GEOG274 – Social Justice and the City

GEOG274 – Advanced Topics in Urban and Social Geography: Social Justice and the City.
Description: The formation and evolution of cities has always depended on social inequality – marginalized racial/ethnic/religious populations have been separated into ‘ghettos’, gender has shaped one’s access to public spaces, the poor have been squeezed out (or in) to the worst sections of town, the disabled and elderly have been immobilized by physical barriers, uneven surveillance and policing fan the flames of hate and violence, and the exploitation of labor has built monuments to the rich. In the face of how deeply woven together the social forces of injustice and city-building have been, what does it take to envision a ‘socially just city’?
This class begins with establishing some conceptual frameworks based on diverse theories of justice — Marxist, feminist, anti-racist, queer — and then employs those in the examination of empirical, real-world settings to explore interlocking dimensions of oppression, spatial patterns and processes of marginalization, and urban expressions of power.
Students will be active participants in this seminar with responsibility for critical reading, rotating discussion leadership, and short weekly writing assignments. Other assignments include mapping projects (GIS not required), film reviews, and a semester-long project that students will design with support and guidance.

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