I wanted to post the official course description for ARCH 536_SUB. I think this is an important early post to the blog as it begins to build the context for the course. There is more than this to say about the course, the pedagogical structure, the goals for the course, the tone I am interested in setting within the weekly seminar sessions, etc. But, alas, that is what this blog is meant to capture and communicate, so I hope that subsequent posts help position these attributes. I am interested in communicating these qualities to more than those taking the seminar and this format seems useful for that. I do feel that this format is somewhat at odds with the intensity and range of the course as it is situated within the dynamic of the group participating directly. But still, I am interested in the challenge posed by such.
from an interest in doing urban intellectual work that gives credit to the conditions on the ground, as we find them, and in a manner that is open to learning from their complexity and potency. “Sprawl rhetoric,” often a prelude to well-rehearsed critiques of market-saturated, post-city urban reality, will be duly noted, bracketed, and footnoted for reference later. In this course, urbanism will be understood as a dynamic array of processes that both gave us the viability of the dense centered city and took that viability away; perfecting one iteration of its formal configuration all the while moving on to other, more perfect iterations. The disciplinary turn-style connecting the terms “city” and “urbanism” will momentarily be broken, offering potentially new techniques and methods for considering urban work. Big-box culture will be posited as an “operative surface,” situated and hyper-localized despite attempts to easily dismiss it as utopian (no place). Judgment will be suspended such that deep description might ensue.
like a seminar in the literal sense, progressing through required readings and subsequent critical dialogue around a table. Students are prompted to read for comprehension and prepare themselves, week to week, for substantive engagement. Simultaneously, the course works as a research protocol, as there are only soft boundaries in the relationship between a potent cultural condition and emergent strategies for engagement.
possibilities, and does not solve problems. Generously, the course asks students to unhook from professional modes of thinking that “get the job done.” There are no finish lines to cross, no problems to be solved. There’s nothing to hate, and nothing in which to fall in love. It’s out there.