Unknown artists, “Care” (2011), Detroit

Care of the City: Theory and Practice

What does it mean to say that a city can die? Like a body, when everything in a city is running well we can take it for granted, and put our attention elsewhere. But when dysfunction in a city becomes chronic, when a city becomes no longer familiar or readily habitable, we suddenly begin to pay attention to its needs. Yet what does is mean, really, to “care” for a city? And how can we do it together? 

Care of the City: Theory and Practice explores new ways of thinking about the philosophy and poetics of the late-modern city by considering what an “ethics of care” toward the city might be. Such an approach to personal, social, moral, and political life starts from the idea that all human beings need care, receive care, and give care to others. From this point of view, caring is a large part of what make us human. As the city needs us, we need each other. In this course, we’ll read Joan Tronto’s Moral Boundaries (1994) and consider its premise that an ethic of care implies a politics of care. Through the consideration of a fascinating film Finally Got The News (1970), a documentary about the activities of the League of Revolutionary Black Workers (LRBW) inside and outside the auto factories of Detroit, we will think through the political claims made in the film within the framework of a politics of care.

The class will finish with a visit outside class time to the renowned outdoor art installation The Heidelberg Project and historic Elmwood Cemetery on a day to be agreed.

Course Schedule

Thursday, 6:30-9:30pm
July 06 — July 27, 2017
4 weeks