1848 - 1914
Urban Culture and Identity
Manchester, Paris, and New York
course will explore urban life and culture from the 1840s to the mid-20th
century - the people who shaped it, the conflicts and cooperation that
emerged from it, and the way its attractions lure both pleasure seekers
and reformers alike. We will move from early nineteenth century industrializing
England to the Paris of the later part of the century, and then to New
York in the early years of the twentieth century. We focus on the emergence
of the modern city and the ways in which the city has been an incubator
for modern forms of perception, social organization, and social-political
conflict. We will ask questions about the relationship of multiple and
over-lapping identities - race, class, gender, ethnicity, and sexuality
- to the urban experience both lived and imagined. What makes a city a
city? How do the physical environments of cities shape the lives and cultures
of those who live in them? At the same time, how have city dwellers created
their own environments through the use of public and private space? What
methods and perspectives have scholars, reformers, and other observers
used to see and describe cities and the people who live in them? The principal
aim will be to develop an understanding of how the urban experience has
been a powerful force in shaping the evolution of modern social, political,
and cultural forms.
1) All reading assignments must be done before each class.
2) Weekly 2 page writing assignment on each week's assigned reading due
on Thursday. I will not accept late papers. These response papers will
be grade 1,2,3.
Class preparation, participation, and weekly writing assignments: 40 %
of your grade.
Metropolitan Museum Assignment: 30% Tenement Museum Project: 30%
papers will be penalized at the rate of a full grade per day. You may
miss up to three classes without penalty. More than three absences will
adversely affect your class participation grade, and more than seven absences
will mean automatic failure of the course.
Berman, Marshall, All that is Solid Melts into Air
Cahan, Abe, Yekl
Kasson, John F., Amusing the Millions: Coney Island at the Turn of the
Zola, Emile, The Ladies' Paradise
Xerox Packet: many of the assigned readings for this course are excerpted
from larger works or are in article form. The Xerox packets are available
for purchase at Sir Speedy. One copy of the packet will be on reserve
at the Hofstra library.
Introduction: Screening of The City (Williard
Van Dyke and Paul Strand)
City as Historical Problem - George Simmel, "The
Metropolis and Mental Life"
Industrial City: Manchester and London
Urban Industrial Transformation -
The Industrial Revolution - Friedrich Engels,
Introduction,The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844.
Friedrich Engles, The Great Towns
The Factory and the City - Asa
Briggs, "Manchester: Symbol of a New Age," from Victorian Cities.
Classes not in Session
Chadwick Report on the Sanitary Condition of
the Labouring Population, 1842; selections from Dickens, Hard Times
Fri 9/20 Urban Middle Class Culture, Public
and Private - J.W. Kirton, Happy Homes and How
to Make Them.
J. Kidd, Introduction and Michael Rose, Culture, Philanthropy and the
Manchester Middle Classes, in Alan Kidd and K.W. Roberts (eds), City,
Class and Culture.
Wed 9/25 Working
Women in the City - Sally Alexander, Women's
Work in Nineteenth-Century London, A Study of the Years 1820-60s in Becoming
a Woman and Other Essays in 19th and 20th Century Feminist History
Ellen Ross, Labour and Love: Rediscovering London's
Working Class Mothers, 1870-1918 in Labour & Love. Women's Experience
of Home and Family 1850-1940.
Class and the City - Judith Walkowitz, Prostitution
and Victorian Society, Women, Class, and the State, Chapters 1, 10.
The Planned City of Spectacle
Old Paris and Haussmanization - David Pinkney,
Napoleon III and the Rebuilding of Paris.
The Paris Commune: Urban Civil War Stewart Edwards,
Introduction to the Communards of Paris, 1871.
Robert Herbert, Paris Transformed in Impressionism
Middle Class Culture and the Commodity: The Crystal
Palace - Emile Zola, The Ladies' Paradise (first half)
Fantasy, Spectacle, Desire and Consumer Culture - (second
Bohemian Counterculture and the Bourgeoisie - Jerrold
Seigel, The Boundaries of Bohemia and Publicity and Fantasy: The World
of Cabarets in Bohemian Paris[Give out Metropolitan Museum Assignment]
Immigrants in the City of Light -
Walking the Modernist City - Baudelaire (selections
from Paris Spleen: To Arsene Houssaye, Loss of a Halo, Crowds, The Stranger);
Marshall Berman, Baudelaire: Modernism in the Streets
Mon 10/21 Mass Culture - Vanessa
Schwartz, Public Visits to the Morgue: Flanerie in the Service of the
State in Spectacular Realities
Wed 10/23 he Painting of Modern Life
- Robert Herbert, Naturalism and Impressionism
Catch up day
York: The Modern Metropolis
Era in New York (Introduction)- Met Assignment
Ewen, 9 and 10.
Elizabeth Ewen, Immigrant Women in the Land of
Dollars, chapters: 1 and 2.
Immigration and the City during the Progressive Era: A New Culture - Abe
Cahan, Yekl and Ewen, ch. 3 and 4
Wed 11/6 Urban
Reform: Jacob Riis - Jacob Riis, How the Other
Half Lives: selections
Fri 11/8 Ewen,
Ch. 5 and 8.
Mon 11/11 Urban
Pleasures, Urban Dangers - George Chauncey, The
Bowery as Haven and Spectacle, in Gay New York. Ewen, Ch. 6 and 7.
Wed 11/13 Leisure
- John F. Kasson, Amusing the Millions: Coney
Island at the Turn of the Century:
Fri 11/15 Kasson Continued
Mon 11/18 Coney Island Continued. Kathy Peiss,
The Coney Island Excursion in Cheap Amusements.
Wed 11/20 Screening: Coney Island. Ewen, 9 &
Fri 11/22 Ewen,
13 and 14.
Mon 11/25 Race,
Identity, and the City: The Harlem Renaissance -
Rudolphe Fisher, The Caucasian Storms Harlem (1927) in Voices
from the Harlem Renaissance.
Wed 11/27-Fri 11/29 CLASSES NOT IN SESSION
Hughes - "Slave on the Block"
Wed 12/4 Robert
Moses: Urban Renewal or Devastation - Marshall
Berman, Robert Moses: The Expressway World, All That is Solid
Fri 12/6 Screening of The City (Willard Van Dyke
and Paul Strand)
Mon 12/9 Catch up day
Wed 12/11 Conclusions