Universität Wien

124265 KO Critical Media Analysis (2021W)

Big City Life - Urban Spaces and the Media from A to Z

6.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 12 - Anglistik
Continuous assessment of course work


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 26 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

NB: The first session will take place on-site instead of online! Helene-Richter-Saal is the former Unterrichtsraum located on the ground floor of the Department of English and American Studies.

Tuesday 05.10. 18:15 - 19:45 Helene-Richter-Saal UniCampus Hof 8 3G-EG-21
Tuesday 12.10. 18:15 - 19:45 Digital
Tuesday 19.10. 18:15 - 19:45 Digital
Tuesday 09.11. 18:15 - 19:45 Digital
Tuesday 16.11. 18:15 - 19:45 Digital
Tuesday 23.11. 18:15 - 19:45 Digital
Tuesday 30.11. 18:15 - 19:45 Digital
Tuesday 07.12. 18:15 - 19:45 Digital
Tuesday 14.12. 18:15 - 19:45 Digital
Tuesday 11.01. 18:15 - 19:45 Digital
Tuesday 18.01. 18:15 - 19:45 Digital
Tuesday 25.01. 18:15 - 19:45 Digital


Aims, contents and method of the course

Big City Life will explore selected aspects of contemporary media and/in the city. The focus of the course is on moments of conflict and resistance concerning the use and ownership of (public) urban space. The guiding questions for this term are 1) how is the ‘correct’ use of urban spaces negotiated in the media, particularly online and social media, and 2) who can claim space in urban settings to represent or draw attention to something, whether it is a product on a billboard, a sculpture in park or a political statement on a wall? Whose needs and identities are visible, whose are made invisible or not considered in the first place? Depending on the students’ interests, the course might, for example, deal with hostile architecture, feminist urban and public art, wildlife photography in the city, and alternative mobilities.

This course is for students who ...
... take an interest in urban imaginaries, gendered/racialized/classed spaces, reappropriating and (re-)claiming urban spaces, and street/urban art.
... would like to know more about discussions and controversies surrounding the use of urban sites and the way they are presented online.
... enjoy thinking about the impact the built environment has on our everyday life.

The main methods are in-class discussions (primarily based on readings, written assignments and research tasks) in which important concepts are clarified and applied to cultural texts. At the end of the term, students will hand in a portfolio containing the texts they produced throughout the semester, a course reflection, a (collaborative) creative task and a mini case study on a cultural artefact/space of their choice.
After completing this course, students will be able to discuss the city-countryside/public-private dichotomy and apply their knowledge of important spatial/cultural theories and methods to critically analyze representations in and of urban spaces.

Assessment and permitted materials

participation (written and oral contributions, including short presentations), take-home essay, glossary entry on a key term discussed in the course, portfolio handed in at the end of the term

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

40 points ... portfolio
24 points ... participation
24 points ... open-book exam/take-home essay
12 points ... glossary entry

Students can earn up to 100 points. For a passing grade, all assignments need to be handed in and the student has to earn at least 60 points.

90 - 100 ... 1
80 - 89 ... 2
70 - 79 ... 3
60 - 69 ... 4
< 60 ... 5

Examination topics

Readings and materials provided on Moodle, in-class discussions and presentations

Reading list

Provided on Moodle. If you would like to prepare for the course, you could revisit your Cultural Studies 101 materials and familiarize yourself with the basics. You could also have a look at some of the following texts and websites:

99% Invisible. https://99percentinvisible.org
Beebeejaun, Yasminah. "Gender, urban space, and the right to everyday life." Journal of Urban Affairs 39.3 (2017): 323-334. https://doi.org/10.1080/07352166.2016.1255526
de Certeau, Michel. The Practice of Everyday Life. 1980/84.
Jacobs, Jane. The Death and Life of Great American Cities. 1961.
Serres, Michel. Malfeasance: Appropriation Through Pollution? 2008/2011.
Schindler, Sarah. "Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation Through Physical Design of the Built Environment." 124 Yale L.J. (2015). https://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/ylj/vol124/iss6/2
Williams, Raymond. The Country and the City. 1973.

Association in the course directory

Studium: BA 612, BEd 046/407
Code/Modul: BA07.3; BEd 08a.2, BEd 08b.1
Lehrinhalt: 12-4260

Last modified: Fr 12.05.2023 00:16