Course lecturer: Dr. Christien Klaufus
Tel./mail 020 525 3249 / Period: 4 April – 30 May 2018
Time: Wednesday 13:00 – 16:00 hours
Course load: 6 EC
Max. participants: 25

BA6. The Identity of the City

Latin America is the New World, the continent of hope. Hope for a better life for the poor; hope for a more egalitarian society. People used to think that this hope was to be found on thecountryside, in the life of the peasants and Indians.

Not surprisingly, our attention is nowadays directed towards the city as a hotbed of resistance; as a location of alternative identity constructions, as Latin America has urbanized at a high pace over the last decade: more than three quarters of the population live in urban areas.

The times when the physical-spatial order of the Latin American city was thought to determine its social order are past, yet physical interventions are still key to most urban policies. Today’s cities are addressed by exploring citizens’ agency and identity constructions, as a new face of this urbanized New World. In this course students will explore the workings of identification with, and within cities, making use of human-geographical and cultural studies. In the introductory part an overview will be given of Latin American urban studies and the history of urban development. The attention will subsequently shift toward contemporary social movements, socio-spatial segregation, memory politics, urban policies and urban governance. The course rounds up with attention for the everyday experiences in the city, as well as with urban imaginaries on TV and in the cinema.

Form of instruction
This course consists of one session per week of three hours each, seven sessions in total. A session consists of a lecture and a seminar. Attending the sessions is a prerequisite: only students that have attended at least six of the seven sessions can pass the course. For each session the student is expected to read the texts from the literature scheme in the course syllabus in advance. The literature will be discussed in class. The course will be assessed by an exam and several smaller assignments.





The new urban transition



The dual city – urban growth and the informal sector



The barrio –neighborliness and social mechanisms



The residential city – mobility and housing careers



The city of the deceased – memory and deathscapes



The renewing city – urban planning policies



The representative city – films and storytelling



No class




Course objectives
Student that have attended this course are expected to:

-     Describe urban development processes for the discussed cases in Latin America
-     Be able to explain and use core concepts from the urban studies literature
-     Be able to apply knowledge about Latin American cities in broader development debates, for example with regard to social movements, livelihood strategies, social mobility, spatial segregation, violence, and urban spatial policies. 

Course assessment and grading
The course load of 6 EC’s is based on a work load of 168 hours total. These include the seven sessions (21 hours); reading of the literature (± 500 pages, 84 hours; based on 6 pages per hour); several small assignments (28 hours); and preparation for, plus making the exam (35 hours). Extension of the credit point with 1,5 EC can be discussed with the course lecturer.

Literature (provisional)
Bromley, R. & P. Mackie (2009) ‘Displacement and New Spaces for Informal Trade in the Latin American City’, Urban Studies 46(7): 1485-1506. [22 pp]
Caldeira, T. (1999) ‘Fortified Enclaves: the New Urban Segregation’, in J. Holston (ed.) Cities and Citizenship, 114-138. Durham and London: Duke University Press. [25 pp]
Gilbert, A. (2015) ‘Urban governance in the South: How did Bogotá lose its shine?’, Urban Studies 52(4): 665-684. [20 pp]
Goldstein, D. (2004) Chapter 2 ‘Urbanism, Modernity, and Migration in Cochabamba’, The Spectacular City: Violence and Performance in Urban Bolivia, pp. 53-89. Durham: Duke University Press. [37 pp]
Griffin, E. & L. Ford (1980) ‘A model of Latin American City Structure’, Geographical Review 70(4): 397-422. [26 pp]
Kent, R. (2006) Chapter 14 ‘Contemporary Cities and Urban Patterns’, Latin America: Regions and People, pp. 246-270. New York: The Guilford Press. [25 pp]
Klaufus, C., and R. Jaffe (2015) ‘Latin American and Caribbean Urban Development’, European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies 100: 63-72. [10 pp]
Lopez, S. (2015) Chapter 1 ‘The Remittance House’, The Remittance Landscape: Spaces of Migration in Rural Mexico and Urban USA, pp. 35-70. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. [36 pp]
Zeiderman, A. (2016) Endangered City: The Politics of Security and Risk in Bogotá. Durham and London: Duke University Press. [290 pp]

Registration and Participation

UvA Students
Students registered at the University of Amsterdam can register for the CEDLA courses through SIS.

Students registered at other Dutch universities
BA students that are registered at another Dutch university can register as a guest student Spanish Language and Culture (‘bijvakstudent Spaanse Taal en Cultuur’) at the University of Amsterdam in Studielink.

MA students that are registered at another Dutch university can register through our digital registration form.

Persons who are interested in our courses, but are not registered as students at a university, may participate in some courses under certain provisions. Those interested, should provide the secretariat with some information on their background, their background knowledge and their special interest in taking the course. Non-students can register for the courses through our digital registration form

The cost of a CEDLA Bachelor course is €40.00 per credit, the Master courses cost €60.00 per credit. The amount due should be transferred to IBAN number NL51INGB0004990722, and made payable to Centrum voor studie en documentatie van Latijns Amerika, Amsterdam. Please make sure you also give your name and the title of the selected course with your payment transfer.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact the CEDLA secretariat. We are open on weekdays from 9.00 to 17.00 hours.

Telephone: +31 20 525 3498

Picture: Nacho Pintos (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0); David Brickman (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)