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A Yemeni supporter of the Houthi movement carries a boy on his shoulders during a rally in Sana'a, Yemen. Copyright US News.

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Spring 2020: International Cities Divided


UPP 178 / POLI SCI 157B / SOC 176
Bollens, S. 

This course explores urban divisions and conflicts in international cities where nationalistic ethnic differences are deep seated and can facilitate violence. In these cities and societies, ethnic identity and nationalism combine to create pressures for group rights, autonomy, or even territorial separation. Nationalist projects—often exclusionary and assertive—are projected onto urban spaces of multiple and often intertwining cultures. Polarized cities are where two or more ethnically-conscious groups—divided by religion, language, and/or  culture and perceived history—coexist in a situation where neither group is willing to concede supremacy to the other. In these cities, there is an absence of trust across the ethnic divide. Whereas in most cities there is a belief maintained by different groups that the existing system of governance is capable of producing fair outcomes, assuming adequate political participation and representation of minority interests, governance amidst severe and unresolved multicultural differences in polarized cities is viewed by at least one identifiable group in the city as artificial, imposed, or illegitimate.