April 28, 2011


Courses Regularly Taught @ Clark University

Psychogeography and Cultural Spaces (GEOG157) – This course engages students in an attempt to interact with the shaping of landscapes; recognizing how daily routines make our world and how critical understandings of cultural landscapes can help effect social change. In order to achieve this engaged learning, the course blends cultural geography with psychogeography. It compels students to understand cultural landscapes through their own practices; placing themselves within their own context and asking them to critique, engage and transform. Students will therefore understand the social construction of landscape and develop the theoretical and practice-based skills to engage with this very construction.

City Planet: Urban Challenges in a Globalized World (GEOG172) – The course provides a foundational understanding of urbanism within a globalized world. It introduces students to some of the key concepts used to understand cities and urbanism, and develops a critical understanding of urban development across contexts. The central goal of the course is to have students consider how global problems are bound up with urban development issues.

Social Justice and the City (GEOG248) – The purpose of this course is to introduce students to various conceptualizations of social justice in order that they are able to develop contextual understandings on a variety of urban social problems. It is intended that students will gain a competency in discussing urban social justice issues in order that they reflect on those facing them in their own lives. While engaging with a variety of disciplines, the course is rooted in the social theory, geography and architecture.

Urban Design Research Lab (GEOG252) – This course investigates the ways in which cities are conceptualized, planned and built. The course brings together a geographical understanding of the city with a critical examination of urban design, architecture and planning. The course therefore draws heavily on the geographical and urban literatures to inform the class’ research and design of urban space. As such, the course requires students to think critically about historical and contemporary urban problems and the design approaches that have attempted to respond to them. In short, the course seeks to unite critical urban studies with critical urban practice.

Critical Theory: Space, Society and Change (GEOG329) – Nearly 75 years ago Max Horkheimer, echoing Marx, defined critical theory as distinguished by its attempt to critique and change society. It is therefore not simply a tool for understanding, but also a method for overcoming injustice, domination and oppression. But in what state do we find critical theory today? For some, critical theory has transformed into a pluralist venture that is symbolized by a politics of disagreement and a modest normativity. However, others fervently disagree with this project, arguing that we now face unprecedented challenges that cannot be dealt with by this brand of modest theory or, paradoxically, those more assertive types of theory which preceded it. The seminar follows these debates by tracing the ways in which urbanists and geographers have historically engaged with critical theory and evaluating where this engagement stands today. The seminar examines a range of contemporary critical social theory, including an exploration of Slavoj Žižek’s claim that we need a new theory of everything(!), Alain Badiou’s interpretation of politics as event and Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe’s arguments about critical theory’s kernel concern.

Graduate Seminar in Urban Geography (GEOG373) – This seminar explores some of the fundamental paradigms and developments in urban theory. Roughly structured along temporal lines, the seminar progresses to examine how theoretical imports and formulations have continually shaped the questions and concerns of urban geography. The course therefore discusses how theoretical movements such as positivism and postmodernism have shaped geographical thinking and, consequently, impacted upon how geographers have thought about cities and urban development. The main objectives of the course are therefore (i) to understand how various theoretical perspectives have shaped the study of cities and (ii) develop a critical and comparative understanding of different approaches to urban questions.