Catalog Version

Summer/Autumn 2013
Catalog update:
May 15, 2013

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​The interdisciplinary Cities Minor brings together the prominent emphases on the material landscapes and cultural environments of the city evident in Geography courses and History of Art and Architecture courses.  While both History of Art and Architecture and Geography have different kinds of theoretical or historical questions, they nevertheless strongly overlap when considering how the specific geographic spaces of cities unfold as particular spatial and cultural constructs.  Courses in the minor thus explore the variety of ways in which the spaces of cities relate to their historical/geographical materiality.  In this sense, culture is broadly construed to encompass the spatial, aesthetic, linguistic, and other social practices that define the material and phenomenological particularities of cities.

Course Requirements

Additional courses may be substituted with the consent of an advisor in the Department of Geography or History of Art and Architecture. No more than three courses can come from the same department as the student's major.​

GEO 103


The course explores the evolution of urban forms and structures in the United States from the perspective of geography. In addition to studying the historic emergence of the American urban system, the course covers processes and phenomena associated with the spatial organization of housing, transportation, commercial and industrial land-use planning, as well as urban poverty, local governance, and issues of race, gender and sexuality.

GEO 233


An exploration of non-U.S. urban and planning traditions, through the urban morphological and comparative study of the foundation, and social-political forces that shaped cities such as Paris, St. Petersburg, Istanbul, Bombay-Mumbai, Hong Kong, and Mexico City.

HAA 280


Social, economic and political history of European and Mediterranean architecture, from Paleolithic times to the 1789 French Revolution. Topics include: classicism, the status and role of the architect, social struggle, patronage and architectural technologies. Formerly ART 370.

HAA 281


World architecture from the 1789 French Revolution to the present. Examines the influence of industrial, technological, political and social change in the development of modernist and post- modernist architecture. Formerly ART 371.

GEO 133


The course provides an in depth analysis of a Chicago neighborhood, connecting this to wider U.S. trends in urbanization and urban development. Students conduct a research project, through archival study and field work.

GEO 200


This course focuses on the application and meaning of 'sustainability' to our discussion and understanding of cities, urban communities, and the urbanization process. The course conceptualizes sustainability as residing at the intersection of political, economic, social, and ecological thinking and examines its utility and flexibility towards urban form and function. The course pursues the topic of urban sustainability through the lenses of scale (e.g., local vs. global), justice (e.g., social vs. ecological), and diversity (e.g., cultural vs. biotic).

GEO 205


A theoretical and applied investigation of the social, political, and economic processes influencing the spatial distribution of environmental amenities and harms across the U.S. urban landscape, with particular focus on urban structure and the role of environmental justice struggles in shaping urban policy and the urban landscape.

GEO 241


An introductory-level course covering the fundamentals of GIS. Topics include GPS, remote sensing, data models (vector and raster), coordinate systems, and map design. Instruction is accomplished through lectures and hands-on computer lab exercises using ArcGIS.
LSP 120 or HON 180 or (MAT 130 or above) is a prerequisite for this class.

GEO 331


An advanced exploration of Chicago's urban geography, focusing in detail on topics such as historical geography, industrial change, community development, housing, architecture, transportation and Chicago's status as a "global city."

GEO 333


A seminar on the intellectual history and theories of urban planning and design, and their application in urban settings in the U.S. and abroad. Systematic study of case studies leads to the investigation of current urban planning issues in Chicago.

HAA 373


Explores the art, architecture, and urban plan of Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan. Kyoto became the seat of government and the home of the imperial court in 794, and it continued to serve as the cultural and religious center of the land until the nineteenth century. This course considers major artistic developments as they relate to main sites in Kyoto, especially palaces, temples, and shrines. The eras covered extend from the Heian to the Meiji period. (Cities Minor)

HAA 375


From its origins as Tenochtitlan, the preordained capital of the Aztec Empire, through its identification as a "new Rome" dominated by the Spanish Crown in the Viceregal period, to its status as the largest metropolitan area in the Western Hemisphere (and the second largest in the world), Mexico City was born to impress the imagination. This class explores the development of the great city of Mexico in light of major historical events and cultural expressions. Discussions will focus especially on urban planning, key architecture, outdoor sculpture, and public spectacles over the centuries.

HAA 376


Few cities in the world match Rome for its antiquity, imperial heritage, historic, religious and cultural importance, spectacular art and architecture, and rich urban landscape. Traditionally believed to have been founded by Romulus and Remus, descendents of Aeneas, in 753 BCE, and subsequently ruled by Etruscan kings, Rome's public buildings, communal baths, and fortifications suggest that Rome was urbanized as early as the 6C BCE. After the expulsion of their Etruscan monarchs, Romans established the Republic, which evolved into the Roman Empire when Octavian, grand nephew of Julius Caesar, became Augustus, Rome's first emperor, princeps or first citizen. Along with subsequent emperors determined to turn Rome into a magnificent city worthy to be the capital of a great empire, Augustus used architecture and the built environment as massive symbols of power, authority, and legitimacy, a lesson in public education embraced by the Catholic Church when the imperial pagan capital became the capital of Western Christendom and the seat of the papacy. This class explores the city of Rome from its ancient origins through the 17th century and focuses on the major art and architectural developments that define this unique urban space.

HAA 378


This class focuses on the city of Jerusalem. The uniqueness of Jerusalem stems from its status as a sacred place in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In this class we will explore the physical city of Jerusalem with its monuments, contested holy sites, and changing architecture. We will also analyze representations of the imagined heavenly Jerusalem, for which many believers intensely yearned. The class will focus on Jerusalem from the 2nd through the 16th centuries: from its destruction by Roman armies to its last pre-modern construction phase during the Ottoman period. We will discuss how different religious groups mapped meaning and marked holiness in the urban fabric of Jerusalem. This class will consider some of the following issues: art and architecture, politics, religion, urban planning, and patronage. (Cities MInor)

HAA 379


This course is designed to explore the arts & architecture, and urban planning of Paris & vicinity, from the period of the Old Regime to ca. 1870. This span more or less coincides with the art historical periods from the Renaissance to early Impressionism. The course material weaves artistic works and projects into the greater cultural, political, and social fabric of the realm --- and includes, among other outstanding personalities, the towering impact of Vincent de Paul --- in order to expose the student to a variety of cross-disciplinary perspectives. Several class sessions are scheduled at the Art Institute of Chicago.(Cities Minor) Formerly ART 366.

HAA 380


This course investigates contemporary historiographic debates and new archival evidence surrounding research on Chicago architecture and urbanism. In addition to participating in lectures/discussions of HAA 380, students also meet separately to discuss scholarly debates as well as their individual research proposals, as appropriate for graduate level work. (Cities Minor) Formerly ART 339.

HAA 384


The influence of art and architecture on the development of Berlin from 1871 to the present. How major figures (from Bismarck to Kohl) and major events (from World Wars to the fall of the Berlin Wall) affected the city and its culture. (Cities Minor) Formerly ART 367.

HAA 385


Examines London as a nexus of English artistic and architectural activity and emphasizes the role of the monarchy, such art world institutions as patronage or the foundation of the Royal Academy, and the city's historic growth. (Cities Minor) Formerly ART 368.