2017 Essence of Humanities and Social Sciences27:Studies of Culture and Representation

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Academic unit or major
Humanities and social science courses
Kiuchi Kumiko 
Class Format
Media-enhanced courses
Day/Period(Room No.)
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Offered quarter
Syllabus updated
Lecture notes updated
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Course description and aims

This lecture discusses various aspects of city culture in the context of modernisation. "City" here means not only an architectural structure in and of urban space but the entity of its relationships with human activities, and how these relationships are represented. The class consists of mini lectures by the tutor and students' discussion and group presentations. In view of "city as text" the course introduces cultural, media and linguistic theories and analyses art works featuring urban space. The aim is to provide basic knowledge necessary for understanding urban space and to foster students' awareness of the relationship between the elements in urban space with their everyday life.

Student learning outcomes

Goals set for the course is the following:
(0) To experience the pleasure of noticing elements surrounding your everyday life in urban space
(1) To understand the functions and meaning of the elements
(2) To familiarize yourself with the theoretical discourse related to (1)
(3) To acquire knowledge of the history, society and culture of different cities by looking at art works (literature, photography, film etc.)
(4) To understand some theoretical concepts to address the questions of "angles" and "subjectivity" adopted in art works.


Urban space, City, Modernisation, Literature, Cinema, Photography, Architecture, Everyday life, Media, Group work

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

The class consists of the tutor's mini lecture and students' discussion (except for weeks 7 and 8 - students' presentation)
(0) Read an assigned essay and fill in your comments in the worksheet. Take a couple of photos in your everyday life that is related to the topic.
(1) Have a group discussion about the reading and your photos.
(2) Listen to the tutor's mini-lecture.
(3) Read some excerpts of literary text, look at some photos well known in art history, or watch film excerpts.
(4) Analyse the excerpts in group.
(5) Feedback your group discussion to class (with the tutor's input to follow)

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Introduction to the course; how you look at the city (angles and elements) Understand basic elements of the city
Class 2 Representation of City and Media as medium (How and by what means the city has been represented) Understand the intentionality of media and the construction of subjectivity
Class 3 CIty as an amalgamation of systems and networks (infrastructure, everyday life etc.) Understand various aspects (technology and information system) of the city as a system and an environment of the inhabitants
Class 4 Image of urban space as utopia (A genealogy of the "future city", gender, etc.) Understand the history of utopian literature and basic concepts of utopia
Class 5 City and Memory (historical monuments, ruins, nostalgia) Understand how history and collective memories of the city is represented/staged
Class 6 Inside and Outside (Nature in city landscape, Image of ideal urban life in domestic space) Understand the history of changing boundaries between the inside and the outside
Class 7 Review and preparation for the presentation Review the content of the coures
Class 8 Students' presentation Listen to each others' presentation and improve communication skills


Handout in class

Reference books, course materials, etc.

Miles, M., Hall, T., & Borden, I. Eds. (2004). "The City Cultures Reader" (2nd ed., Routledge urban reader series). London: Routledge.
Jackson, J. (1980). "The Necessity for Ruins : And Other Topics". Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press.
(A more detailed bibliography will be provided in the first week of the course.)

Assessment criteria and methods

Worksheet 30%, Discussion in class 25%, Presentation 45%

Related courses

  • none

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)



Content of the course and the weekly schedule is subject to change depending on the size of the class. Please make sure to attend the class in week 1.

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