Friday, November 24, 2006

City and Country: Modern Spatial History

Alas! I'm spending too much time away from this blog. Baby, applications, and the albatross (Diss) take up too much of my time. Needless to say, this state of affairs won't last forever.

Yet I need help. I've been trying to design a course, either advanced undergraduate or graduate, that integrates various aspects of, what I would call, spatial history: urban history, social history, rural history, environmental history, etc. This project, while it has got me thinking about how these topics work together, it has made me aware of deficiencies in my reading.

Anyway, this is how the units are set up so far:

Part I: Milieu The City from Tradition to Modernity
Primary reading: Mark Mazower, Salonica, City of Ghosts
Secondary reading: Edwin Burrows and Mike Wallace, Gotham

Fate of the Village
Primary reading: John Merriman, Stones of Balazuc?
Secondary reading: Marc Bloch, French Rural History?

Taking Control of Nature
Primary Reading: Charles Mann,
Secondary Reading: David Blackbourn, The Conquest of Nature

Part II: Theories
Theories of Space
Primary Reading: Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space
Secondary Reading: Paul Virilio, Negative Horizon

Primary Reading: Ann Whitson Spirn, The Language of Landscape
Secondary Reading: Renzo Dubbini, Geography of the Gaze

Primary Reading: ?
Secondary Readin: Jan De Vries, European Urbanization

Primary Reading: J.R. McNeill, Something New under the Sun
Secondary Reading: Jeffry Diefendorf and Kurk Dorsey, eds., City, Country, Empire?

Part III: Themes
Geography of the Imagination
Primary Reading: Aaron Sachs, The Humboldt Current
Secondary Reading: Martin Rudwick, Bursting the Limits of Time

Industry and Environment
Primary Reading: Marc Cioc, The Rhine: An Eco-Biography, 1815-2000
Secondary Reading: ?

Preservation and Conservation
Primary Reading: Maiken Umbach and Bernd Huppauf, Vernacular Modernism
Secondary Reading: Rudy Koshar, Germany’s Transient Pasts ?

Memory and Place
Primary Reading: Orhan Pamuk, Istanbul
Secondary Reading: Michael J. Lewis, The Politics of the German Gothic Revival

Green Politics
Secondary Reading: Gregg Mitman, The State of Nature
Secondary Reading: ?

Space and the European Union
Primary Reading: Andreas Faludi, Making the European Spatial Development Perspective
Secondary Reading: None

German, all too German! I'm disappointed that these readings seem to apply mostly to Germany, France to a lesser extent. Moreover, there are several holes that I cannot fill in the way I like. Anyway, I'd appreciate any feedback anyone might have with regard to the readings or the structure. Thanks!


At 4:09 AM, Blogger eb said...

It looks like your course is going to be European-based, but if you don't mind adding something from the US, Nature's Metropolis, about Chicago, might fit into your urbanization or industry and environment sections. I wonder if someone's done something similar for a European city.

At 9:37 AM, Blogger Nathanael said...

Thanks for your suggestion I will definitely look into it.

Although I don't want this to be a Europe-only course, I want it to serve the needs of Europeanists. Surveying history departments, I've noticed that urban and environmental history courses are almost always for Americanists only.

That said, I've also realized that most of my reading on these topics have been in foreign languages, not necessarily accessible to all.

Certainly, I welcome suggestion from all fields.

At 11:33 AM, Blogger Brdgt said...

I'm working on my the Urban Ecology section of my prelim list right now - these are all American and exclude explicit environmental history and public health history, as those will be on other parts of the list.

William Cronon, Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West (New York: W. W. Norton, 1991).

Mike Davis, Ecology of Fear: Los Angeles and the Imagination of Disaster (New York: Metropolitan Books, 1998).

Matthew Gandy, Concrete and Clay: Reworking Nature in New York City (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2002).

Andrew Hurley, Environmental Inequalities: Class, Race, and Industrial Pollution in Gary, Indiana, 1945-1980 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1995).

Ari Kelman, A River and its City: The Nature of Landscape in New Orleans (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003).

Eric Klinenberg, Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002).

Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner, Deceit and Denial: The Deadly Politics of Industrial Pollution (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2002).

Martin Melosi, The Sanitary City: Urban Infrastructure in America from Colonial Times to the Present (Baltimore Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000).

Jared Orsi, Hazardous Metropolis: Flooding and Urban Ecology in Los Angeles (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004).

Adam Rome, The Bulldozer in the Countryside: Suburban Sprawl and the Rise of American Environmentalism (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001).

Susan Strasser, Waste and Want: A Social History of Trash (New York: Metropolitan Books, 1999).

Joel Tarr, The Search for the Ultimate Sink: Urban Pollution in Historical Perspective (Akron, Ohio: University of Akron press, 1996).

At 12:39 AM, Blogger sepoy said...

some random thoughts:

Wheatley, Paul. 1969. The city as symbol: inaugural lecture (London).

Kevin Lynch, The Image of the City (1960). Cambridge: MIT Press, 2002.

and some thoughts from south asia:

Chris Bayly, “Stability and Change in the cities, 1770-1810,” in Rulers, Townsmen and Bazaars, pps 110-163.

Veena Talwar Oldenburg, “The City Must be Clean,” in The Making of Colonial Lucknow, pps 9-21 and 96-144.

Suketu Mehta, Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found. Delhi: Penguin Books India, 2004.

FILM: Satya (dir. Ram Gopal Varma)

Le Corbusier, The City of Tomorrow and its Planning

James Scott, “The High Modernist City: An Experiment and a Critique,” in Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed, pps 103-146

Sunil Kumar, "A Medieval Reservoir and Modern Urban Planning: Local Society and the Hauz-i-Rani" and "Making Sacred History or Everyone his/her own Historian: The Pasts of the village of Saidlajab" from The Present in Delhi's Pasts. Delhi: Three Essays Press, 2002, pp.62-118.

do share ur full syllabi.....

At 6:39 PM, Blogger Nathanael said...

These are all great suggestions--I'm looking at all of them now.

Two questions:

Brdgt: You have several selections that deal with catastrophes. Is this something lacking in my outline?

Sepoy: I've picked up and put back down Maximum City numerous times. Something does not impress me about the book. However, I do want something that reveals hyper-modernization in urbanization--something different from the typical NY-London-Paris models. Indeed, I want to get rid of Gotham, if possible.

At 7:55 PM, Blogger Alan Baumler said...

Looks like an interesting class. -Nature’s Metropolis- is a great book, and you should definitely try to fit it in somehow. (Students will forget your course structure within a few months, a good book sticks to them longer.)

There are a lot of city books out on East Asia recently, although a lot of them, like Michael Marme’s –Suzhou: Where the Goods of All the Provinces Converge, skew more pre-modern than you seem to want. Lu Hanchao’s –Beyond the Neon Lights: Everyday Shanghai in the Early Twentieth Century- is one of the better ones on modern cities, especially as he has a lot on how space was actually used.

Outside the cities Ken Pommeranz –The Making of a Hinterland: State, Society and Economy in Inland North China, 1852-1937- is good on the modern transformations of the countryside.

At 10:33 PM, Blogger sepoy said...

Also Robert Neuwirth's Shadow Cities - and did you catch the article on Lagos by Packer in the NYer a few weeks ago?

and yeah, I am no big fan of MaxCity.

At 12:18 PM, Blogger Brdgt said...

Brdgt: You have several selections that deal with catastrophes. Is this something lacking in my outline?

It seems like risk and the built environment is a "hot" field right now - moving beyond the Ulrich Beck "risk society" to include "natural" disasters (heat waves, Katrina, etc.)

I just printed out a review essay on the topic in Technology and Culture (Ari Kelman, "Nature Bats Last: Some Recent Works on Technology and Urban Disaster").


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