ARCT5511 Utopia/Disaster and Imagining the City

Credit
6 points
Offering
(see Timetable)
AvailabilityLocationMode
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Content
Cities have long provided a means for thinking about human identity, society and values. Likewise, the destruction of cities through various means, the consequence of divine wrath or human frailty, has given historical and narrative form to diverse and often opposing values governing ethical conduct and the virtuous life, individual desires and collective responsibilities. We need to look no further than our television screens and cinemas of late to see that this is true. The destruction of cities depicted in films and real-life events, such as the collapse of the Twin Towers, the bombing of Baghdad and the 2004 tsunami devastation in Southeast Asia, reinforce the immensity of human suffering accompanying such disasters. This option unit considers how films, along with other philosophical and literary sources, serve as vehicles for questioning our seemingly precarious relationship with nature and expose fears for our common urban future. The unit draws on longstanding traditions, particularly from biblical, allegorical and Victorian sources, for moralising about fallen cities, but casts this phenomenon as uniquely modern, emblematic of contemporary concerns for the environment and the means we adopt, technical and urban, for living with it.
Outcomes
Students are able to (1) develop an understanding of the influence of idealism and utopianism on the history of cities and (2) gain an understanding of how urbanism has been affected by longstanding philosophical and literary traditions depicting the destruction of cities as these traditions afford an understanding of human identity and values.
Assessment
Typically this unit is assessed in the following ways: (1) a major essay; (2) a critical response (essay); and (3) seminar exercises. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Professor William Taylor
Contact hours
lectures and tutorials: 3 hours per week for up to 11 weeks
Unit Outline
http://www.unitoutlines.alva.uwa.edu.au/Units/ARCT5511/SEM-1/2018
Note
Enrolled students can access unit material via the LMS (Learning Management System).
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  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available at the University Co-operative Bookshop (from early January) and appropriate administrative offices for students to consult. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.