Paris: A Historical Anatomy of the World's Most Romantic City
This class will offer students an in-depth exploration of the urban artifact that is Paris — from its parks, cafés, and boulevards to its monuments, its Métro, and even its sewers. While these features are iconic and — apart from the sewers! — “beautiful,” one of our aims will be to understand, historically, the costs of such beauty. Who paid for Paris, and why? And what of the many who, in successive transformations, have been priced out?
The visible features of the City of Lights will thus be approached “forensically,” as we peek beneath the glamour to reveal the economic, demographic, and ideological pressures that have produced the most visited city in the world. We will be looking at photos, films, and paintings, and reading some literary works (usually in excerpt). Primary as well as secondary historical sources will be studied. And the course will include a data science module that will give a hands-on statistical look at the city and its history (no coding experience necessary). All course materials and lectures in English.
This course satisfies the College of Letters and Science breadth requirement in Historical Studies or in Social and Behavioral Sciences. Course taught in English; knowledge of French not required.