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East Central European Cities in Comparative Perspective
CEUS-R 547
Lynn Hooker

This course uses readings from cultural history and urban sociology, literature, film, and the arts to shed light on the East-Central European urban experience from the early nineteenth century to the present. Cities in this region share a common experience of transformation of urban space from modernization in the late nineteenth century (mostly under foreign rule), independence and further development between the wars, rebuilding and expansion under state socialism and Soviet hegemony after WWII and new kinds of rebuilding and expansion since 1989. Though the nations in this region have frequently thought of themselves as emerging from rural “peasant” cultures, that identity is usually defined from cities – whether through government, the social sciences, or the arts. The language of course readings will be English, although those with other language skills will be encouraged to explore sources in their original language.

Textbooks: There is no single textbook for this course.  Readings taken from a variety of sources are on reserve in the main library or electronically.  Three books from which we will be drawing extensively are available for purchase at the IU Bookstore:


Borden, Iain, Tim Hall, & Malcolm Miles, eds. The City Cultures Reader, 2nd ed. London and New York: Routledge, 2003.
Hanák, Péter.  The Garden and the Workshop: Essays on the Cultural History of Vienna and Budapest.  Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1998.
Bodnár, Judit.  Fin de millénaire Budapest: Metamorphoses of Urban Life.  Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001.
These books should also be available through web sellers of new and used books (, Alibris, etc.).

Course requirements

Participation (20%):  Attendance and active participation are expected of all students.  Please let the instructor know in advance if you must miss class. Be prepared to discuss the assigned readings on the day listed in the syllabus. You may want to bring in a summary of what you think are the main points as well as some quotes that support those points. In several class sessions students will be assigned to lead discussion on a particular reading selection.
Group presentation on city history (10%): pairs of students will give a ~10 minute oral presentation on the development of a city in this region to c. 1870. They will also submit electronic versions of visual aids – maps and/or other images with appropriate captions and sources (using Chicago Manual of Style/Turabian note format) – to the instructor to be posted in OnCourse.
Book review/presentation (15%): Students will submit a book review of 4-5 pages on a book summarizing the salient points of the readings, critiquing the authors’ arguments and methodologies, and comparing and contrasting what the two selections have to say.  You will then present your review to the class (5-7 minutes maximum) relating your book to issues of the course as a whole.  Topics will be selected in consultation with the instructor during the second week of class. Your reviews should be submitted electronically to the OnCourse dropbox provided for this purpose.
You should approach this assignment in part as a study aid for your classmates or as preparation for your research project. Reviews may be posted online in OnCourse for the use of the class.
Précis/annotated bibliography (10%): You will submit a précis on your paper topic (see below) – 750-1000 words describing the scope and preliminary thesis of your project – along with a working bibliography listing at least four sources in the form specified by the MLA or Chicago Manual of Style. Those sources should include at least:
- (for graduate students) two books and three journal articles or essays from edited collections

You should submit your précis electronically, to the OnCourse dropbox provided for this purpose.

Paper (25%):
(For graduate students) Research a problem related to one or more cities in this region, chosen in consultation with the instructor. Papers should be 10-12 pages in length with 1-inch margins, Times New Roman 12 point font.

Quizzes (10 % each): Two quizzes, identification and short-answer.

Graduate students may substitute a second book review and presentation for the second quiz.