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The City in History

Seminar Leader:
Howard Spodek


What functions have cities provided—and for whose bene-fit? How and why did they flourish (and sometimes decline and even vanish)? What did they look like—from earliest times to today? This seminar examined cities as they grow out of even earlier village settlements in the Fertile Crescent in the Eastern Mediterranean; the Yellow River Valley of China; the Indus River Valley in India/Pakistan; the Valley of Mexico; the Andes Mountains; and the Niger River Valley. It will go on to ancient Rome and Greece as well as medieval Europe; the industrial city; dual cities of European (and Chi-nese) colonization; post-colonial urbanization; and a variety of forms of urbanization in today’s “developed” and “devel-oping” worlds. The seminar included extensive audio-visual materials on world urbanization and field trips in Philadel-phia.

Unit TitleAuthor


A History of Philadelphia: Redlining and the Founding Ideals of Democracy

Alexander de Arana
Keywords: democracy, History, Philadelphia, social science

Planting the Seeds of Responsibility and Growing Citizens

Alima McKnight
Keywords: African Americans, change, citizen, citizenship, Government, rights, society, voting

Philadelphia’s Population Change: Using Data Visualization to Understand a Historical Narrative

Andrew Guyon
Keywords: Data visualization, historical narrative, mathematics lesson, Philadelphia history, quantitative data

Exploring Community Local and Global though Primary Documents and Artifacts: Where do I Stand and What Can I Learn from the Past?

Alla Dolderer
Keywords: artifacts, ESL, local community, low proficiency ESL, Philadelphia history, primary documents

Establishing Inclusion and Belonging in a Globalized City

Amanda Fiegel
Keywords: belonging, brain drain, brain waste, care drain, city space, Culture, discrimination, globalization, Identity, immigration, Marxism, public and private spheres, push and pull factors, Social Identity Theory, spatial immobility, structural violence and, xenophobia

Heritage or Renewal: The Impacts of Gentrification

Matthew Menschner
Keywords: gentrification, heritage, local history, Philadelphia Neighborhoods

Studying Mexico City Through Many Layers

Meghan Agnew
Keywords: city systems, Mexico city, Mexico history

Ciudades mexicanas en el pasado y el presente (Mexican Cities in the Past and Present)

Sean Carr
Keywords: colonial Mexico, Mexican cities, Mexican culture, modern MExico, Spanish 2

The City In History: Mastering Essential Research Skills

William Otto
Keywords: computer research, computer science, research skills