Third Essay: Do the Right Thing analysis. (Due: April 9.) Following our screening and discussion of Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, think about the themes and events from the film in relation to readings from week 9. Provide an analysis of the film in 2-4 pages. In your paper, be sure to reference key ideas from at least one of the readings from week 9. Feel free to draw from other readings and discussions from the course. Also, use specific examples from the film in your discussion. We will talk more about this assignment in class.

Step II/Final Project: Annotated Bibliography. (Due: April 16.) List all the sources you have identified thus far in developing your final project and annotate the most important five. The annotation should consist of a few sentences (a solid paragraph) that summarize the key ideas discussed in the source and how this source is relevant for your project. Your bibliography can include articles, books, films, talks/lectures, exhibitions, and so forth. That said, at least five of your sources (although I suggest even more) should be scholarly. Your bibliography should include sources from the course as well as outside sources. This document should ‘place’ your work in various conversations and debates in the field of urban sociology.

Step I/Final Project: Proposal. (Due: Tuesday, April 2, or earlier if you would like comments and feedback prior to spring break)

We will discuss this more thoroughly in class. In the meantime, start thinking about an urban phenomenon that you might want to investigate using a sociological approach. In your notebook, jot down ideas as you think of them then use this list to develop a topic and approach.

Include the following in your proposal:

  • a descriptive title;
  • a thesis statement and/or research questions (A thesis statement is generally longer than a single sentence. Clearly state your argument and then ‘unpack’ this argument in a short, supporting paragraph. If using research questions, use a similar structure. Pose an overarching question followed by a series of more detailed questions that will assist in answering the larger question.);
  • five keywords (These terms should indicate—at a glance—the subjects addressed in your project);
  • a theoretical overview (This must include material from course readings, discussions and other course material.); and
  • a clear statement of your methodology and the form the project will take (Explain how you will approach the analysis and what form this will take. Will you write a paper? Will you create a book, website, an installation, a collection or some other cultural/material artifact that is then explained with accompanying text? Explain the rationale for your choice of format and clearly outline what you will present to the class and submit as final work in the course.).

Your ideas will change and develop. It is expected that you will develop and alter the project as it progresses. You are only loosely bound by the proposal. Your proposal should show how you plan to critically approach and analyze the topic/phenomena under investigation. Be sure to include any illustrations, photos, storyboards, mock-ups–any visual, sound or other files that will illuminate the proposal. I have posted supplemental articles and book chapters on the course blog that might be helpful in developing your ideas.

Attached here is a document to help brainstorm how ideas from the course readings connect with your topic. Start filling this in and bring this document to class on Thursday, March 21.

Second Assignment: Making Contact (Due: Tuesday, March 5)

Both Jane Jacobs (in “The Uses of Sidewalks: Contact”) and Samuel Delany (in Times Square Red, Times Square Blue) formulate ideas about how certain forms of urban space influence and activate certain types of social relations.

In many ways, Jacobs and Delany share views about the built environment, urban planning, and how the development of space influences social relations in cities. Think about the key ideas in both Delany and Jacobs and discuss these in relation to one another. In developing your discussion, you may want to consider how each of these authors understands togetherness, anonymity, privacy, public space, the public character, contact, difference, talking to strangers, and larger issues of social justice that frame their arguments.

Write a short paper that illuminates key ideas from these texts while showing how the two texts are related.

Paper guidelines:

  • Write 2-3 pages. 10-12 point font, 1-inch margins.
  • Open your paper with a clear and strong thesis. Use the thesis statement to organize the paper. Support your thesis by developing an argument that relates to this main, organizing idea.
  • Reference and properly cite both the Jacobs reading and the Delany reading. Draw key ideas from these sources to give analytical depth to your argument.
  • Avoid use of the first person and opinion. Instead, build a strong argument that is supported with theories, concepts and concrete examples. Avoid being too general—your paper should present specific points and should clarify these points for your reader.

First Assignment: Mapping the City Experience (Due: Tuesday, February 19)

Read the Stanley Milgram essays distributed in class (“The Experience of Living in Cities” and “Psychological Maps of Paris,” written with Denise Jodelet).

Think about how we come to ‘know’ a city. Create a conceptual map of New York that best reflects the way you experience and understand the city.

Write 2-3 pages explaining your map—a guide for viewers. In the written portion, reflect on ideas from our course readings and discussions. Reference ideas from at least three texts we have covered in the course (this can include the Milgram readings).

Come prepared to present your map to the class.

Due: Thursday, February 21.

Grading Standards

A: These are exceptionally good papers that go above and beyond the expectations and requirements set forth in the assignment.  They demonstrate substantial effort and achievement in the areas of critical thinking and scholarship. They also demonstrate considerable interpretive connections between concrete ideas or textual moments, a high level of analysis, and flexibility of argument.  The argument or point of view that is offered is consistent throughout the paper, and governs the use and interpretation of all examples, and primary and/or secondary source material.  “A” papers are very well organized, and are free of grammatical and editorial errors.

B/B+: These are very good papers. The “B/B+” paper does everything a “C/C+” paper does, but offers a sustained and meaningful structure to a critical endeavor that is more complex than a paper at the “C/C+” level.  What also distinguishes a “B/B+” paper is the author’s ability to offer a unique insight, to ask questions of primary or secondary source material, and/or to set up a debate between texts or points of view.  The author’s point of view is clear and an argument is sustained fairly consistently throughout the paper.  “B/B+” papers are logically organized, and also respond to the assignment in thoughtful and distinctive ways.  Although minor grammatical and editorial errors may be present, they are under control and do not impede meaning or clarity in the paper.

C/C+: These are average papers.  They will demonstrate some success in engaging with the assigned readings or material.  The paper will show that the student can identify and work with key terms and passages in a text and apply them to ideas and examples found in other texts, or other outside material.  Additionally, the paper will demonstrate effort in the areas of analysis and critical thinking by posing an interesting problem or question.  Typical of a “C/C+” paper, however, is that the original problem or question, once asked, does not move the paper forward.  Often, there is no real solution given, or there is a variety of possible solutions put forward without a clear sense of where the author’s commitment lies. “C/C+” papers may also have significant organizational, grammatical and/or editorial errors in evidence.  These errors may periodically impede the reader’s ability to understand the author’s point, or may lead to a paper that seems repetitive or circular.

D: The paper adheres to all of the general guidelines of formatting, page-length, and the minimum terms of the assignment.  Written work receiving a “D” grade may be a simple restatement of fact or commonly held opinion.  These kinds of papers also will tend to put forward obviously contradictory or conflicting points of view.  “D” papers may also have serious organizational and grammatical errors in evidence, which may or may not impede the reader’s ability to understand the author’s point.

F: The work submitted by the student fails to meet the minimum expectations and requirements of the assignment and does not merit credit.

Academic Honesty and Integrity. Compromising your academic integrity may lead to serious consequences, including (but not limited to) one or more of the following: failure of the assignment, failure of the course, academic warning, disciplinary probation, suspension from the university, or dismissal from the university.

University Policy: The New School views “academic honesty and integrity” as the duty of every member of an academic community to claim authorship for his or her own work and only for that work, and to recognize the contributions of others accurately and completely. This obligation is fundamental to the integrity of intellectual debate, and creative and academic pursuits. Academic honesty and integrity includes accurate use of quotations, as well as appropriate and explicit citation of sources in instances of paraphrasing and describing ideas, or reporting on research findings or any aspect of the work of others (including that of faculty members and other students). Academic dishonesty results from infractions of this “accurate use”. The standards of academichonesty and integrity, and citation of sources, apply to all forms of academic work, including submissions of drafts of final papers or projects. All members of the University community are expected to conduct themselves in accord with the standards of academic honesty and integrity.

Students are responsible for understanding the University’s policy on academic honesty and integrity and must make use of proper citations of sources for writing papers, creating, presenting, and performing their work, taking examinations, and doing research. It is the responsibility of students to learn the procedures specific to their discipline for correctly and appropriately differentiating their own work from that of others. Individual divisions/programs may require their students to sign an Academic Integrity Statement declaring that they understand and agree to comply with this policy.

The New School recognizes that the different nature of work across the schools of the University may require different procedures for citing sources and referring to the work of others.  Particular academic procedures, however, are based in universal principles valid in all schools of The New School and institutions of higher education in general.  This policy is not intended to interfere with the exercise of academic freedom and artistic expression. Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to:

  • cheating on examinations, either by copying another student’s work or by utilizing unauthorized materials
  • using work of others as one’s own original work and submitting such work to the university or to scholarly journals, magazines, or similar publications
  • submission of another students’ work obtained by theft or purchase as one’s own original work
  • submission of work downloaded from paid or unpaid sources on the internet as one’s own original work, or including the information in a submitted work without proper citation
  • submitting the same work for more than one course without the knowledge and explicit approval of all of the faculty members involved
  • destruction or defacement of the work of others
  • aiding or abetting any act of academic dishonesty
  • any attempt to gain academic advantage by presenting misleading information, making deceptive statements or falsifying documents, including documents related to internships
  • engaging in other forms of academic misconduct that violate principles of integrity.

(This is an abridged version of the policy. For the full policy text, visit:


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