What makes a neighborhood “sketchy”? This interdisciplinary course will consider the social processes through which contemporary spatial imaginaries are produced, reproduced, and reconfigured in the context of the contemporary United States. Broadly linked to questions of power, knowledge, and representation, this course will critically examine the spatial dimensions of citizenship and social identities, focusing on the way in which language and discourse become material through global and domestic policies. Understanding that spaces and places are embedded with coded assumptions about belonging and desirability that are nationally and historically specific will provide students with a foundation for understanding and critiquing practices of U.S. imperialism and other issues relating to global inequality.
Drawing on history, geography, anthropology, and philosophy, the semester’s readings will include an array of topics including settler colonialism, various forms of migration, and the politics of military bases abroad. Students with an interest in social inequality, education, and public history will find this course of interest. The course is organized around a series of weekly readings and corresponding written work.