping mall and the theme park, the American road and foreign places. Synthesizing insights from literary works and fields like cultural geography, landscape studies, and architectural history, we explore such questions as: What gives a place its particular feel or character? How do our values and worldview affect the way we experience places, and what constitutes that experience? How do places–and the way they are represented in literature and other media–shape our attitudes and behavior? What gives a place “quality,” and how can we design and build better places? Readings may include J. B. Jackson’s Landscape in Sight, Yi-Fu Tuan’s Space and Place, James Kunstler’s The Geography of Nowhere, D. J. Waldie’s Holy Land, and Michael Sorkin’s Twenty Minutes in Manhattan.
The assigned readings are available through the NYU ebrary and other online sources.
1. Twelve blog posts (about 500 words each) (70%)
2. Twelve comments on other posts (100 words) (10%)
3. In class: participation, attendance, etc. (20% of final grade)
(No Incomplete grades.)
(for details, see the Assignments page)
|Week 1: Definitions|
|Essays by Cross, Massey, Meinig|
|Week 2: Lost and found|
|Bachelard, Busch, Tuan, and bell hooks||1. Topophilia|
|White, Social Life of Small Urban Spaces||2. Social Spaces|
|Week 3: Knowing where you are|
|Lynch, Image of the City||3. City Form|
|Essays on wayfinding||4. Orientation|
|Week 4: Cities & Suburbs|
|Jacobs, Death and Life of Great American Cities||5. Utopias|
|Selections from Kunstler, Hayden, and Flint||6. Suburbia|
|Week 5: Landscapes & Buildings|
|Essays by J. B. Jackson||7. Vernacular|
|Readings on architecture||8. Buildings|
|Week 6: Non-places & New York|
|Relph, Place and Placelessness||9. Non-Places|
|Essays by Mitchell, White, Didion, Frazier||10. New York Stories|
|Week 7: Making places|
|Lippard, Lure of the Local||11. Spirit of Place|
|Selected readings||12. Placemaking|
The blog posts are due on Mondays and Thursdays. The comments on other people’s posts can be done a day or two later. (These are important deadlines, and the website makes it easy to track them.)
In writing your posts, you are encouraged to copy and paste quotations from scholarly articles and other websites, but it is extremely important that you cite your source (author or title) and provide a link to it. The blog posts are a form of academic writing, and plagiarism is a serious violation of the rules of academic integrity.
The class is a discussion seminar and meets only seven times, so attendance is very important and part of the final grade.
Office: 1 Washington Place, room 608
Office Hours: Fridays, 11-12:30; 3:15 – 4:00; appointments recommended.