Fall 2000

"The City Observed: Through the Eyes of the Flaneur, Voyeur and Voyageur"

Instructor: Karein K. Goertz

Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else

PARIS, BERLIN, LONDON and NEW YORK. Cities have been continuous subjects of literary and cinematic exploration. These "landscapes built out of people" are places of constant change and dense activity offering seemingly endless possibility; adventure and self-discovery, but also anonymity and alienation. The particular filters of the meandering flaneur, the goal-oriented tourist and the eternal traveler offer different perspectives on the city and on the writer's relationship with, experience and reinvention of the city. Through these observer's eyes, we will explore the relationship between insider and outsider, physical place and the imagination. Our explorations will draw on literature, film, photography, and music and will encompass modern, postmodern and futuristic perspectives on cities in Europe and North America. In addition to the regular class meeting times, students will be required to attend weekly film screenings (Mondays 7-9 p.m.).

Course Requirements:

Active class participation, group projects, attendance at weekly film screenings (20%)

Two short response papers (10%)

Oral presentation (with partner) (10%)

Creative project (15%)

Midterm exam (20%)

Final research paper with oral presentation (25%)


Required Books:

Italo Calvino Invisible Cities

Rainer Marie Rilke The Notebooks of Malte Laurid Brigge

Peter Schneider The Wall Jumper


Course Packet:

Includes literary excerpts by Christopher Isherwood, E.A. Poe, Alfred Döblin, Langston Hughes, Ernest Hemingway, Jules Verne; essays by Walter Benjamin, Georg Simmel, Le Corbusier, Jane Jacobs, Rem Koolhaas, Keith Tester, Alexandra Richi, Michel Certeau, and Janet Flanner; poems by Charles Baudelaire, Arthur Rimbaud, T.S. Eliot, Georg Heym, Johannes Becher, Jakob von Hoddis, Carl Sandburg, Nelson Algren, and Allen Ginsburg


Weekly Film Screenings:

Manhattan, Symphony of a City, The Cruise, Metropolis, Bladerunner, Run Lola Run, Cabaret, Modern Times, Paris Was a Woman, and Wings of Desire