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In this class we will explore the city as it exists, thrives, and sometimes dies in words. But this class wants to take a different approach to this old but seemingly inexhaustible subject: writing about the city. We’ll closely examine three things: the philosophy of urban action (the strange case of Bogota, Colombia), the biology of the city (the body in urban space and the nature of human sociality), and the art of psychogeography (feeling the city, remembering the city, and the city of our memories). After we examine these three things, we will begin writing experiments that utilize their key concepts. An approach that’s guided by the social philosophy of Antanas Mockus (the former Mayor of Bogota), the biological theories of Lynn Margulis and sociobiology, and Christian Nold’s Bio Mapping / Emotion Mapping, I believe, has the potential to produce a kind of writing that reveals new aspects and ways of experiencing the city of our moment. Nothing will be difficult or inaccessible. Learning must be fun.
Charles Tonderai Mudede is a Zimbabwean-born writer, filmmaker, and cultural critic. He writes about film, books, music, crime, art, economics, and urban theory for The Stranger. Mudede has made three films, two of which, Police Beat and Zoo, premiered at Sundance, and one, Zoo, was screened at Cannes. Mudede has written for the New York Times, Arcade Journal, Cinema Scope, Ars Electronica, The Village Voice, Radical Urban Theory, and C Theory. Mudede is also on the editorial board for the Black Scholar, which is based at the University of Washington, and between 1999 and 2005, lectured on post-colonial theory at Pacific Lutheran University, and in 2003 published a short book, Last Seen, with Diana George. Mudede has lived in Seattle since 1989.