The past decades have witnessed an ever-growing interest in Urban Studies as an intrinsically interdisciplinary subject which has defined its methodology by having recourse to theories from other disciplines in an effort to construct a more comprehensive discourse on the city. In this light, space has been defined in close relationship with social, historical, anthropological, psychological, economic, cultural and political factors in an attempt to reconfigure cityscape by means of concepts like lieu, community, landscape, geography, region, location, habitat, etc. Highly sensitive to questions of cultural identity and production of space, the multifarious approaches to the city show the way in which various topographies articulate both the projection and transformation of cities into places of lived experience, industrialized urban spaces, imaginary lands and communities, landscapes of the mind, symbolic cities, sites of memory, places of individual and collective self-reflexivity, alienated and fragmented spaces, colonial and postcolonial geographies, technologized or post-human cityscapes. Embedded in the discourse of modernity, cityscape is investigated by crossing the boundaries of space and time in an attempt to understand the complex and interwoven urban processes that underlie Urban Studies as an eclectic discipline.

The course addresses the foregoing issues by providing students with various theoretical frameworks, conceptual tools, critical perspectives and, importantly enough, literary representations of the city (18th through to 21st century) meant to enable them to fathom and assess the complex and interwoven processes and challenges evinced by Urban Studies. 

Instructor: Dr Dragoş Ivana


Week 1: Framing the problem: towards a definition of Urban Studies

Readings: Alan Harding, Talja Blokland, “Urban Theory: A Critical Introduction to Power, Cities and Urbanism in the 21st Century”, Los Angeles, London: Sage, 2014, 1-22.

Week 2: Eighteenth-Century London; or, the rise of the modern metropolis (I): Epistemological implications.

Readings: Simon Varey, Space and the Eighteenth-Century English Novel, CUP, 1990; Chapter 2, 42-64.

Week 3: Eighteenth-Century London; or, the rise of the modern metropolis (II): Socio-historical and cultural implications.

Readings: Alison O’Byrne, “The Spectator and the Rise of the Modern Metropole”, in The City in Literature, ed. by Kevin McNamara, CUP, 2014, 57-68; Penelope Corfield, “Walking the City Streets: The Urban Odyssey in Eighteenth-Century England”. Journal of Urban History 16 (1990): 132-174.  

Week 4: Victorian London, or the modern city (I): industrialism, progress and the problem of the poor

Readings: Richard Dennis, Cities in Modernity: Representations and Productions of the Metropolitan Space, 1840-1930, CUP, 2008; Chapter2, 29-5; Bart Keunen, Luc de Droogh, “The Socioeconomic Outsider: Labor and the Poor’, in The City in Literature, ed. by Kevin McNamara, CUP, 2014, 99-113.

Week 5: Victorian London (II): urban landscapes

Readings: Michelle Allan, Cleansing the City: Sanitary Geographies in Victorian London, Athens, US: Ohio UP, 2007; Chapter 2, 54-85.

Week 6: Representations of the Modernist City

Readings: Arnold Weinstein, “Fragment and Form in the City of Modernism”, in The City in Literature,ed. by Kevin McNamara, CUP, 2014, 138-152; Nicholas Freeman, Conceiving the City: London, Literature, and Art, 1870-1914, Oxford UP, 2007; Introduction, 1-26. 

Week 7: London as a Metropolis – the relationship between the individual and the city

Readings: Virginia Woolf, “Portrait of a Londoner”, in The London Scene, published in The Guardian, 2004; Vicky Tromanhauser, “Virginia Woolf’s London and the Archaeology of Character”, in The Swarming Streets: Twentieth-Century Literary Representations of London, ed. by Lawrence Phillips, Amsterdam, NY: Rodopi, 2004, 33-43.

Week 8: The Rise of the Post-Metropolis

Readings: Edward Soja, Postmetropolis: Critical Studies of Cities and Regions, Oxford: Blackwell, 2000, Introduction to Part II, 147-155; Part II, Chapter 11, 323-348.

Week 9: The city as a lived/practised space and cultural site

Readings: Michel de Certeau, “Walking in the City”, in The Practice of Everyday Life, Trans. by Stephen Rendall, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984, 156-163; Malcolm Miles, Cities and Cultures, London and NY: Routledge, 2007; Chapter 4, 76-96.

Week 10: Reconfiguring Cityscape

Readings: Edward Soja, Postmetropolis: Critical Studies of Cities and Regions, Oxford: Blackwell, 2000, Part II, Chapter 8, 233-251.


  • A minimum of 50% attendance
  • Class participation and presentations (30%)
  • A 5-page essay on any issue related to representations of London (in literature, film, painting, critical/cultural theory, etc.), complying with MLA norms and anti-plagiarism policy (70%)