HMKK03207U Modern culture: Theoretical topic: Urban Culture and Cultural Theory

Volume 2016/2017

Modern Culture


How does a culture-theoretical approach to the city look when one is based in the humanities? Indeed, the humanities explore cities and interpret urban culture in ways which go beyond and even criticize those of traditional architecture, urban planning and other dominant discourses on the urban. In this course titled “Urban Culture & Cultural Theory”, we shall develop a new way of thinking the city as urbanity; we explore seminal texts from the tradition of 20th-century cultural theory and establish key concepts allowing us to understand and address cities as a complex socio-cultural and human phenomenon.


A variety of discourses may contribute to this project;  architectural, literary and artistic as well as sociological and philosophical issues will be discussed via readings of major texts by e.g. Roland Barthes, Steen Eiler Rasmussen, Jan Gehl, Henning Bech (on Copenhagen), Georges, Perec, Michel de Certeau, Sophie Calle (on Paris), Siegfried Kracauer and Walter Benjamin (on Berlin).


Copenhagen, Paris and Berlin provide major examples from the history of the European metropolis from 1850 to the present. In addition, various conceptual, writerly, artistic and bodily approaches to urban culture enable us to reflect upon the analytic and critical perspectives in cultural theory. Altogether, the basis for an interdisciplinary humanistic study of modern urbanity will stand out as a result of this course.


The course comprises a lecture and a seminar (in smaller groups) every week. The seminar hours provide special opportunities for student presentations which not only help you process the readings and the reflections but also make you generate materials for the exam at the end of the semester.




"The course, which is taught in English, features both one lecture and one seminar every week."
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam
  • 84
  • Lectures
  • 66
  • Preparation
  • 270
  • Total
  • 420
Type of assessment
All aids allowed
Censorship form
External censorship