The Image of the City in Latin America

HISTORY 103E.002

Fall 2015
2303 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
F 10-12P
  • Note new room.
  • This is a seminar about the form of the city in Latin America and why it matters. We will approach the topic from two perspectives, considering both the experience of those living in cities and the attempts by politicians, architects and urbanists to plan, organize, and even create cities. Our readings will span the history and countries of Latin America, but the focus will be on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and on Mexico, Brazil, Cuba, and Argentina. We will examine both utopian plans and dystopian realities, asking how the urban form challenges and reinforces structures of power and the social experiences of its inhabitants. Our discussion will include topics ranging from the importance of Aztec cosmology on shaping the Mexican capital to the transnational forces of redevelopment associated with global sporting events in the twentieth century. We will also consider the ways that urban citizens have responded to changing urban landscapes and demanded new interpretations of the urban form. This class will draw on architecture, urban studies, anthropology, and a range of disciplines to understand the ways cities have changed over time. The course will also help prepare history majors to develop a prospectus related to urban topics across the Americas and beyond.

Course Books

The Image of the City by Kevin Lynch The MIT Press. ISBN: 978-0262620017 Required
Radical Cities: Across Latin America in Search of a New Architecture by Justin McGuirk Verso. ISBN: 978-1781682807 Optional
Cities from Scratch: Poverty and Informality in Latin America by Brodwyn Fischer, Bryan McCann, Javier Auyero Duke University Press. ISBN: 978-0822355335 Optional
City/Art The Urban Scene in Latin America by Rebecca Brion Duke University Press. ISBN: 978-0822344704 Optional