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THE URBAN CONDITION DEVOID OF URBANITY Topics in the History and Theory of Suburbia

The present course is part of a broadly installed academic project aiming to identify the material processes that characterize the context of global capitalist development. The overall project recognizes the existence of a truly trans national contemporary landscape , whose emergence has been linked in various ways to the processes of globalization. If in fact the world has been functioning as an integrated, interdependent whole since the times of European colonial expansion, it was only during the last decades that a dramatic increase in speed and sensitivity within those networks has tightened their interdependencies, giving rise to a critical awareness of their inherent limitations and potentials. Together with an increased responsiveness of the system, the recognition of the constitutive elements and tendencies of those processes has allowed us to broaden our understanding of both its societal, environmental, and subjective dimensions. As characterized by such processes of transformation, the contemporary landscape constitutes an unprecedented merging of the urban and the rural across regions and continents alike. Historians now propose that the blurring of the differences between the city and the countryside has reached a stage where it is no longer possible to talk about suburbia, for that would imply relying on the extinct duality of center and periphery as a model of reference. Exo-polis, Technoburb, Exurbia, Edge-city, Sprawltown, Zwischenstadt, are some of the expressions that have been coined recently to address the ubiquitous urbanization of the landscape; a condition, nonetheless, that can hardly be said to have generated any of the qualities conventionally associated with urbanity. To identify, describe, and historicize the qualities displayed by those new forms of urban organization are the main goals of this course.

Enrolment The course will appeal to graduate students who are willing to engage in collaborative research on contemporary patterns of urbanization, seen from a global / comparative perspective. The course seeks to produce insightful, compelling, and inspiring descriptions, more so than overt opinions, plans or strategies for action –at least in principle. Students with an inclination to defer the practicalities of immediate action and to favor the production and communication of knowledge…


Instructor: Julián Varas – – 120C Rand Hall. Class: Mallot Hall 230 / Fridays 8:40 – 12:05 am. (4 credits)

image: agricultural patterns on the Flemish Diamond, Belgium

are encouraged to enrol. Advanced undergraduate students may join the course by approval of the instructor.

Cornell AAP CRP 649  

Cornell AAP Seminar Brief

Cornell AAP CRP 649  

Cornell AAP Seminar Brief