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Во ВШЕКе пройдет курс профессора М. Лекке (RUB) "Metropolis! Modern Cities in Theory and Cultural Practice"

Кадр из фильма "Метрополис" (1927) Фрица Ланга

Проф. Мирья Лекке (Ruhr-Universität, Bochum)

Metropolis! Большой современный город в теории и литературно-культурной практике

Metropolis! Modern Cities in Theory and Cultural Practice

The seminar will be given in English and Russian

Place and time: RGGU Moscow, 26-27.02 (17.30 – 20.40, room 522), 02.03 (17.30 – 20.40), 03.03 (12.00 – 15.35), 06.04 (17.30 – 20.40), 07.04 (12.00 – 15.35); room 157.


Philosophers, artists, cultural theorists, writers, sociologists, they all have thought intensively about the city as spatially organized social experience and the impact the rapid urbanization in modern times has had on human existence. In the first block of the seminar we will acquire an overview of important theoretical writing about cities, beginning with Plato, we will then concentrate on „classical“ early 20th century city theory, and move on in time up to postmodernist approaches. Afterwards we will look comparatively at a variety of case studies within the realm of Russian and other European cultures (particularly Moscow and Berlin, comparatively), discussing possible subjects for student’s works. For this purpose we will also plan excursions and theoretically informed little experiments in Moscow’s city space that intend to make participants sensitive to cultural processes in contemporary Russia (first ideas: city and cinema, Metro and other transportation, gentrification, ethnic spaces in the city, commercialization of space, leisure in the city, virtual reality and the city, etc.).

Topics for student’s presentations / works:

City in literature, cinema, video games, graphic novels; leisure in the city, nature in the city, transportation and ideology, city planning and cultural agency; gentrification, migrants and their presence / experience in city space, streets as stages; „Western“ spaces, comparative approaches: what does the ideal home look like?, city and virtual / augmented reality, suburbia, city as utopic space, city as memory landscape; Moscow’s cityscape as space for protests, 1960s until today; living in the Soviet Union, private apartments and modernization of family life, postsoviet living; comparative approach to Berlin and Moscow.

Seminar plan:

Feb. 26, 27 2017

1. Session

introduction of people and topics


impulse and analysis of a piece of art (Fritz Lang’s Metropolis)

And / or Wim Wenders Der Himmel über Berlin (Wings of Desire 1987)

Simmel: City and intellectual life 1903

Lefebvre’s production of space



additional suggested reading Trubina p.41-82

show around for potential topics of students’ presentation : Kino stolica (Kostiukov 2016)

2. Session

Globalization, cosmopolitanism, nationalism in cities, ethnic coexistence

mandatory reading: „post-cosmopolitan cities“ introduction

additional reading: Broad is my native land, p. 146-154

Inside and out, the Street

mandatory reading: Walter Benjamin’s Flaneur

additional reading: Sasha Bikbov’s text about Moscow and Paris in comparison


Trubina, p. 403-440

March 2

Thematic blocks (alternatives to choose from)

1. private and public spaces in the city

Benjamin's Passagen and the elimination of the differentiation between inside and outside. Roles of inside and outside in urban space, particular examples in Moscow.

Living and private space in earlier days and today, Soviet living conditions (Chrushchevka), contemporary notions of good living (in comparative perspective)

2. Moscow as space for public protests (historical dimension, protests of dissidents, 1991, 2011-12)

3. Living in the city as topic in literature and arts

March 3, 2018

Andrej Pavlov

City and big data

Ksenia Eltsova

Urban spaces of social distinction and media

Zukin „the culture of cities

afterwards: Excursion through Moscow cityscape / sel ect sites of post-Soviet urban reconstruction

more topics to discuss:

City perception and transportation

automobiles Latham evtl. 2004

Post-socialist cities

Chapter from Czepczynski 2008, pp. 109-147

tourism in metropolises

literature: John Urry The Tourist Gaze, introduction 

City and social control / streetwalking and rhetorics / reading the city fr om above: Michel de Certeau

Material Berlin:


Good bye, Lenin

In Zeiten des abnehmenden Lichts (novel by Eugen Ruge, film 2017)


April 6-7, 2018

Presentations of students' case studies or own research projects

The syllabus (with literature)

Библиотека курса (тексты будут добавлены)

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Дата создания: 06.02.2018 12:52:14

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