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Course Description

Did you know that over 80% of the US population lives in cities? These numbers are even higher for Latin America, while the percent of urban populations is growing steadily in Europe, Asia, and Africa. But what, after all, accounts for such dramatic global urbanization patterns? How does the concentration of diverse groups of people affect group relations, access to resources, and inhabitants’ overall quality of life? How do historic forms of inequality get (re)configured in urban areas? And, importantly, how can inequality and injustice be addressed in this context? This course aims to tackle these questions as we consider contemporary dynamics of inequality and social change in cities in the US and across the globe. We will examine how economic, political, social, and symbolic forms of inequality and exclusion have helped to shape the lived realities of diverse urban populations and how governments and civic actors have attempted to address these. The course will draw heavily from ethnographic perspectives of the city, using the stories of individuals and communities to understand how broader social issues affect the urban experience. Students will also be asked to conduct their own small ethnographic research project in an organization in Boston or Somerville and use these observations to reflect on course readings and discussions. Prerequisite: SOC 001 OR SOC 010 OR permission of instructor.

Basic Enrollment Requirements: Unofficial Transcript – Bachelor’s Degree or progress towards a Bachelor’s Degree + 3.0 GPA

Instructor Approval: Not required

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

Refund Policy: For-Credit 3+ Weeks

Affiliated With:

School of Arts & Sciences