Colonial Cities in the Americas

Apr 2018

A new course for this semester, Colonial Cities has absolutely blown me away. It is taught by two professors who are adorably married. Professor Pizzigoni is a Latin American history scholar, while Professor Baics is an urban studies scholar. I have thoroughly enjoyed how their two minds combine, in a form greater than their sum, to provide us with an interdisciplinary perspective of how the colonial urban form has developed and differed across civilizations. The class progresses chronologically, beginning with the Maya and transitioning towards medieval European, Aztec, and Incan societies. We study how cities form in North America, analyzing the differences between Spanish, British, and French development, and South America, again seeing how different cultural, economic, and political systems between the Spanish, Portuguese, and other colonial powers defines how a city forms. Both professors are brilliant scholars and lecturers. I have been so impressed with how every lovely nugget of knowledge which leaves their beautiful minds ties back to the larger themes of the course. I am...almost inspired (?) by their lectures. I'll find that my notebook lay blank because I have become so enraptured with what they have to say. As I mentioned earlier, they are also so cute - they'll each take notes on the other's lecture + will smile whenever an interesting point is made. The class is worth it just for that. I have found both to be incredibly approachable during, after, and outside class. Take advantage of this approachability when you inevitably take this class and fall in love with them. Half the class has already taken a course with one of them (either Caterina's Latin American Civ or one of Gergely's urban studies courses), which is a strong signal that they've got a bit of a (well-deserved) cult going.