CAPITALS: How Cities Shape Cultures, States, and People (COMPLIT 100, DLCL 100, FRENCH 175, GERMAN 175, HISTORY 206E, ITALIAN 175, URBANST 153)
This course takes students on a trip to eight capital cities, at different moments in time: Renaissance Florence, Golden Age Madrid, Colonial Mexico City, Enlightenment and Romantic Paris, Existential and Revolutionary St. Petersburg, Roaring Berlin, Modernist Vienna, and bustling Buenos Aires. While exploring each place in a particular historical moment, we will also consider the relations between culture, power, and social life. How does the cultural life of a country intersect with the political activity of a capital? How do large cities shape our everyday experience, our aesthetic preferences, , and our sense of history? Why do some cities become cultural capitals? Primary materials for this course will consist of literary, visual, sociological, and historical documents (in translation); authors we will read include Boccaccio, Lope de Vega, Sor Juana, Montesquieu, Baudelaire, Dostoyevsky, Irmgard Keun, Freud, and Borges.