Кадр из фильма "Метрополис" (1927) Фрица Ланга
Проф. Мирья Лекке (Ruhr-Universität, Bochum)
Metropolis! Большой современный город в теории и литературно-культурной практике
Metropolis! Modern Cities in Theory and Cultural Practice
The seminar will be given in English and Russian
Place and time: RGGU Moscow, 26-27.02 (17.30 – 20.40, room 522), 02.03 (17.30 – 20.40), 03.03 (12.00 – 15.35), 06.04 (17.30 – 20.40), 07.04 (12.00 – 15.35); room 157.
Philosophers, artists, cultural theorists, writers, sociologists, they all have thought intensively about the city as spatially organized social experience and the impact the rapid urbanization in modern times has had on human existence. In the first block of the seminar we will acquire an overview of important theoretical writing about cities, beginning with Plato, we will then concentrate on „classical“ early 20th century city theory, and move on in time up to postmodernist approaches. Afterwards we will look comparatively at a variety of case studies within the realm of Russian and other European cultures (particularly Moscow and Berlin, comparatively), discussing possible subjects for student’s works. For this purpose we will also plan excursions and theoretically informed little experiments in Moscow’s city space that intend to make participants sensitive to cultural processes in contemporary Russia (first ideas: city and cinema, Metro and other transportation, gentrification, ethnic spaces in the city, commercialization of space, leisure in the city, virtual reality and the city, etc.).
Topics for student’s presentations / works:
City in literature, cinema, video games, graphic novels; leisure in the city, nature in the city, transportation and ideology, city planning and cultural agency; gentrification, migrants and their presence / experience in city space, streets as stages; „Western“ spaces, comparative approaches: what does the ideal home look like?, city and virtual / augmented reality, suburbia, city as utopic space, city as memory landscape; Moscow’s cityscape as space for protests, 1960s until today; living in the Soviet Union, private apartments and modernization of family life, postsoviet living; comparative approach to Berlin and Moscow.
Feb. 26, 27 2017
Reading and discussion of important theoretical work and groundbraking research in the field (preparation beforehand)
Outline of range of suggested students' projects within the framework of the seminar
Thematic blocks (alternatives to choose from)
1. private and public spaces in the city
Benjamin's Passagen and the elimination of the differentiation between inside and outside. Roles of inside and outside in urban space, particular examples in Moscow.
Living and private space in earlier days and today, Soviet living conditions (Chrushchevka), contemporary notions of good living (in comparative perspective)
2. Moscow as space for public protests (historical dimension, protests of dissidents, 1991, 2011-12)
3. Living in the city as topic in literature and arts
March 3, 2018
Introduction, impulse (approx. 1:30h) : Social status in a big city: a comparative case study of Moscow and Berlin
afterwards: Excursion through Moscow cityscape / select sites of post-Soviet urban reconstruction
April 6-7, 2018
Presentations of students' case studies or own research projects