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Teaching urban: Reflections from Hispanic Studies

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While the ‘urban’ both as a site for research and as a theoretical concept has become a central interest to scholars in a wide range of fields, its role in the classroom has often been unclear. As a result, this article looks to explore what it means to teach about urban space and the urban experience. In particular, it explores the challenges and possibilities for ‘teaching urban’ within the context of Hispanic Studies. Using discussions from a recent seminar entitled ‘Teaching urban’ that took place at the Eleventh Annual Conference of the Cultural Studies Association as a point of departure, this article reviews some recent scholarship on the incorporation of urban theory and the study of urban space into the classroom. It argues that foregrounding the role of changing communication technologies in producing urban space while asking students to participate in those networks of communication might be one approach to developing language and cultural proficiency while engaging with contemporary discourses of urbanism.
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Keywords: Henri Lefebvre; Spanish literature; cultural studies; hispanic studies; pedagogy; urbanism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Oberlin College

Publication date: 01 June 2014

More about this publication?
  • Cities have been increasingly at the forefront of debate in both humanities and social-science disciplines, but there has been relatively little dialogue across these disciplinary boundaries. Journals in social-science fields that use urban-studies methods to look at life in cities rarely explore the cultural aspects of urban life in any depth or delve into close readings of the representation of cities in individual cultural products. As a platform for interdisciplinary scholarship from any and all linguistic, cultural and geographical traditions, the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies prioritizes the urban phenomenon in order to better understand the culture(s) of cities.
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