Thanks to everyone who made suggestion about my proposed syllabus. I found them all helpful. Yes, Nature’s Metropolis made it in (with three recommendations, how could I resist?). However, I have to thank Alan Baumler for mentioning Pommeranz–it was a book that I had read and enjoyed years ago.

Anyway, here is how the readings stand now. I added sections relevant to migration and urban interaction. I expect to make changes in the future, and will keep an updated syllabus somewhere on the sidebar.

The City from Tradition to Modernity

  • Mark Mazower, Salonica, City of Ghosts: Christians, Muslims and Jews, 1430-1950
  • Kevin Lynch, The Image of the City
  • Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (film)

Fate of the Village

  • Kenneth Pommeranz, The Making of a Hinterland: State, Society and Economy in Inland North China, 1852-1937
  • Jean Giono, Harvest (aka Second Harvest)
  • Marc Bloch, French Rural Society
  • Raymond Williams, The Country and the City

Taking Control of Nature

  • Charles Mann, 1491: New Revelations about the Americas before Columbus
  • David Blackbourn, The Conquest of Nature: Water, Landscape and the Making of Modern Germany
  • Jared Orsi, Hazardous Metropolis: Flooding and Urban Ecology in Los Angeles

Theories of Space

  • Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space
  • Paul Virilio, Negative Horizon
  • Paul Rabinow, French Modern: Norms and Forms of Social Environment


  • Ann Whitson Spirn, The Language of Landscape
  • Renzo Dubbini, Geography of the Gaze
  • Denis Cosgrove, Social Transformation and the Symbolic Landscape


  • William Cronon, Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West
  • Jan De Vries, European Urbanization
  • Jane Jacobs, Cities and the Wealth of Nations: Principles of Economic Life
  • Shri 420 (film)


  • J.R. McNeill, Something New under the Sun: An Environmental History of the Twentieth Century World
  • Martin Rudwick, Bursting the Limits of Time: Reconstruction of Geohistory in the Age of Revolution

Borders and Border Crossings

  • Leslie Page Moch, Moving Europeans: Migration in Western Europe since 1650
  • Emile Zola, La Bête Humaine
  • Paula Robert, La Gran Línea: Mapping the United States-Mexico Boundary, 1849-1857
  • Robert Davidson, “Spaces of Immigration ‘Prevention’: Interdiction and the Non-Place”, Diacritics (2003)

Industry and Environment

    Marc Cioc, The Rhine: An Eco-Biography, 1815-2000

  • Joel Tarr, The Search for the Ultimate Sink: Urban Pollution in Historical Perspective
  • George Orwell, Road to Wiggan Pier

Preservation and Conservation

  • Maiken Umbach and Bernd Huppauf, Vernacular Modernism: Heimat, Globalization and the Built Environment
  • Michael J. Lewis, The Politics of the German Gothic Revival
  • Gregg Mitman, The State of Nature

Memory and Place

  • Orhan Pamuk, Istanbul
  • George Mosse, Fallen Soldiers
  • Sunil Kumar, The Present in Delhi’s Pasts

Transacted Space

  • Doreen Massey, Space, Place and Gender
  • David Harvey, The Urbanization of Capital
  • Matt Houlbrook, Queer London: Perils and Pleasures in the Sexual Metropolis, 1918–1957

Space and the European Union

  • Andreas Faludi, Making the European Spatial Development Perspective
  • Secondary Reading: none