Spring 2020 - HIST 372 D100

City Life (4)

Class Number: 7346

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 6 – Apr 9, 2020: Wed, 9:30 a.m.–1:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units, including six units of lower division history or enrollment in the Urban Studies Certificate program.



Examines the experience of city life in various global settings with an emphasis on the social, cultural, and political development of urban environments.


The City:  A Social History

He who writes about Hollywood, bougainvilleas and the Mediterranean climate tells but half the story.
    Sunshine was never enough: Los Angeles workers 1880-2010.

This course is a long conversation about the place of class within the city. It starts off with the assumption that the city in geography is a place that exists, but one that is also formed by the everyday practices of people. This process of formation unfolds partially through official planning, but there is a gap between such plans and how people actually interact with, use and thereby make the city. This process of making the city is intrinsically a story of competing claims to space in which the actions of actors are circumscribed by extant power relations and what is believed to be possible.

Informed by the concerns of social history, this course seeks to understand power relations in the city through a local level focus on one specific theme – how is class practiced, built into and made invisible within the city?

The place of the working people of the city and the struggle to be visible within the planning paradigm of the cityscape is an intrinsic part of understanding the place class occupies in the urban context. This place is particularly important when it appears not to exist.

The course draws on theories and examples from all across the world, but the assignments focus on Vancouver and the context around the Harbour Centre building. Students will be expected to take walks and explore the city around this area in the downtown core.


  • Class Participation 15%
  • Field Diary and picture 20%
  • Discussion leader 10%
  • Art Installation 20%
  • Final research paper 35%



All readings will be circulated via canvas.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html