All Academic Programs

History and Theory

Concentration Advisor: Neil Brenner

Download the History and Theory Area of Concentration memo (PDF) 

This concentration is intended for students who have a strong interest in theoretical questions related to cities, urbanization, urbanism and urban planning, whether in historical or contemporary contexts.  It may also be of particular interest to those considering a future doctorate in urban planning or an associated discipline.  The concentration is designed to foster critical thinking regarding the social, economic, political and spatial processes that have produced urbanized built environments, and their consequences for everyday life, social reproduction, politics, and environmental conditions.  The courses also explore the ways in which planners and policy-makers attempt to influence such processes and their consequences at various spatial scales.

Recommended courses are listed below. This list is indicative only—the official list is on the PDF attached to this page:

At the GSD

Fall

  • GSD 2482 Art, Design and the Public Domain
  • GSD 3241 Theories of Landscape as Urbanism, Landscape As Infrastructure: Paradigms, Practices, Prospects
  • GSD 3342 Infrastructural Ecologies: A Projective Urbanism
  • GSD 3372 The Subject and the City
  • GSD 3431 A Science of the Environment
  • GSD 3474 Conservation History, Its Canons and Institutions
  • GSD 4130 Scale and Modernity
  • GSD 4329 Urbanization in the East Asian Region
  • GSD 4334 Geo-Architecture
  • GSD 4340 Metropolis, Modernity and Place
  • GSD 4353 Imagining the City: Literature, Film, and the Arts
  • GSD 4433 The Cultural Invention of the “Shanty Town”
  • GSD 4474 Critical Memory and the Experience of History
  • GSD 5503 Neoliberal Urbanism, North and South
  • GSD 5486 There Goes the Neighborhood 

Spring

  • GSD 2483 Interrogative Design: Animating Monuments
  • GSD 3211 Behind Todays Architectural Trends
  • GSD 3242 Theories of Landscape Architecture
  • GSD 3336 Design Anthropology: Objects, Landscapes, Cities
  • GSD 3434 Architecture and Art: From Minimalism to Neuro-phenomenology
  • GSD 3447 Critical Ecologies
  • GSD 3448 The Mixed-Reality City
  • GSD 4122 Buildings, Texts, and Contexts II
  • GSD 4132 Frames of Mind: Approaches of Film Theory
  • GSD 4142 Histories of Landscape Architecture II: Design Representation and Management, 1600-1900
  • GSD 4324 Green Modern
  • GSD 4343 Developing Worlds
  • GSD 4344 Modern Architecture and Urbanism in China
  • GSD 4355 Architecture, Science and Technology, XVIIIth Century-Present
  • GSD 4359 Urban Form: History + Theory
  • GSD 9121 New Geographies Lab Research Seminar
  • GSD 9126 Urban Theory Lab Research Seminar
  • GSD 9128 Nature & Urban Form 
At the Kennedy School

Fall

  • HKS DPI-312 Sparking Social Change
  • HKS SUP-201 Poverty and Social Policy
  • HKS PAL-218 Innovations in Democratic Government 

Spring

  • HKS HLE-207 Social Structure and Culture in the Study of Race and Urban Poverty
  • HKS DPI-216 Democratic Theory
  • HKS DPI-401 Institutions and Development
  • HLS 2181 Local Government Law 
Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Fall

  • FAS ANT 1655 Politics of Nature
  • FAS ANT 1885 Desire Duty and Discontent: Ethnographic Examinations of Contemporary Urban China
  • FAS ANT 2812 Space and Power
  • FAS COMP LIT 2521 Approaches to Modernity: The Metropolis
  • FAS ENG 90wc Waste: Contemporary Novels of Abjection
  • FAS HIST 78e Cities and Borderlands in the History of the Modern Middle East
  • FAS GOV 2310 Social Capital and Public Affairs
  • FAS GOV 2034 Ethics, Economics, and Law
  • FAS PHIL 178 Equality and Democracy 

Spring

  • FAS AFR 174 The African City
  • FAS ANT 1742 Housing and Heritage: Conflicts over Urban Space
  • FAS ANT 2805 Biopolitics
  • FAS EAST ASIA 121 Global Cities in East Asia
  • FAS GOV 2340b Social Policy lI
  • FAS GOV 2525 Political Geography
  • FAS HIST 74t New York from 1900 to 9/11: Local Lives, Global City
  • FAS HIST 82b Fin-de-Siècle Vienna
  • FAS HIST 82n Mapping History
  • FAS HIST 1450 The United States Metropolis, 1945-2000
  • FAS HIST 1920 A Global History of Modern Times
  • FAS HIST 2951 The Environmental Turn in History: Seminar
  • FAS LIT 146 Space and Place in Postmodern Culture 
At MIT

Fall

  • MIT 11.308J Advanced Seminar: Urban Nature and City Design
  • MIT 11.402 Urban Politics: Race and Political Change
  • MIT 11.406 Key Ideas in City Planning History and Theory
  • MIT 11.470 The Politics of Development Policy
  • MIT 11.497 Human Rights in Theory and Practice 

Spring

  • MIT 11.330J Theory of City Form
  • MIT 11.334J Advanced Seminar in Landscape and Urbanism
  • MIT 11.469 Urban Sociology in Theory and Practice
  • MIT 11.480 Urbanization and Development 
Content is loading...
Parent Page