Literature and the City

Course Number: 
HUL 893
LTP structure: 

Course Objective

The course examines in some detail the nature of the challenge that traditionally preoccupied European writers - how to map the experience of the modern city, and what representational strategies were adequate for capturing the opacity, the fragmentation, and the transitory nature of urban modernity. It goes on to investigate the contemporary postcolonial city in order to understand it in relation to late capitalism, globalization, migration, and postmodern culture, and the challenges these pose to classic modernity. It begins by providing an introduction to some of the most important literature on the city and the major theoretical debates around it, offering students a set of conceptual tools with which to approach the city's incommensurable realities, its problems and its potential. It moves on to a detailed analysis of a number of literary texts, examining some of the ways in which the disjunctive realities of city-life shape new modes of experience, creative expression, and solidarity, without losing sight of the inequities of gender, culture, class, and race that persist and indeed strengthen in the current global economic system.

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