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Updated A.Y. 2020-2021

Course Description

This course is a study of globalization with a special focus on Rome, its cultural complexity and diversity. It offers the students local perspectives on globalization as it offers global perspectives on urban contexts. The intertwined processes of globalization and localization will be addressed via an in-depth study of urban settings (especially Rome and Venice) and the social, cultural, political, demographic and economic transformations the world is currently going through. From a more general perspective, the course will introduce the concept of “global cities” and discuss global city theory. The course will introduce Rome and Venice via a diversity of topical prisms: immigration, neighbourhood formations, ethnicity, tourism, popular culture, youth culture, religious identities, food and identity, etc. The course has an explicit aim to force students to recognize and value local particularities in a globalizing world, but also to understand these particularities less as relics of the past for the tourist to gaze at, and more like dynamic and ongoing adaptations to the centrifugal forces of globalization. Within this general frame, the course aims at training students to watch at cities not only as immobile spaces with a cherished past, but also a vivid locations going towards their future.

In this respect a secondary aim of the course is to allow students to critically assess the economic theory of the global city and to integrate it with a more complex perspective based not only on economics, but also on political science, sociology and cultural anthropology. Cultural aspects of globalization are indeed central to urban contexts and more relevant to their current development than strictly economic factors.

The student will be asked to think about his or her own cultural backgrounds, to develop an analytic stance toward identity and power in the world today, to compare Rome and Venice to other urban settings in the World, and to learnedly discuss the global and local forces that shape his/her own life. Pre-requisites for the course: none.

Find more information in the Syllabus