Engaging the City: The Material World of Modern Segregation

Engaging the City: The Material World of Modern Segregation (AMCS L98 3190)
SP17 (Heidi Kolk and Iver Bernstein)

Busch Stadium. The Intersection of Skinker and Forest Park Parkway, in front of Kayak’s. The Ferguson Quik-Trip.The MUNY in Forest Park.The ruins of a Trolley Barn in Wellston.The Metrolink Stop at the Galleria. An Empty Lot in East St. Louis where a theater was burned a hundred years ago. The Swipe-Card Access Panel on Your Dormitory. This course will invite students to engage such sites–and many others–as points of departure for an exploration of how we as St. Louisans live our racialized lives. We will focus on places where racialized experience is at once densely concentrated and not fully revealed––hiding in plain sight.For instance, the daily encounters in front of Kayak’s take on deeper significance when one considers that this site is the fraught boundary between St. Louis County and St. Louis City in a racialized break dating back to the end of Reconstruction.The course gives special attention to the deep structures of history, law, culture and politics that an intensive engagement with such sites makes accessible. But we are not only interested in the lessons of history: we seek to learn from from direct encounters with the physical sites and their local contexts.We will take a number of trips to sites in the St. Louis region, including a class walk/bicycle trip across Eads Bridge. Readings will include materials on racialized urban experience and more specific texts related to course sites, and will include visual and material culture.Students will develop individual projects on their own sites under instructors’ supervision, and will participate in an April 2017 symposium with WUSTL and other faculty who are also engaged in site-specific research on segregation, some of whom will serve as guest contributors for our class sessions. The course aspires to discover and cultivate new ways of seeing and understanding.