HIST 97H

The COVID-19 crisis and its aftermath have inspired new attention to the viability of cities in the United States, with many downtowns still struggling to recover and the nation facing unrelenting pressures to provide decent, affordable housing in most urban areas. While these issues are daunting, similar ones have arisen before. This seminar will explore the methods, sources, and ideas historians have employed to understand the evolution of American urban environments. We will explore such questions as how central have cities been to American identity? What changes have taken place in the way cities have related to their larger metropolitan areas? How have ethnicity, race, gender, and sexuality shaped the urban experience and the way cities have developed over time? What impact have cities had on environmental degradation and health? What role have cities played in U.S. politics? Students will also undertake their own historical research into a particular dimension of city life.