University Writing: Readings in Urban Studies

Course Description

In University Writing: Readings in Urban Studies, you will develop as a reader and writer through engaging with contemporary essays that investigate and challenge cultural, political, and practical ideas about cities and urban life. Urban studies is an interdisciplinary field, bringing together disciplines as varied as economics, sociology, engineering, architecture, computational analysis, and environmental studies along with gender and sexuality studies, disability studies, critical race studies, political science, literature, and the arts. Over the course of the semester, we’ll read a variety of essays on themes of the city as you develop your ability to analyze texts, summarize and synthesize scholarly arguments, and conduct original research. Through both individual and collaborative practices of close reading, research, writing, and discussion, we will learn to think critically and creatively about cities and will both understand and contribute to key debates in contemporary urban studies.

As you learn to sharpen your own rhetorical and analytical skills, we will also ask questions such as: What problems can and should be addressed through city planning, urban design, and development? How might architecture and urban planning either improve or contribute to social and material problems such as inequality, segregation, and lack of access? In what ways are racial, gender, sexual, class, ability, and other identities shaped by urban life? By the end of the semester, you will know how to craft an argument, integrate multiple perspectives, demonstrate strong revision practices, and gain confidence in yourself as a public writer. You will also understand the collaborative processes that shape good writing, from written feedback to conversations and conferences. No prior knowledge in the field is necessary.