Fall/Winter Timetable

SII199Y1Y L0351

First-Year Seminar

Marx and the City


This course is open only to newly admitted first year students.

The 199Y seminars do not substitute for POL 101Y. Also, the 199Y seminars do not count toward the requirements of any of the Political Science programs.

Cities highlight the best and worst aspects of collective life and they reveal the starkest contradictions of our time. The course looks to the writings of Marx and Engels in order to understand contradictions as inherent aspects of urban life under capitalism. In the first half of the course, we read primary texts in the Marxist tradition in order to trace the growth and development of the modern city and to clarify the relationships between urban economic, political, and social functions. In the second half of the course, we consider the workings of contemporary cities based on critical issue areas (e.g. colonialism, neoliberalism, nature, gender, creativity, militarization, and struggle). Throughout the class, we question the extent to which Marxism can help us to make sense of the forces that shape urbanization, provide us with tools to address urban problems, and enable us to build more socially just urban worlds.