TS: Urban History and Culture
This Topical Survey course offers an overview of the development of towns in Europe from Late Antiquity to the twenty-first century, in other words from their post-Roman origins through their medieval and Early Modern transformations to industrialization and the contemporary urbanism. The course will primarily focus on European urban development, but following the recent broadening of the field, this will be placed in a global perspective. The sessions and the readings will discuss aspects of social, economic and cultural life, from families and households through fraternities, corporations, and urban communities to commercial and industrial enterprises, municipal governments and urban planning initiatives. The course will also analyze the spatial development, physical and social topography of cities and towns in the context of their natural environment, geographical locations, statehood, politics, and culture.
The goals of the course
The course is organized as a series of topical classes with readings selected in such a way as to familiarize the students with recent historiography. The course presents the key concepts, sources, and methodology of urban history through a set of examples. The overall aim is to develop a comprehensive and critical understanding of social, demographic and cultural developments and structures in Europe and beyond from the fourth until the twenty-first century through an urban lens.
The expected outcome for the students is to gain a general knowledge of the problems analyzed by the course and understanding of the most important interpretations and debates in the historiography. After completing the course, the students will be able to draw upon this general knowledge and various interpretations as a context, frame of reference, and comparative dimension for their more specific topics of study and research.
Assessment and grading:
• Two short papers (ca. 1500 words each). The mid-term paper (due November 3) should refer to the first part of the course, the final paper (due December 15) should refer to the second part of course. The papers should engage with readings of the course but can focus on certain time periods or topics according to individual interests. (30%+30%)
•Class participation and contribution to group discussions of optional readings. (40 %)
Students taking the course for grade must not miss more than two sessions. Students taking the class for audit must not miss more than three sessions.