The Arts of Urban Transition

This interdisciplinary course uses texts and methods from history, theatre, and dance to examine artists and works of art as agents of change in New York (1960-present) and contemporary Detroit. Issues include relationships between artists, changing urban economies, and the built environment; gentrification and creative placemaking; local history in art interventions; and impacts of urban arts initiatives. A fall break studio trip to Detroit, and visits to archives and sites in New York, are included. Students will use data and methods from the course to produce final creative projects.

Sample reading list:
Richard Lloyd, Neo-Bohemia: Art and Commerce in the Postindustrial City
Richard Florida, The Rise of the Creative Class
Elizabeth Currid, The Warhold Economy, How Fasion, Art, and Music Drive NYC
Thomas J. Sugrue, The Origins of the Urban Crisis
Claire Bishop, Installation Art
Tim Edensor, Industrial Ruins: Space, Aethetics and Materiality

Reading/Writing assignments:
Probes: 2 short papers or performances on specific texts, art works, dances or other materials from class. Audio Walking Tour: 5-10 minute text, recorded as audio to be listened to on a walk through an urban setting. Grant Proposal: create proposal for an artistic intervention that addresses the politics, culture, history or future of post-war Detroit. Final project: an ethnographic performance derived from our work in class, created with 1-2 collaborators, and running 10-15 minutes.

Other Requirements:
United States travel required


Headshot of Aaron Shkuda

Aaron Shkuda

Program Manager, Princeton-Mellon Initiative in Architecture; Lecturer in Architecture



Fridays, 1:30 - 4:20 p.m.
185 Nassau St., Rm. 207