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 explore, access, and find new connections within the concrete jungle of the metropolis. 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'll spend the semester tracing the crises of (im)mobility that mark the histories of New York City and Los Angeles, as well as exploring the possibilities for place-making forged by marginalized communities in these two U.S. urban centers.