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Special Programs

Interterm Courses

Winter Interterm Courses

ECON 2701: Urban Economic History Through Cinema

Urban Economic History Through Cinema 

ECON 2701 - 4 credits

Dates: November 22 - December 24, 2017
Instructor: Juan Carlos Lopez

We have recently passed the threshold where more than half of the population globally is living in urban areas. Perhaps more striking is that in 1850 only 3 cities (London, Beijing and Paris) had populations that exceeded a million people, while today there are over 300 such cities, with the largest city, Tokyo, having nearly 40 million inhabitants. Coincidentally, the growth in urban areas coincided with the emergence of cinema. In the popular imagination cities have been sites of both promise and terror and this has been well captured in movies since the early 20th century. 

This course will consider the economic cycle of cities from the early 20th century to the present as seen through film representations. While the films we will watch are works of art this is not a course on film appreciation. What we are interested in is how the emergence of large clusters of people living together in relatively small areas is being depicted over time. Furthermore, we want to understand how the economic arrangements that define these clusters, these cities, are documented and provide a new way of thinking about how humans decide to live and work in common spaces. 

Contact: Juan Carlos Lopez