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Course Description

This course investigates “the slum” as a social product, an icon of disorder, and a setting for diverse cultures and modes of sociality. Drawing on critical urban theory and ethnographic case studies of “mega slums” from around the world, we explore how “slums” emerge at the intersection of global inequalities, state planning, and the insurgent practices of the poor. Topics we cover include: migration and displacement, housing, spatial segregation, informal markets, infrastructure, environmental challenges, the rise of refugee camp cities, and emerging forms of urban governance and social mobilization. By the end of this course, students will understand cities of the Global South not as exceptions to the rule of orderly urbanism in the US and Europe, but as vibrant products of diverse forms of social life that, when analyzed on their own terms, may reveal novel ways to respond to the urban and environmental crises of our times.

Basic Enrollment Requirements: Unofficial Transcript – Bachelor’s + 3.0 GPA.

Instructor Approval: Required; Please email to request permission to enroll. We typically recommend including a resume, your educational history, and 2-3 sentences as to why you are interested in taking the course.You may register for this course before receiving approval, but your enrollment will not be confirmed until approval is received. Please contact us at if you have not heard back from your instructor.

Remission Eligible: Yes; first day of term; all university policies apply.

Refund Policy: Course Policy 1

Affiliated With:

School of Arts & Sciences