ENGL 307
The Global City Spring 2020
Division I Difference, Power, and Equity
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Class Details

From Beijing to Bombay, Belfast to Gaza, and the favelas of São Paulo to the high rises of Dubai, some of the most dramatic urban transformations of the 21st century have occurred in former and current colonies. In this course, we will read a body of fiction and film from around the world in order to consider how the Global City, in the North and South alike, has been largely forged in the crucible of a colonial modernity that continues to shape and constrain the potentials for contemporary urban experience. We will read the city not just as a statically built architectural space, but {through} its dynamic, phantasmatic, and psycho-social infrastructures. We will explore the city from a variety of angles: as a highly volatile field of inclusion and exclusion, mobility and confinement, acceleration and continuity; an aspirational space that nurtures dreams, promises pleasure, and invites creativity as well as an indifferent space of disposability, rote habit, and percolating violence; a global nodal point of space-time compression that produces vacuous fields of space-time expansion at its margins; and, finally, as a topography networked into the abstracted and anonymous world of the capitalist market but also localized through informal circuits of economic and social exchange. While we will familiarize ourselves with key theorists of urban space such as Saskia Sassen and Abdou Malik Simone, our primary focus will be on how various narrative forms — fictional, visual, and digital — can illuminate aesthetic itineraries, deviant mobilities, and urban imaginaries whose claims to the Global City resist capture in economies of neoliberal development and necropolitical practices of securitization and counterinsurgency. Readings will include, among others, Aravind Adiga’s Last Man in Tower (Bombay), Onjadki’s Transparent City (Luanda), Xiaolu Guo’s Twenty Fragments of a Ravenous Youth (Beijing), and Robert Omar Hamilton’s The City Always Wins (Cairo).
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 25
Expected: 25
Class#: 4078
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: active class participation, blog/GLOW posts, three papers, and a final project/exam
Prerequisites: a 100-level ENGL course, or a score of 5 on the AP English Literature exam, or a score of 6 or 7 on the Higher Level IB English exam
Enrollment Preferences: English majors
Distributions: Division I Difference, Power, and Equity
DPE Notes: This course examines how late colonial systems of power, inequality, and exclusion come to be organized in the space of the contemporary Global City. It also considers the forms of resistance, solidarity, and vernacular cosmopolitanism that emerge when the city is considered from the ground up, that is from the point of view of its economic, gendered, and racialized "others."

Class Grid

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  • ENGL 307 - 01 (S) SEM The Global City
    ENGL 307 - 01 (S) SEM The Global City
    Division I Difference, Power, and Equity
    Anuj Kapoor
    MW 7:00 pm - 8:15 pm
    Hopkins Hall 105
    RORG 7:00 pm - 7:25 pm
    Hopkins Hall 105

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