RBST 4400 Tribal New Orleans

This seminar course will introduce students not only to the urban history of New Orleans, but also to current theoretical perspectives on the writing (construction) of the histories of cities. New Orleans will be studied from the earliest European settlements in the metropolitan area (Bayou St. John and Bayou Gentilly), to the challenges of the present, highlighting topographical, economic, and social factors in the citys growth. Our broad interest will be the citys evolving urban form and its architectural dimensions, focusing on the distinct ways in which the city has provided an arena for constructing what some urban theorists have described as tribal identities through the shaping of the urban fabric. We will examine, therefore, the settlement patterns and built environments of French, Spanish, American, African American, Irish, German, Guatemalan, Vietnamese, and other residents in order to reflect upon social spatialization in the city and upon the city as a representation of the ever-changing society that constructs it.