Global Cities

I started teaching a class at Temple University Japan called Global Cities this term. It is a General Education course that introduces students to contemporary aspects of urbanization around the world. A few thoughts on the class and teaching methods after the jump.

Kampala, Uganda

Given that is the first time I am running this class, I have stuck quite carefully to the syllabus used at Temple’s main campus in the US. There, the course takes a regional approach, following the Cities of the World textbook that is widely used across undergraduate and graduate classes in this area.

The order of regions we followed this time was North America, Europe, Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East, South Asia and East Asia, skipping Southeast Asia and the CIS. I would have liked to cover both, but time was / is running short.

We end the class with two Tokyo lectures, and had the pleasure of hosting a senior analyst from the Mori Memorial Foundation for a guest lecture on the organization’s Global Power City Index. The Tokyo classes will be a short summary of some of the lectures I give for my other, dedicated class on the Japanese capital, due for an overhaul next term.

This is a GenEd class, i.e. one normally taken by first-year students to orient themselves in academia and pick up some transferable skills. I therefore put some a little more focus than usual on presentation skills, essay planning, academic source research, case study selection as well as reading some non-academic literary non-fiction. The final essay also requires a first draft.

I look forward to the students’ feedback and to fine-tuning this approach with the next iteration of the class in 2019. I am not sure I will use the textbook in its entirety as this term, and will definitely add more external readings. I hope to share some snippets of the syllabus once complete.

I will also post a few items on this blog that delve a little deeper into the issues presented in class. These include some thoughts on the sub-Saharan Africa lecture and assignment, literary non-fiction from India and others.

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