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Art and Politics in the City: New York and Buenos Aires

Semester and Year SP 2016
Course Number IDSEM-UG1810
Section 001
Instructor Alejandro Velasco, Florencia Malbran
Days R
Time 2:00 PM - 4:45 PM
12:00 AM - 12:00 AM
Units 4
Level U
Requirement   GLOBAL


This is a co-taught course. Students in New York and Buenos Aires meet simultaneously via video conference and work from the same syllabus. Before spring break Prof. Velasco will lead the Washington Square section in New York, and Prof. Malbran the Buenos Aires section in Argentina. After spring break, the instructors will switch locations, so students in both sites will have personal contact with Profs. Velasco and Malbran. No prior GIS experience is necessary. Students will receive training on mapping software and portable mapping devices, which will be provided. Due to enrollment limits, only students who intend to stay in the class are asked to register. Please direct any questions to Alejandro Velasco ( before registration.


Using advanced video-conferencing in both cities, this course brings together students in New York and Buenos Aires to examine how urban arts and politics intersect in the Americas: How are art and politics understood and expressed differently and similarly in these two American metropolises and why? How do shared aesthetic features of public art in the city reflect the global circulation of urban creative modes? What do we learn about local politics from looking at the art and writing on a city’s public spaces? Teams of students in both cities will conduct field work in key neighborhoods - among them Colegiales and San Telmo in Buenos Aires, and Chinatown and Bushwick in New York - to build upon an archive of murals, graffiti, performances, and installations begun in the spring of 2015 by students in this course. Then, drawing from readings in history, art criticism,and urban studies, as well as from census and electoral data and using GIS technology, we will analyze how social and political processes like gentrification, inequality, and planning generate and reflect creative political expression as captured in our database, culminating in transnational, collaborative projects that explore what the art and writing of city streets reveals about urban life in 21st century America.


All Syllabi

Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)