In the beginning of the 20th century, when metropolitan life was being chronicled by some of the era’s greatest writers, artists, and thinkers for the depths of its miseries and high of its nervous splendors, only 10% of the world’s population lived in urban centers. Today, more than 75% of the world’s citizens live in cities. The city of our new century bears little resemblance to metropolis of the last century; in this course, we’ll trace, through an immersion both the literature of the city and the urban theory that undergirds it, the material phenomenon of the city and the ways it has been depicted in fiction, non-fiction, poetry, film, and more experimental forms—like the Situationist adventure in psychogeography known as the dérive. Throughout the term students will write their own encounters with the urban uncanny (in a number of different forms) and refine them in regular workshops.
Corequisites: Students in this class are required to attend Literature evenings on Wednesday nights.