A relevant BA degree. If in doubt, please consult the Coordinator of Studies: ms. Mr.drs. P.C. Lai
Students from all tracks of Literary Studies, including the ResMA.
This course focuses on the modern city as a physical, spatial phenomenon but also as a cultural, mental artifact, shaped by imagination. Ever since the 19th century, when European cities began to grow, artistic representation has helped shape the images of cities we hold in our minds. The course follows the evolution of the metropolis from the 19th and early 20th century centralized capitals of increasing high density, complex social make-up, congestion and pulsating cultural hubs – London, Paris or Berlin – towards the contemporary megalopolis: huge, sprawling cities developing mainly in the global South. Mobility will be a keyword in this course: how do we – as city users and strollers – bodily experience and map urban space? How do we move and invent our daily urban life within it? Can we see contemporary cities as mobile spaces, constantly growing, shifting and expanding through migration?
These and other issues will be at the heart of this course, in which we will study a variety of literary texts, films and street art taken from European – mainly French – culture on the one hand and from Latin American culture on the other, as we explore the city as a site of cultural production, contestation and regeneration in intercultural, transatlantic, perspective. Thus, for example, reflections on the urban self might take us from Baudelaire’s flaneur and Poe’s ‘man of the crowd’ to contemporary figurations of this urban wanderer in Brazilian cinema, or renditions of the kaleidoscopic megalopolis in South American cinema and 21st century French novel.
Knowledge and insight into keyworks of modern and contemporary urban literature and –cinema in their historical and cultural context;
Knowledge of current theoretical texts and debates about the metropolis and of some important critical texts about urban literature and cinema;
Ability to analyze a relevant subject of one’s choice and to present one’s findings in an oral presentation and written assignments
Ability to share analytical and theoretical arguments during class discussion.
Research MA students should reveal in their coursework a more nuanced understanding of the complex relationship between social formations and cultural productions by means of a more detailed and thorough theoretical/methodological framework.
Mode of instruction
final paper (approx. 5000 words)
Research MA students will have to write an extra 3000 word paper on a topic to be decided in consultation with the tutor.
Active participation: 15%
Oral presentation: 25 %
Final paper: 60%
Only the final paper
Inspection and feedback
How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.
Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life (University of Minnesota Press, 1998)
Tim Cresswell, Place: a Short Introduction (Wiley, 2014)
GUST N.V., The Urban Condition: Space, Community and the Self in the Contemporary Metropolis (Rotterdam, Uitgeverij 010, 1999, freely available through the internet)
Georges Perec, Species of Spaces and Other Pieces (Penguin Classics, 2008)
Jean-Philippe Toussaint, Running Away (Champaign, Dalkey Archive Press, 2009)
Azouz Begag, Shanty-town kid (University of Nebraska Press, 2007) or French version: Le gone du Chaaba (Points Seuil)
Further bibliography will be provided to enrolled students at the start of the course.
Enrolment through uSis for classes, exams and final paper for classes, exams and final papers is mandatory.
Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs
For questions about the content of the course, you can contact the coordinator: dr. A. Schulte Nordholt
Student administration: Arsenaal
Coordinator of studies: ms. Mr.drs. P.C. Lai