Urbs-457/soci-435 Globalization and the City Fall 2016

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URBS-457/SOCI-435 Globalization and the City

Fall 2016
Arjun Shankar, Ph.D. Time: Tuesdays 4:30pm to 7pm

Office Hours: By Appointment Classroom: Van Pelt 113

Course Description:

Globalization has become one of the primary categories by which 21st century change is imagined. Scholars have used the concept to both justify and explain everything from increased social inequality to changing migration patterns to national growth to sectarian strife to corporatization to humanitarianism. Yet, globalization as a category has been ill-defined: is it primarily an economic, political, or cultural process? Where do we see the results of globalization and why?

Either implicitly or explicitly, rightly or wrongly, the city has taken on a renewed focus as the “site” in which these global processes take place, with airports, roads, multinational corporations, information technologies, supranational organizations, and financial centers facilitating global connection between cities. Yet, emerging cities in the Global South such as Sao Paolo, Lahore, New Delhi, and Newark have seen changes drastically different than cities such as New York, London, and Paris. These differences reflect complex histories linked to earlier colonial, racial, and ethnic relations. How, then, does globalization differentially affect these cities?

In the first half of the semester we will review the debates on globalization before locating our discussion in major cities from around the globe, trying to understand the concept of globalization as it is refracted through specific histories of governance, migration, infrastructural development, and violence. We will draw on multi-disciplinary literature to examine the factors that transform urban spaces and to understand why particular cities have emerged as “world” powers in the 21st Century. We draw links between global processes, such as the growth of urban middle-classes and emerging communication technologies, and read from across the globe to determine shared opportunities and challenges of global urbanization. Most importantly, we will understand globalization empirically, using case studies from the Global North and the Global South to understand how global connections are forged, creating benefits for some and disadvantages for others; a process of ‘uneven development’. As importantly, we will explore the critical dimension of the imagination in producing these complex and contradictory global-urban futures.

Students will choose their own city upon which to conduct primary research and deepen their understanding of globalization as a process located in specific histories and spatial relations. They will do primary and secondary research using scholarly articles, news media sources, and documentary film archives to make arguments about how global processes are re-shaping their selected urban locale. By the end of the course, students will have the theoretical knowledge along with empirical case studies to critically respond to the question: What does the globalization of the city look like?
Course Objectives:

  • Develop an empirical understanding of the economic, political, and sociocultural aspects of globalization discourse

  • Disentangle the relationship between the ‘global’ and the ‘local’

  • Extend knowledge of cities beyond the Global North to the Global South

  • Improve critical reading strategies and cultivate habits of reading a daily periodical

  • Learn techniques for substantive, theoretically rich, fact-based dialogue and debate

Course Assignments:

  1. Class Participation: A seminar is only as dynamic as the discussions generated by students. It is essential that all students do the readings before class and have notes ready for in-class discussion. Students are expected to be active participants, asking questions and furthering dialogue during class. You will also be required to do a map quiz that shows your basic geographic knowledge of the countries and cities under study. (10%)

  1. Class Presentation: Each week two students will give a 15-minute presentation on the readings for the week and facilitate a class discussion of approximately 45 minutes. Students should identify several key theoretical interventions made by each scholar, provide their own thoughts on how these theories allow us to understand globalization differently, and generate guiding questions for discussion. Students are expected to relate the readings with current events and their own chosen city, developing insights and challenging scholarship based on their primary source data. (15%)

  1. Course Blog: Each week there will be a question based on that week’s readings. Each student will be expected to post a response of no more than 250 words by Sunday night at 5pm. Students will be expected to read each others posting and respond to at least one post before arriving in class on Tuesday. The presenters for each week will not be expected to post, but will be expected to read and bring in particular blogposts of interest as part of their Tuesday presentations. (15%)

  1. Voiceover Powerpoint: The end term assignment will be a voiceover power point of 5-7 minutes in which you will use only your voices, images, and film clips to make a specific argument regarding how globalization has affected one specific city in the world (not included on the syllabus already). You may work alone or with a partner to answer the guiding question of our course: What does the globalization of the city look like? You will need to argue using sights and sounds, making your argument by ‘showing’ us a global city. How is the space of your city structured? What are the particular economic practices that have been set in place? What is the demographic makeup of your city and how do particular cultural practices influence how globalization takes place? (35%)

  1. Midterm Exam: The midterm will be a 5-page argumentative essay that looks closely at the city you have chosen for your final film project. You will be required to use theoretical tools from the first part of the class to make your claim for your city as a uniquely global city on cultural, political, and economic grounds. (25%)

  1. Newspaper Readings: Globalization is an ongoing process that is both emerging and dynamic. Reading a range of newspaper sources daily will allow you to start understanding how global processes occur and change, and may allow you to uncover aspects of globalization – such as global climate change – that are not covered in the course. You should read several newspapers (such as The New York Times, The Financial Times, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, The BBC, Al Jazeera, the Hindu, Atlantic Cities as well as local sources in countries and regions you are interested in), and explore websites such as those listed at the end of the syllabus. Each week you will bring in an editorial about your selected city that articulates well with the week’s reading. Your outside readings will be the basis for your final projects and should be introduced into the class presentations and discussion. Please make sure to link your arguments with the class readings and the themes of each class.


08/30 Introduction (Mapping globalization onto everyday life)

  • The Global POV project: http://blumcenter.berkeley.edu/globalpov/

  • The Danger of a Single Story, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

  • Reading critically: who, what, where, when, why?

09/06 What is Globalization? (Or do places still matter?)

Film: Naomi Klein. 2003. “No Logo: Brands, Globalization, Resistance.” Media Education Foundation.

Interview: Thomas Friedman w/ Barack Obama (Aug 4, 2014)


  • Friedman, Thomas. 2005. “Excerpts.” The World is Flat. Farrar, Straus and Giroux

  • Varma, Meher. 2007. “India Wiring Out: Ethnographic Reflections from Two Transnational Call Centers in India.” Anthropology Matters. 9(2)

  • Barber, Benjamin. 1992. Jihad vs McWorld The Atlantic Magazine http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1992/03/jihad-vs-mcworld/303882/

  • Paul Hirst and Grahame Thompson. 2003. Globalization – A Necessary Myth? In Held, David and Anthony McGrew. The Global Transformations Reader (pp. 68-75)

  • Salazar, et al. 2016. “The free movement of people around the world would be utopian”

09/13 Globalization and Capital

Film: Charles Ferguson - Inside Job

Film: Deepa Bhatia – Nero’s Guests

RSA Animate: David Harvey – “The Crisis of Capitalism”

Novel/Creative Non-fiction: Rana Dasgupta, Capital

Novel/Creative-nonfiction: John Lachester - Capital


  • Picketty, Thomas. 2014. “Excerpts.” Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Belknap Press.

  • Harvey, David. 2005. “Introduction.” A Brief History of Neoliberalism. Oxford University Press.

  • Klein, Naomi. 2007. “Excerpts.” The Shock Doctrine

  • Smith, Neil. 2008. “Excerpts.” Uneven Development: Nature, Capital and the Production of Space. University of Georgia Press

  • Nonini, D. M. 2008. “Is China Becoming Neoliberal?” Critique of Anthropology 28(2). 145-176.

  • Read the Interview with David Harvey. “On Neoliberalism: An Interview with David Harvey.” http://davidharvey.org/

  • The End of Globalization? https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-end-of-globalization/2015/09/20/b48b9f60-5e2f-11e5-9757-e49273f05f65_story.html?utm_term=.a41f79236d6c

09/20 Globalization, the City, and the Imagination

Film: Norberg Hodge, et al. - The Economics of Happiness

Novel/Creative Non-Fiction: Franklin Foer – How Soccer Explains the World


  • Appadurai, Arjun. 2001. “Introduction”. Globalization. Duke University Press.

  • Appadurai, Arjun. 1996. “Introduction”. Modernity at Large: The Cultural Dimensions of Globalization. Minnesota Press.

  • Appadurai, Arjun. 2014. “Excerpts” The Future as Cultural Fact.

  • Ong and Roy (eds) “Introduction”. Worlding Cities: Asian Experiments and the Art of Being Global.

  • Schiller and Salazar. 2012. “Regimes of Mobility Across the Globe.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies

  • Crenshaw, Kimberley. 1991. “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color.” Stanford Law Review

09/27 The City in a Globalized Context (Power)

Film: Kakkar and Mustafa – Powerless

Novel: Antoon – The Corpse Washer


  • Davis, Mike. 2006. “Excerpts.” Planet of Slums. Verso.

  • Graham, Stephen. Introduction. Cities Under Siege.

  • Sassen, Saskia. 2012. “The Urban Impact of Economic Globalization” in Cities in the World Economy. Pine Forge Press.

  • Harvey, David. 2008. “The Right to the City.” New Left Review.

  • Zukin, Sharon. 2006. “The City as a Landscape of Power: London and New York as Global Financial Capitals” in The Global Cities Reader, Routledge.

10/04 “Branding” the Global City and Its Aesthetics

Film: “The World’s Richest City” http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/worlds-richest-city/

Novel: Teju Cole – Open City


  • “Singapore as Model: Planning Innovations, Knowledge Experts.” Chua Beng Huat

  • “Rule by Aesthetics: World-Class City Making in Delhi.” D. Asher Ghertner

  • Asia in the Mix: Urban Form and Global Mobilities – Hong Kong, Vancouver, Dubai. Glen Lowry and Eugene McCann

  • Brash, Julian. 2011. “Excerpts.” Bloomberg’s New York: Class and Governance in the Luxury City. University of Georgia Press.

  • Browse: New York Times Special Series “The United States of Subsidies” http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/12/01/us/government-incentives.html?_r=0

  • Browse: “The Gilded City: Bloomberg’s New York”, Special issue of The Nation, April 2013 http://www.thenation.com/article/173925/special-issue-gilded-city-bloombergs-new-york

10/11 Citizenship

Film: Foguera and Dewever-Plana - Alma (http://alma.arte.tv/en/webdoc/)

Film: Kendall - La Camioneta

Novel/Creative Non-fiction: Krane - City of Gold: Dubai and the Dream of Capitalism


  • Vora, Neha. 2013. “Excerpts.” Impossible Citizens: Dubai’s Indian Diaspora. Duke University Press.

  • Kanna, Ahmed. 2011. “Excerpts.” Dubai, The city as Corporation. University of Minnesota Press.

  • O’Neill, Kevin. 2009. “Excerpts.” City of God: Christian Citizenship in Postwar Guatamala.

  • Gardner, Andrew. 2010. “Excerpts.” City of Strangers: Gulf Migration and the Indian Community in Bahrain. Cornell University Press.

  • Holston, James. 2010. “Right to the City, Right to Rights, and Urban Citizenship.” Mershon Center for International Security Studies.

  • Ong, Aihwa. Flexible Citizenship.

10/18 “Walled” Cities

TV Series: City of Men

Novel: Lauren Beukes (2010) – Zoo City


  • Caldeira, Teresa P.R. 2008. “From Modernism to Neoliberalism in São Paulo. Reconfiguring the City and its Citizens.” In Andreas Huyssen (ed) Other Cities, Other Worlds: Urban Imaginaries in a Globalizing Age. Duke University Press, pp. 51-78.

  • Caldeira, Teresa. 2001. “Excerpts.” City of Walls: Crime, Segregation, and Citizenship in Sao Paulo. University of California Press.

  • Holston, James. 2008. “Excerpts.” Insurgent Citizenship: Disjunctions of Democracy and Modernity in Brazil. Princeton University Press.

  • Von Schnitzler, Antina. 2013. "Traveling Technologies: Infrastructure, Ethical Regimes and the Materiality of Politics in South Africa" Cultural Anthropology.

  • Von Schnitzler, Antina. 2014. “Performing dignity: Human rights, citizenship, and the techno‐politics of law in South Africa.”

  • Czegledy, Andre. 2004. “Getting Around Town: transportation and the built environment in post-apartheid South Africa.” City and Society

  • Elyachar, Julie. 2010. “Phatic labor, infrastructure, and the question of empowerment in Cairo.” American Ethnologist.

  • Kuppinger, Petra. 2004. “Exclusive greenery: new gated communities in Cairo.” City&Society.

  • Peterson, Mark Allen. 2011. “Excerpts.” Connected in Cairo: Growing Up Cosmopolitan in the Modern Middle East.

  • The National. “And then Cairo turned itself Inside Out.” http://www.thenational.ae/news/world/and-then-cairo-turned-itself-inside-out#full

10/25 Humanitarianism

TV Series: Treme

Film: Shearer - The Big Uneasy

Novel: Dimitri Elias Leger - God Loves Haiti


  • Adams, Vincanne. 2013. “Excerpts.” Markets of Sorrow, Labors of Faith: New Orleans in the Wake of Katrina

  • James, Erica. 2010. “Excerpts.” Democratic Insecurities: Violence, Trauma, and Intervention in Haiti. University of California Press.

  • Fassin, Didier. “Excerpts.” Humanitarian Reason.

  • Who Dat?: Race and Its Conspicuous Consumption in Post-Katrina New Orleans

  • Manzo, Kate. 2008. “Imaging Humanitarianism: NGO Identity and the Iconography of Childhood.” Antipode.

  • “The Reductive Seduction of Other People’s Problems.” Medium

  • Kramer, J. (2015). The Problem with “Help” in Global Development. Stanford Social Innovation Review. http://ssir.org/articles/entry/the_problem_with_help_in_global_development

  • Cole, Teju (2012) “The White Savior Industrial Complex.” http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/03/the-white-savior-industrial-complex/254843/

11/1 Refugees and Ethno-Nationalism

Film: Four PBS POV Films


Novel: “Listening to Refugees” https://arablit.org/2015/09/15/listening-to-refugees/


  • “A Europe of Donald Trumps.” The New Yorker

  • “The Attacks in Paris: Special Issue” The New Yorker

  • Facebook criticised over Paris attack ‘safety check’ after no action on Beirut bombing. The Independent.

  • Gabiam, Nell. 2016. “Humanitarianism, Development, and Security in the 21st Century: Lessons from the Syrian Refugee Crisis” Roundtable special issue on “Problematics of Humanitarianism and Human Rights.” International Journal of Middle East Studies.

  • Gabiam, Nell. 2015. “Citizenship and Development: Palestinians in France and the Multiple Meanings of Statelessness.” Special Issue: Population and Development. Jennifer Johnson-Hanks and Daniel Smith, eds. Studies in Comparative International Development.

  • 2012: “When ‘Humanitarianism’ Becomes ‘Development’: The Politics of International Aid in Syria’s Palestinian Refugee Camps.” American Anthropologist 114(1):95–107.

  • “Welcome to Aleppo” http://english.alarabiya.net/en/media/digital/2015/08/11/-Welcome-to-Aleppo-360-degree-movie-shows-full-circle-view-of-Syria.html

11/8 Racializing and Gendering the City

Film: Kruvant - Heart of Stone

Novel: Ru Freeman – On Sal Mal Lane

Novel: Thisuri Wanniarachchi – Colombo Streets


  • Ramos-Zayas, Ana. 2012. "Excerpts.” Street Therapists: Race, Affect, and Neoliberal Personhood in Latino Newark

  • Russakoff, Dale. 2014. “Schooled.” The New Yorker. http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/05/19/schooled

  • Hewamanne, Sandya. 2008. Stitching Identities in a Free Trade Zone: Gender and Politics in Sri Lanka. University of Pennsylvania Press.

  • Hewamanne, Sandya. 2008. “City of Whores: Nationalism, Development, and Global Garment Workers in Sri Lanka.” Social Text: 26(2), 35-59.

  • Perera, Nihal. 2006. “Exploring Colombo: The relevance of a knowledge of New York.” In Neil Brenner and Roger Keil (eds.) The Global Cities Reader. Routledge.

  • Crenshaw, Kimberley. 1991. “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color.” Stanford Law Review

11/15 Media and Digital Worlds

Film: Farooqi and Rizvi - Peepli Live

Film: Sonti and Upadhya - Coding Culture

Novel: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - Americanah


  • Larkin, Brian. 2008. “Excerpts.” Signal and Noise: Media, Infrastructure and Urban Culture in Nigeria. Duke University Press.

  • Larkin, Brian. “Circulating Empires: Colonial Authority and the Immoral, Subversive Power of American Film.” Globalizing American Studies. Brian Edwards, Dilip Gaonkar eds. pp. 155-183. Chicago University Press.

  • Sundaram, Ravi. 2009. Introduction and Excerpts. Pirate Modernity: Delhi’s Media Urbanism.

  • Benjamin, Solomon. 2007. “Bhoomi: ‘E-Governance’ Or, An Anti-Politics Machine Necessary to Globalize Bangalore?”

  • Amrute, Sareeta. 2016. “Excerpts.” Encoding Race, Encoding Class: Indian IT workers in Berlin

  • Aneesh, Aneesh. 2006. “Excerpts.” Virtual Migration.

11/22 Urban-Rural Linkage

Film: Lixin Fan – Last Train Home


  • Bach, Jonathan. 2010. “They Come in Peasants and Leave Citizens: Urban Villages and the Making of Shenzhen, China.” Cultural Anthropology

  • Li, Yuheng. 2011. “Urban-Rural Relations in China: A Study of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Metropolitan Region.”

  • Whyte, Martin King. 2010. “Excerpts.” One Country, Two Societies: Rural-Urban Inequality in Contemporary China. Harvard University Press.

  • Roy, Ananya. 2004. City Requiem, Calcutta: Gender and the Politics of Poverty. University of Minnesota Press.

  • Rosenblum, Daniel. 2013. “Rural-Urban Migration and Agricultural Transformation in India: Observing the Impact on Childhood Migration from Bihar to New Delhi.” Inquiries: Social Science, Arts, & Humanities

  • Gidwani and Sivaramakrishnan. 2003. “Circular migration and rural cosmopolitanism in India.” Contributions to Indian Sociology.

  • Kuhn, Randall. 2003. “Identities in motion: Social exchange networks and rural- urban migration in Bangladesh.” Contributions to Indian Sociology.

  • Jeffrey, Craig. 2010. “Timepass: Youth, class, and time among unemployed young men in India.” American Ethnologist.

  • Williams, Raymond. 1973. The City and the Countryside.

  • Merrington, J. 1976. “Town and Country in the Transition to Capitalism.” In R. Hilton, ed., The Transition from Feudalism to Capitalism. London: New Left Books.

11/29 Tourism

  • Chio, Jenny. 2014. “Excerpts.” A Landscape of Travel: The Work of Tourism in Rural Ethnic China. University of Washington Press

  • Salazar, Noel. 2010. “Excerpts.” Envisioning Eden: Mobilizing Imaginaries in Tourism and Beyond. Oxford University Press.

  • Freire-Mederos, Bianca. 2009. “The favela and its touristic transits.” Geoforum.

12/06 Ecology and Environmental Decay

  • Tsing, Anna. 2014. Mushroom at the End of the World.

  • Fortun, Kim. 2001. Advocacy After Bhopal. University of Chicago Press.

  • Mitchell, Timothy. 2002. “Can the Mosquito Speak?”

  • Beck, Ulrich. Living in the world risk society.

Other potential topic:

The Informal Economy (Kingston)

  • Jaffe, Rivke. 2013. The Hybrid State: Crime and Citizenship in Urban Jamaica.” American Ethnologist 40(4):734-748.

  • Rivke Jaffe (2012) Criminal Dons and Extralegal Security Privatization in Downtown Kingston, Jamaica. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography 33(2): 184-197

  • Rivke Jaffe, Kevon Rhiney and Cavell Francis (2012) 'Throw Word': Graffiti, Space and Power in Kingston, Jamaica. Caribbean Quarterly 58(1): 1-20.

  • Rivke Jaffe (2013). Visual Culture and Criminal Iconization in Kingston, Jamaica: A Photo-Essay. Moving Worlds: A Journal of Transcultural Writings 13(1): 131-139.

  • Carnegie, Charles V. 2014. “The Loss of the Verandah: Kingston’s Constricted Postcolonial Geographies.” Social and Economic Studies

  • Thomas, Deborah. “Excerpts.” Modern Blackness: Nationalism, Globalization, and the Making of Modern Jamaica.

  • Party Politics in Jamaica and the Extradition of Christopher “Dudus” Coke

Useful Websites:
London School of Economics Cities


The Atlantic Cities Online Journal


Globalization and World Cities Research Network at Loughborough Univesity, UK


The Nation Special Issue on Bloomberg’s New York


New York Times Special Series:
The United States of Subsidies http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/12/01/us/government-incentives.html?_r=0

The New York Times series on the iEconomy:


Edward Glaser’s New York Times blog


MIT Senseable City Lab (for visualizations of urban analytics)


The Guardian: The rise of megacities


BBC Hot Cities Series on Cities and Climate Change


2012 Global Cities Index

https://www.atkearney.com/gbpc/global-cities-index/full-report/- /asset_publisher/yAl1OgZpc1DO/content/2012-global-cities-index/10192

Mckinsey Global Institute’s Cities Reports


The Globalization Studies Website at the University of Pennsylvania:


The Tate Modern Global Cities Website:


Saskia Sassen’s webpage at the Columbia University:


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