UWA Handbook 2017

Unit details

ARCT5511 Utopia/Disaster and Imagining the City

Credit 6 points
  Offering
(see Timetable)
AvailabilityLocationMode
Semester 2UWA (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) tutorial presentations; and (2) essays. 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: 36 hours
Unit Outlinehttp://www.unitoutlines.alva.uwa.edu.au/Units/ARCT5511/SEM-1/2017
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