Global Cities Local Cultures (GEM 3002M)

Semester II, 2001-2002

Lecturer: Associate Professor Rajeev Patke, Associate Professor John Philips, Assistant Professor Yeo Wei Wei, Department of English Language and Literature , National University of Singapore

Course Description and Objectives

The module offers an opportunity to study the dynamics of cultural production in the modern metropolis. It aims to provide the theoretical models and the analytic methods from which to understand this dynamics in terms of the interplay between the global and the local.

Topics for Study

The module provides a multi-disciplinary approach to a study of the relations between culture and the metropolis from the following perspectives:

  1. The history and politics of urban development
  2. The relation of space to place in the modern city
  3. The metropolis as a locus for the intersection of modernity and modernism
  4. The economic bases of metropolitan patronage and arts management
  5. The work of the audience in an age of electronic media
  6. Ethnicity and Popular Culture
  7. Utopias, dystopias and Heterotopias
  8. Globalism, Regionalism and Neo-colonialism in Metropolitan culture
  9. The Infernal City
  10. Urban Sound: Jamaica

Modes of Teaching

The module is divided into two parts.
Part 1 will introduce models and methods applicable to the themes given above.
Part 2 will provide students with the opportunity to conduct practical research.

Each student (or group of students) will undertake two assignments:

Mode of Assessment

40% End of semester 2-hour examination on Part 1 of the module.
20% Assignment 1 (Approx. length: 1,200 words) Due wk 7 of semester.
40% Assignment 2 (Approx. length: 2,500 words) Due wk 12 of semester.

Primary Reading

  1. Zygmunt Bauman. Globalization: The Human Consequences. London: Polity Press; New York: Columbia University Press, 1998. ISBN 023111429X.
  2. Steve Pile and Nigel Thrift (eds.), city a-z. London and New York: Routledge, 2000. ISBN 0415207282.
  3. Alvin Pang & Aaron Lee (eds.), No other city : the Ethos anthology of urban poetry. Singapore: Ethos Books, 2000. ISBN 9810422768.
  4. Dante Alighieri. The Divine Comedy: Inferno. Trans. By C. S. Singleton. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1990. ISBN 0691018960.
  5. Course folder of xeroxed materials prepared by the lecturers, and a selection of music recordings and visual materials from Kingston, Jamaica.


Time: Wednesdays 10.00 am -10.50 am / 11.00 am -11.50 am
Venue: AS06/0323

Group 1: Wednesdays 12.00 noon - 12.50 pm AS05/02 Video Rm1
Group 2: Wednesdays 1.00 pm -1.50 pm AS05/02 Video Rm1
Group 3: Wednesdays 2.00 pm - 2.50 pm AS03/0325

Supplementary screenings: Time and venue to be announced later.

Teaching Schedule

Part I
Week Lecturer Topic
1 (Wed 9/1) A/P Rajeev S. Patke Introductory: Globalization, Urban Culture
2 A/P Rajeev S. Patke Case Study 1: Poetry & the metropolis: Singapore
3 A/P Rajeev S. Patke Case Study 1: Poetry & the metropolis: Singapore
    Tutorial 1: 1 group with each of the 3 lecturers
4 A/P John W. Phillips Case Study 2: Urban Sound Jamaica
    Tutorial 2: 1 group with each of the 3 lecturers
5 A/P John W. Phillips Case Study 2: Urban Sound Jamaica
    Tutorial 3: 1 group with each of the 3 lecturers
6 Dr Yeo Wei Wei Case Study 3: Dante & the infernal city
    Tutorial 4: 1 group with each of the 3 lecturers
7 Dr Yeo Wei Wei Case Study 3: Dante & the infernal city
    Tutorial 5: 1 group with each of the 3 lecturers
7 Each student will confirm a Project topic & be assigned to an individual lecturer for Project supervision.
one week mid-term recess
Part II
wks 8 to 13 Each lecturer will supervise Projects (in small groups): giving a total of 18 hours to each group within the 6 weeks (i.e. 3 hrs p. week) Students will work on their Projects

Supplementary Materials

The team of lecturers will provide opportunities for audio-visual supplements to their lectures and tutorials on a regular basis. These will comprise feature films based on the cultures of cities, samples of music, or other material such as reports of exhibitions, performances of plays, opera, etc.


Selective List of Books on Topics Covered by the Module

Mumford, Lewis. The City in History (1961).

Sharpe, William and Leonard Wallock, eds. Visions of the Modern City: Essays in History, Art, and Literature (1983).

Harvey, David. Consciousness and the Urban Experience: Studies in the History and Theory of Capitalist Urbanization (1985).

King, Anthony. Urbanism, Colonialism, and the World-Economy: Cultural and Spatial Dimensions of the World Urban System (1990).

Gottdiener, Mark. The Social Production of Urban Space (1994).

Geertz, Clifford. After the Fact: Two Countries, Four Decades, One Anthropologist (1995).
Forbes, Dean. Asian Metropolis (1996).

Jacobs, Jane M. Edge of Empire: Postcolonialism and the City (1996).

Lefebvre, Henri. Writings on Cities (1996)

Yeoh, Brenda S. Contesting Space: Power Relations and the Urban Built Environment in Colonial Singapore (1996).

Hibbert, Christopher. Cities and Civilizations (1996).

Heynen, Hilda. Architecture and Modernity: A Critique (1999).

Massey, Doreen, John Allen & Steve Pile (eds) City Worlds (1999).

Links to interesting materials on Globalization, Cities & Urban Cultures


Postcolonial Web Main Overview Postcolonial Discourse Overview Related Courses

Last Modified 15 February 2002