This course focuses on the emergence of the modern city and of urban experience from the 19th to the 21st century. The city can be a space of anonymity, freedom, and loneliness, as much as a place of connection and exciting possibilities. Architecture and the organization of space produce different behaviors, types of perception and subjectivity. Above all, the modern metropolis is spectacular, and continually offers things to see to the eye. We will start with a short story by Edgar Allan Poe that centers on the relation between the individual and the crowd, to examine the figure of the flaneur, the man who strolls through the city enjoying its spectacles. We will then concentrate on the different status of women when they walk around the city in Jeah Rhys’ fiction. Paris, London, New York, and Lagos will be the locales that sustain our discussion of non-places, junkspace, the right to the city, and suburban space.
Novels by Jean Rhys, Virginia Woolf, Georges Perec, Teju Cole. Films by Walter Ruttman, Jacques Tati, and Michael Haneke. Criticism by Walter Benjamin, Henri Lefebvre, Michel de Certeau, and Rem Koolhaas.