This course is only available for students in the BA Urban Studies programme.
Reading the City introduces students to some of the principal methods, sources, and modes of analysis which characterise Urban Studies research in History and the wider Humanities. We explore and analyse a wide range of urban archives and ‘texts’, which include: archival collections and historical material (using both traditional archive repositories and new digitised collections); photography and film; maps, drawings and other visual materials; journalistic and literary accounts; oral history; the professional literatures of urbanism and planning; music, art and other urban cultural products; along with the physical landscape, space, architecture and built environment of cities themselves (as will be seen on some urban expeditions).
The course guides students through these various urban texts and sources, using them to introduce important frameworks of critical and discursive analysis – historical, cultural, social, political and environmental – as well as to broaden students’ knowledge and engagement with a diverse range of urban contexts and case studies, both historical and contemporary, covering a wide global geographic scope. The course develops students’ independent critical faculties as well as their knowledge of practical research methods and techniques. Students will learn to research urban topics independently, acquiring a valuable range of research skills which they take forward to their final year dissertation projects. Assessment for this module rests principally on an independent primary source-based research project which the student designs around an urban topic of their choice and carries out across the course of the semester. Full support for this is provided as part of the weekly workshops.
General learning outcomes
See tab Additional information for the overview of the programme's general learning outcomes. In the assessment methods below is outlined which general learning outcome will be tested through which method.
Course objectives, pertaining to this course
The student is able to:
1) Engage critically with a diverse range of urban texts and sources, interpreting these with reference to contemporary contexts, existing scholarship, and present-day urban debates.
2) Understand and apply the practical methodologies (both digital and documentary) involved in locating and accessing relevant primary source materials.
3) Perform close reading and critical analysis of a range of different primary source materials.
4) Design and successfully complete an independent piece of urban research.
5) Organise primary source materials into a coherent and convincing scholarly analysis.
6) Express and articulate their own judgements and analyses in scholarly written format.
The timetables are avalable through My Timetable.
Mode of instruction
Seminar (compulsory attendance)
This means that students have to attend every seminar of the course. If a student is unable to attend a seminar, they should inform the lecturer in advance, providing a valid reason for absence. If they are absent from a seminar without a valid reason, they can be excluded from the final exam in the course.
Guided self study
Assessment is made up of two components, as follows:
Primary Source Analysis Exercise – 500 word written assignment - 20%
-measured programme's general learning outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 11, 19, 20, 21.
-measured course specific objectives: 2, 3, 6
Main Assignment – 2000 word primary source based student project – 80%
-measured programme's general learning outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 19, 20, 21, 25, 26.
-measured course specific objectives: 1-6
The assessment requirements will be explained fully in the first workgroup session.
|Written assignment 1||20%|
|Written assignment 2||80%|
To successfully complete the course, please take note that the end grade of the course is established by determining the weighted average of all assessment components.
Students who have been active participants in class and submitted all required assessments on time, but scored an overall insufficient mark, are entitled to resit the assessment that was insufficient. For the resit, the students are given a chance to hand in a new version of the written assignment, with a new topic. The deadline for resubmission is to be consulted with the lecturer.
Faculty regulations concerning participation in resits are listed in article 4.1 of the Faculty Course and Examination Regulations.
Inspection and feedback
How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organised.
Readings on Case Studies and Course Contents will be provided throughout the Course.
Some General Methodolgical Introductions are:
Shane Ewen, What is Urban History? (Cambridge, 2016)
Simon Gunn & Lucy Faire, Research Methods for History (Edinburgh, 2016)
Nicholas Kenny, Cities Beyond Borders: Comparative and Transnational Approaches to Urban History (Farnham, 2015)
Virginie Mamadouh & Anne van Wageningen, Urban Europe: Fifty Tales of the City (Amsterdam, 2016).
- Enrolment through My Studymap is mandatory.
General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website.
For the registration of exchange students contact Humanities International Office.
For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.
For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Student Affairs Office for BA Urban Studies.
You may only sign up for one thematic and one methodological elective in each semester of the second year (via MyStudyMap). Only if there is place left, you can take up a second Thematic and/or Methodological elective. A week before the start of the semester, you will receive an email from the administration which will indicate if any spots are still available. If this is the case, you can enroll by replying to this message. If more students show interest in a second elective than the number of places available, students will be selected via a lottery.