The City, Arts, and Public Space

Methods Across Disciplines

Fall 2013
City Planning 291 / Theater, Dance and Performance Studies 266

Instructors: Teresa Caldeira (City Planning) and Shannon Jackson (Theater, Dance and Performance Studies; Rhetoric; Arts Research Center)

Monday, 2-5PM
Dwinelle Annex

Local urban practices and artistic interventions are recreating public spaces in metropolises around the world. This cross-listed graduate seminar draws from different methods across the humanities and environmental design to explore some of these interventions and to theorize about the public character of the transformations that they provoke. This course is part of an initiative that aims to connect different disciplines to produce new knowledge, methods, and pedagogies for the understanding of metropolises worldwide.

We will juxtapose different methodological and theoretical debates to address questions such as: how can we conceive of the public in cities connected globally by communication technologies? what are the spaces and mechanisms for contesting and reconfiguring these publics? what are the assumptions behind terms such as "global city," "megacity," and "world city"? how are cities branded, made into spectacles, and represented? what are the potentials and what are the limits of the "creative class" discourse in arts-based urban planning? how is civic inequality reproduced locally and transnationally? how do new urban practices and artistic interventions affect configurations of gender, race, and the representation of violence? how is precarity reproduced and aestheticized? These questions will be addressed through readings and the investigation of selected cases both in the Bay Area and internationally.

Throughout, students will be exposed to and critically consider different kinds of methodologies, including interview methods, observation, discourse analysis, formal analysis, archival research, and photography. In addition to the two instructors from different Colleges on campus, the course will invite visiting lecturers to join selected discussions that will be open to a wider public of faculty, students, and Bay Area colleagues. Some of the authors to be engaged during the course might include: Filip de Boeck, Teresa Caldeira, Néstor Garcia Canclini, Guy Debord, TJ Demos, Rosalind Deutsche, Jen Harvie, Jurgen Habermas, Shannon Jackson, Grant Kester, Miwon Kwon, Henri Lefebvre, Achille Mbembe, Sarah Nuttall, Jacques Rancière, Saskia Sassen, Rebecca Solnit, and Thomas Sugrue.