City, Culture, Capital: The Rise (and Fall?) of the Modern City

Humanities Seminars Course

City, Culture, Capital: The Rise (and Fall?) of the Modern City

Professor; Department Head and Program Director Malcolm Compitello Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Humanities Seminars Program
Past Course
TUESDAYS 9:00 a.m. until noon Sept. 30, Oct. 7, 14, 21, 28, Nov. 4, 18, Dec. 2, 9, and 16, 2014
Dorothy Rubel Room



The city has been the motor of progress in modernity and the crucible of many of the social movements that have contested the darker underside of the modern. This seminar will explore how cities came to reside at the center of the modern project, how they have been transformed over time, and what those transformations might mean. It will also examine how the work of artists, most importantly film makers, react to the urban process, and how their creations contribute to understanding the complex dynamic that forms the culture and politics of cities.

The class will focus on a variety of cities as well as important films about them to show how the city passes from backdrop to protagonist of the changes in the urban process. We will pay particular attention to the ways in which the content and form of film reveal the authors’ views, and we will work through the techniques necessary to decipher the creative process. This will allow all of those in the class to hone their analytic skills as urbanists as well as film viewers.


MALCOLM ALAN COMPITELLO is Professor of Spanish and Head of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Arizona. He also directs the Humanities Seminars Program.  He has been teaching international detective fiction since the early 1980s, directed one of the first dissertations at an American University on Spanish detective fiction, and has spoken and written widely on this subject.





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