Outline of Classes and Due Dates

Week 1. Sept. 4 & 7

  1. Introduction – what is the class about, how it fits in with the World Studies program, what the point is, who we all are
  2. Discussion of language and language difference, what is the relationship between language and how we structure thought or understand thing? Read: Pedro Pitarch, "The Labyrinth of Translation," from Human Rights in the Maya Region, ed. P. Pitarch, S. Speed and X. L. Solano, Duke University Press, 2008

Week 2. Sept 11 & 14

  1. What  are the signifiers of cultural identity and difference? –  Read: S. Walt, "Why American is going to regret the Cordoba House Controversy", Watch Park51 (Cordoba House) project/controversy presentation :
  2. US Presidential Election and its Global Impact - Watch AlJazeera Piece .


Tropical Truth

In this portion of the class we will begin to tease apart differences and commonalities between two intertwined, mutually informing cultures. Our efforts will be centered around Tropicalia, a movement of artists in diverse fields, but coming most visibly from popular music, cinema and theater in late 60's Brazil. Tropicalia paralleld, at least chronologically, with the "Counter Culture" in the U.S. andthe student movements in Europe. The movement was strikingly, inexplicebly more threatening to the military regime in Brazil than its European and American counterparts, even though their aims were, at least on the surface, limited to artistic freedom rather than overt political action.  Is it the nature of Brazilian culture that made Tropicalia  such a potent foe? Is it the nature of the work Tropicalistas were making? Can Tropicalia or something like it happen in the U.S.? We will also touch, at least briefly, on the fundamental nature of music cognition and the notion of music as the "universal language," mirroring our more general pursuit.

Week 3. Sept 18 & 21

Listening to music as a non-universal language.

Culture as demarcated by music.

The notions of “national identity” and its related “national culture”.   

Reading: Topical Truth pp.3-93

Additional Reading: Veloso, Carmen Mirandadada.

Brazil as exotic: 

Viewing: Orfeo Negro (Black Orphus)

Listening: Carmen Miranda 



and to illustrate a point,

Joao Gilberto:

Please install the Flash Plugin

Joao Gilberto Manha de Carnaval

Please install the Flash Plugin


Week 4. Sept 25 & 28


Tropical Truth, pp. 94-217

Tropicalia vs. the American “Counter Culture”; Tropicalia as “anti-culture”.

Additional reading: Cannibal Manifeto

Viewing: Terra em Transe


Caetano veloso: Tropicalia


Please install the Flash Plugin


Gilberto Gil:  

Please install the Flash Plugin


Os Mutantes: Panis et Circenses 


Week 5. Oct 2 & 5 (midterm grades due the 5th)

Reflecting back: What would an American “Tropicalia Movement” look like?

Reading: Tropical Truth pp. 218 to the end.


Gal Costa (feat. Veloso): Baby

Veloso: Diana

Veloso: Carioca

Reading for Tuesday: C. Dunn, Brutality Garden Introduction


A note on the music:

Links to recordings will be posted for each song, and are all required listening. You should achieve at least a "humming along" level of familiarity with the songs before class time. 

A note on the films:There will be two during the three weeks that we will be exploring Tropicalia. You are required to see all of these films, one each week will be shown on Thursday night from 6 to 8 in the World Studies Lounge.



“Worlding” cities, Globalization, What does it mean to be global? How transferable is culture?

In this section we are going to concentrate on issues of urban design and practice that both articulate and dismiss issues/questions of cultural difference and similarity. While taking urban design as our focus the aim will be to articulate and analyze cultural difference as opposed to cultural diversity, to be able to understand what issues of urban practice are global, and what are local, and how we can distinguish between the two; and how all this can be connected to recognizing and dealing with cultural difference in practice.

A note on the films:

There will be six films during the three weeks that we will be reading the essays in the Worlding Cities book. You are required to see all of these films before class on Tuesday so that we can begin discussing them right away. The films are avaliable here by clicking on their names in the section below, and in the reserve room in the library.


Week 6. Introduction to Cities - discussion of common terminology

Read: Worlding Cities, Introduction


Week 7. Oct 19 – Cross-cultural cities, globalization and what is “worlding”? – Movies: Days and Clouds and Skydancer

Read: Worlding Cities, chapters 5, 6 & 7.


Week 8. Oct 23 & 26 - Work on Research proposals


Week 9. Oct 30 & Nov 2 –The city as environmental savior(?) - Movies: Urbanized and Disorder

Read: Worlding Cities, chapters 2 & 4 and for Friday Nov. 2 chapter 3 and watch - Mumbai Land grab


Week 10. Nov 6 & 9 - Finish Discussion on environment and cities and move to Social rights, politics, globalization and the “war” on poverty - Movies: Sugarhill and Salam Bombay

Read: Worlding Cities, chapters 1, 3, 10 &11


Week 11. Nov 13 & 16 - Friday depart for Montreal - In Montreal Saturday, return Sunday, Nov. 18

Read: G. Tavano Blessi,  “New trajectories in urban regeneration processes: Cultural capital as source of human and social capital accumulation – Evidence from the case of Tohu in Montreal,” in Cities,  Dec 2012, Vol. 29 Issue 6, p 397-407.

and watch video on Montreal come to class ready to talk about what you want to see and do in Montreal


Week 12. No class - Happy Thanksgiving


Week 13. Nov 27 & 30 - 

Tuesday -Humor and [mis]communication

Read: Humor As Double Edged Sword: Four Functions of Humor in Communication

Watch: Chamber Quintet on ...after watching the first time, read transcript with translation 

Friday - Multiculturalism and the Liberal Arts

Read: Timothy Garton Ash, "Freedom and Diversity" and William Cronon, "Only Connect...The Goals of a Liberal Education"


Week 14. Dec 4 - Review and Assess



Last modified: Wednesday, November 21, 2012, 12:22 PM