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Urban Studies

Cities are physical environments—they are social settings, economic phenomena and political arenas. An understanding of these complex social structures can come only from an analysis that transcends the narrow perspective of any single discipline. The minor in urban studies offers students a chance to study the processes and problems of urbanization from a variety of perspectives. It is designed with enough flexibility to allow a student to choose among many possible combinations, but requires one to experience at least three different disciplinary approaches.

Requirements & Courses

Urban Studies Minor

The minor in urban studies offers students a chance to study the processes and problems of urbanization from a variety of perspectives. It is designed with enough flexibility to allow a student to choose among many possible combinations, but requires them to experience at least three different disciplinary approaches.

Requirements

Six courses from at least three different departments or programs. Courses offered at other Five College campuses may be included in the minor, with the approval of one of the advisers. A sample listing of approved Smith courses can be found on this page under the Courses tab. However, each student will craft their own minor with the help of the minor adviser and may include courses not on this list. Please consult home departments for the year and semester each course is offered.

Crosslisted Courses

ANT 257 Urban Anthropology (4 Credits)

This course considers the city as both a setting for anthropological research and as an ethnographic object of study in itself. We aim to think critically about the theoretical and methodological possibilities, challenges and limitations that are posed by urban anthropology. We consider concepts and themes such as urbanization and migration; urban space and mobility; gender, race and ethnicity; technology and virtual space; markets and economies; citizenship and belonging; and production and consumption. {S}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

ARH 212 Ancient Cities and Sanctuaries (4 Credits)

This course explores many different aspects of life in the cities and sanctuaries of the ancient Near East, Egypt, Greece, Etruria and Rome. Recurrent themes include urbanism, landscapes and patterns of worship, including initiation, sacrifice and pilgrimage. The class probes how modern notions of the secular and the sacred influence interpretation and how sometimes the seemingly most anomalous features of the worship of Isis or of the juxtaposition of commercial and domestic space within a city can potentially prove to be the most revealing about life in another place and time. Counts for ARU. {A}{H}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ARH 285pm Topics: Great Cities-Pompeii (4 Credits)

A consideration of the ancient city: architecture, painting, sculpture and objects of everyday life. Women and freed people as patrons of the arts are emphasized. The impact of the rediscovery of Pompeii and its role as a source of inspiration in 18th-, 19th-, and 20th-century art is discussed. No prerequisite. {A}{H}

Fall, Spring, Variable

ARH 285rm Topics: Great Cities-Rome (4 Credits)

Urban and architectural history of the Eternal City, comprising seven famous hills whose summits and slopes (and the valleys in between) are a cradle of Western civilization. Extensive readings in primary sources and the analysis of works of art of all types will help us understand why Rome has constituted such an indispensable and inexhaustible point of emulative reference from the traditional date of its founding (21 April 753 BCE) to the fascist era and beyond. Considered as well is the relationship between city and country as expressed in the design of villas and gardens through the ages. {A}{H}

Fall, Spring, Variable

EDC 200 Critical Perspectives in the City (4 Credits)

This course explores how the challenges facing schools in America’s cities are entwined with social, economic and political conditions present within the urban environment. The essential question: How have educators and policy makers attempted to provide a quality educational experience for youth when issues associated with their social environment often present significant obstacles to teaching and learning? Using relevant social theory to guide the analyses, students investigate school reform efforts at the macro-level by looking at policy-driven initiatives such as high stakes testing, vouchers and privatization, and at the local level by exploring the work of teachers, parents, youth workers and reformers. Fieldwork opportunities are available for students. Enrollment limited to 35.

Fall

EDC 336rm Seminar: Topics in Education-Research Methods in Education (4 Credits)

Students will be provided an introduction to educational research methods through two main activities in this weekly seminar: They will (1) discuss texts pertaining to analytical approaches and theoretical models in educational research inspired by constructivist and sociocultural theories, and (2) participate in research projects guided by Campus School teachers’ inquiries about learning. Students will be paired with teachers as research teams and regularly engage in providing and receiving feedback on their collaborative projects. Student research teams will support their teacher collaborators by constructing research plans, and observing, documenting, analyzing, and reporting on aspects of classroom learning throughout the semester. Enrollment limited to 12. Juniors and seniors only. Instructor permission required.

Fall, Alternate Years

HST 267 United States, 1877-1945: Race, Capitalism, Justice (4 Credits)

Survey of the major economic, political and social changes of this period, primarily through the lens of race, class and gender, to understand the role of ordinary people in shaping defining events, including industrial capitalism, colonialism, imperialism, mass immigration and migration, urbanization, the rise of mass culture, nationalism, war, feminism, labor radicalism, civil rights and other liberatory movements for social justice. Enrollment limited to 40. {H}

Fall, Spring, Variable

SOC 218 Urban Sociology (4 Credits)

A study of the sociological dimensions of urban life. Main areas of inquiry: the processes of urban change; the city as a locus of various social relationships and cultural forms; urban poverty and social conflict; homelessness; and strategies for urban revitalization. Prerequisite: SOC 101. Enrollment limited to 35. {S}

Fall, Spring, Alternate Years

Additional Course Information

The minor consists of six courses from the following list but must contain choices from at least three different departments or programs. Courses offered at other Five College campuses may be included in the minor, with the approval of one of the advisers.

Africana Studies

  • AFR 245 The Harlem Renaissance

Anthropology

  • ANT 257 Urban Anthropology

Art

  • ARH 212 Ancient Cities and Sanctuaries
  • ARH 250 Building Baroque Europe
  • ARH 266 Architecture in the United States of America
  • ARH 283 Architecture Since 1945 
  • ARH 285 Great Cities
  • ARS 388 Advanced Architecture: Complex Places, Multiple Spaces

Economics

  • ECO 230 Urban Economics

Education

  • EDC 200 Education in the City

Environmental Sciene and Policy

  • ENV 237 Seminar: Envirnomental Justice in an Urbanizing World

Government

  • GOV 204 Urban Politics
  • GOV 271 Global Cities

History

  • HST 267 United States Since 1877

Landscape Studies

  • LSS 230 Urban Landscapes
  • LSS 315 Urban Ecological Design

Sociology

  • SOC 213 Race and National Identity in the United States
  • SOC 214 Sociology of Hispanic Carribean Communities in the United States
  • SOC 218 Urban Sociology

Faculty

Rick Fantasia

Sociology

Barbara Richmond 1940 Professor in the Social Sciences and Professor of Sociology

Rick Fantasia

Efadul Huq

Environmental Science & Policy

Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and Policy

Sam Intrator

Education & Child Study

Elizabeth A. Woodson 1922 Professor of Education & Child Study

Sam Intrator

Caroline Melly

Anthropology

Associate Professor of Anthropology, Director of the Sherrerd Center for Teaching and Learning

Caroline Melly

Contact Urban Studies

Wright Hall 129

Smith College

Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: 413-585-3572 Email: dosepowi@smith.edu

Administrative Assistant: 

David Osepowicz

Program Director: Steven Moga

 

Individual appointments may be arranged directly with the faculty.