This class will offer students an in-depth exploration of the urban artifact that is Paris. That is, rather than attending to a selection of events having transpired in Paris over its history, we will be proceeding “forensically,” peeling back what is visible to today’s observer in order to uncover the competing ambitions, economic pressures, and ideologies that have produced one of the most visited cities in the world. Thus, students can expect to gain knowledge of the city’s built environment and how and why it looks like it does. We will be reading a variety of texts (novels, plays, and memoirs or parts thereof; poems; ephemeral pieces; selections from architectural, historical and sociological studies), viewing a number of films, and looking at a lot of visual works (paintings, engravings, maps).
Course taught in English; knowledge of French not required.