Literature American Cultures
Boroughs & Barrios: Moving in and through New York City and Los Angeles
Physically, New York and Los Angeles spread across the map and encompass multiple neighborhoods and communities, seemingly facilitating our ability to access, explore, and find new connections. Socially and economically, both cities have been figured as distinctly “American” dreamscapes—places of refuge and freedom, success, and self-invention—that hinge on the promise that the American city works like an open circuit, enabling unrestricted movement and mobility to and for everyone who visits or decides to make it home.
But who comes to the American city, and why? How do visitors, residents, and (im)migrants negotiate and move through “The Big Apple” and “The City of Angels,” reimagining urban life in the process? With these questions in mind, we will spend the semester tracing the crises of (im)mobility that mark the histories of these two U.S. urban centers, but also the possibilities for place-making that have been explored by marginalized communities in New York City and Los Angeles.