By Susan Moffat
What does the first year of an experiment in the emerging field of urban humanities look like on the campuses of two major public universities? At a recent Los Angeles symposium, it was described by participants as diverse, exciting, and surprisingly unsettling. Over the past year, in parallel experiments at UCLA and UC Berkeley, graduate students explored Tokyo, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area using methods from film theory, anthropology, architecture, urban planning, history, art practice and other fields. Both faculty and students came from a wide variety of humanistic and design disciplines and wrestled with the creative and epistemological tensions inherent in interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary work.
On June 11, 2014, participants in the UC Berkeley Global Humanities Initiative and the UCLA Urban Humanities Initiative gathered at UCLA’s Perloff Hall to review student projects and reflect on teaching and learning experiences at a symposium called “Anxieties of Interdisciplinarity: Projects in the Urban Humanities.” These are two among of a growing number of initiatives funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in its Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities program, and the UCLA-UC Berkeley teams are meeting for joint symposia about twice a year to share notes and exchange ideas.
For notes on the student projects and a summary of discussions, click here.
Susan Moffat is Project Director of the UC Berkeley Global Urban Humanities Initiative.
Photo credit: markystar.wordpress.com