Globalization: The City as Text

Director:  Vivyan C. Adair, the Elihu Root Peace Fund Professor of Women's Studies (vadair@hamilton.edu)

Drawing from the disciplines of Women's Studies, Literary Studies, Public Policy and Urban Sociology we will learn to read the global metropolis of New York City as a text. This program will allow us to study the emergence and continual reinvention of New York City as one of the world's premier sites of social, cultural, political, structural/ architectural, commercial and literary production. Together, we will investigate the ways in which New York City, with its history of ethnic, racial, class, and sexual diversity, can be seen as the model for understanding the relationship between the city as a construct and the urban theory, policy, praxis and representation that have shaped and defined it. 
Prerequisites: A background in women's studies, urban sociology, literature or public policy will be very helpful, but is not required; consent of the Director is required.  
College 398 Seminar in Global Processes:  New York, the City as Text
Drawing from the disciplines and methodologies of Women's Studies, Public Policy and Urban Sociology we will learn to read New York City as a text. This course will provide a comprehensive overview of U.S. public policy vis-à-vis Urban and Environmental Development, Civil Rights, Education, Arts, Health and Safety, Immigration, Commerce,  Housing, and Welfare, with a particular focus on their impact on the lives of women, people of color, ethnic and sexual minorities and the poor and working poor in New York City. In addition to reading, writing and discussion, work for the course will include city and public space walking tours; visits to museums, memorials and installations; a film series on NYC and lectures at New York University and Columbia University.  
College 397 Internship
Work experience during four days a week that includes a journal or written account of that experience.

College 396 Independent Study
A tutorial resulting in a substantial paper (30 pp) that integrates experience and learning from the internship with an academic perspective and knowledge gained in the seminars or other tutorial readings.
College 395 Special Topic: Women Writing against the Grain in/about NYC
Literary theorist Blanch Gelfant has argued in "The City's Hungry Woman as Heroine" that the urban landscape can serve as a space where women and the culturally marginalized "live passionately even in the city's slums and skulking back streets as people who are free." She adds, "Urban freedom for women writers is inherent in a fluid if disorganized urban society, one that by its disorder and indifference has released her from the roles assigned to women by history and myth." In our course we will examine  literature written by women in and about New York City.  Read through the lens of a range of critical feminist literary theories, writers and texts for the course include Betty Smith's A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, Anzia Yezierskia's The Bread Givers, Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence, Djuna Barne's Ryder, and Toni Morrison's Jazz. We will additionally consider short stories and poetry by Sarah Teasdale, Marianne Moore, Elizabeth Bishop, Zora Neal Hurston, Nella Larson, Mary McCarthy, Kathy Acker and Eileen Myles. In addition to reading, writing and class discussion we will take several literary walking tours in Manhattan, attend some poetry and fiction readings, visit a manuscript archive at the New York Public Library, visit two photography exhibits, and take a tour of an independent publishing operation in the city. (Approved for credit in Women's Studies)


Contact Name

Maddie Carrera

Director of Experiential Learning

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