2018-2019 Catalog

ENGL 106 Representing the Metropolis

In the United States, roughly 80% of the population lives in urban regions (2000 U.S. Census), while according to United Nations figures, about 52% of people are urban-dwellers worldwide. This course will examine various representations of the modern metropolis through film, literature, and cultural theory. The city, as we experience it today, is the product of multiple historical, cultural, and social forces. Over the course of the semester, we will consider how cities have been shaped by these forces, as well as how they, in turn, shape our own experience and understanding of culture, history, and social practices. In an era of increasing globalization and mobility, the role of the metropolis continues to evolve and expand. As we consider representations of the city in a variety of films and novels from around the world, including some from our own city of Los Angeles, we will interrogate the ways in which the city has played a formative role in how we imagine life in the contemporary moment. In what ways has the city become a vehicle for the production of culture? How does life in the city serve to normativize certain notions of what it means to live in the modern world? How does life in rural spaces complicate representations of modernity that take the city as their norm? Does the city promote accessibility, or, alternatively, does it rigidify codes of exclusivity? These are some of the many questions we will address as we consume a spectrum of world cinema and literature. As we work our way through the material, we will strive to develop a complex understanding of how cities shape our cultural imagination.


4 units

Cross Listed Courses

CTSJ 106

Core Requirements Met

  • Global Connections