UN3445: City, Environment and Vulnerability | C. Fennell

Graduate Seminar
F 2:10-4PM

How are urbanites situated in place? What can that particular situation tell us about how urbanites will live, thrive, and waste in those places? How do social divides, like race and class, render the situations of some more or less vulnerable to environmental harm or the physical constraints of place? This seminar takes up those questions through the lens of the urban built environment and the relations it establishes between urbanites, the things of their city, and their material dimensions. We start with readings that challenge us to conceptualize the urban environment as an assemblage of bodies and things that impinge upon each other in consequential ways. We then move to several historical and ethnographic cases that foreground the stakes of these impingements in cities. Cases examined include urban waste systems, disasters, noise hazards, and mobility constraints. Throughout, our readings, conversations and excursions will consider what attention to the urban built environment can bring to studies of social inequality and urban social movements.