Urban & Space Studies

From the discovery of the New World to the processes of colonization and decolonizations, or to the more recent “occupy” movements, space appears as a particular, unavoidable part of the real, which we constantly see and think we know. Space is generally understood as being produced and shaped by political forces, but also as being the site where these forces can be seen in their historical complexities.

The modern era has been characterized by the creation of urban centers, as spaces of intensive exchanges, which quickly became centers of cultural creation as well as crucial subjects of cultural reflection. Moreover, the complexity of connections among urban centers on a global scale has increased dramatically within the past two centuries. Aesthetic creations of all sorts, but particularly literary and new media realizations, are closely tied to perceptions and representations of space and to networked experience. What does it mean to live in a globally connected environment, in which communication can crisscross vast spaces in milliseconds? How can we think the persistance of non-global ways to produce space (from regionalism to localism) in a largely globalized world? How do we create the concepts to think space in the contemporary city? How can the past history of urban spaces guide us in our present encounters with post-modern spaces? How to represent space? How to give aesthetical shape to the classic, the modern, or the post-modern city?

Romance Studies faculty members explore these questions from a variety of perspective and through a plurality of cultural and aesthetical discourses, from the mapping of colonized territories to the capitalist production of the postmodern city, includind the formation of regional identities, questions of speed and of representation, in architecture, literature, film, maps and new media.