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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Geography (GEOG)

GEOG 427 (US;IL) Urban Historical Geography (3) Study of the development and transformation of the historical urban built environment.

GEOG 427 Urban Historical Geography (3)

(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.

Close up, cities can be seen as sets of buildings - some that are lived in, some that are places of work, and others that are places of cultural celebration. The streetscapes created by these sets of buildings can be decoded as a palimpsest of the past. Likewise, the patterns and names of streets, lanes and alleys between buildings contribute to morphological databases of property parcels and land uses that help in the analysis of the historical transformations of urban form. Seen at a more distant scale, cities are also nodes - centers for surrounding regional trading systems, and partners with other places in national and global trading systems - that have evolved over a set of decades or even centuries.

This course offers an investigation of such multiple frames on the urban past. Examples will be drawn from the Americas, but many will be from Europe, Africa and Asia. Imperialism and its associated colonial mercantile practices meant that variants of urbanism were mapped on to other parts of the world where they often created hybrid forms of cities over time. In the industrial era, new relations between cities and the countryside emerged, as new forms of production developed and as resources were harnessed from a more global hinterland. Radically different types of cities have emerged in the past two centuries.

Geography 427 will survey the global urban past and explore ways of decoding urban morphological complexity through historical cartographic record and extant landscape evidence. The ultimate objective is for students to develop an appreciation for the complexity of urban life and landscapes in times past and to understand some of the ways in which American urban forms adapt or draw distinction from urban forms elsewhere.

At the same time, the course aims to enhance student oral and written communication skills. To enhance their oral communication skills, each student will be expected to make two presentations on their research and to participate in class workshops. To enhance their written communication skills, students are required to write two papers that include instructor feedback on interim drafts, to craft three article summaries, and to write short log responses to most lectures.
General Education: None
Diversity: US;IL
Bachelor of Arts: Social and Behavioral Science
Effective: Spring 2007
Prerequisite: 6 credits in geography humanities or social sciences

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


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Course descriptions are stored in LionPATH, the University-wide student information system. Please visit the LionPATH Course Catalog to access current course descriptions. At that point, you will be leaving the University Bulletin website.

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