This Course at MIT

Course Overview

This page focuses on the course 4.663 History of Urban Form: Locating Capitalism: Producing Early Modern Cities and Objects as it was taught by Lauren Jacobi in Spring 2014.

This seminar-format class explores major topics and themes concerning interconnections between early modern artistic and architectural creation and the economy. Core course themes include: commodification, production, and consumption, using case studies of the impact of the mercantile economy on chapels; palaces; prints and paintings, and their replication; and other material objects, including coins.

Course Outcomes

Course Goals for Students

  • To address the manufacturing and object life-history of late medieval and Renaissance goods, especially art and architectural creations, with questions about the economy and its interpretation in mind
  • To discuss theories and notions of credit and debt in relation to cultural production
  • To engage in strong student-driven research projects
 

Curriculum Information

Prerequisites

Permission of the instructor

Requirements Satisfied

May be applied toward a PhD in History and Theory of Architecture or Art, but is not required.

Offered

Every other spring semester

The Classroom

  • Classroom with 14 red chairs arranged around tables in a rectangular position. A blackboard runs along wall. Floor to ceiling windows.

    Seminar

    Students attended seminars in a classroom containing movable furniture, a blackboard, and an LCD projector.

 

Assessment

The students' grades were based on the following activities:

The color used on the preceding chart which represents the percentage of the total grade contributed by response papers. 45% Three response papers
The color used on the preceding chart which represents the percentage of the total grade contributed by a final presentation. 15% Final presentation
The color used on the preceding chart which represents the percentage of the total grade contributed by a final paper. 25% Final paper
The color used on the preceding chart which represents the percentage of the total grade contributed by class participation and attendance. 15% Class participation and attendance
 

Instructor Insights on Assessment

Read Lauren Jacobi's thoughts on evaluating students.

Student Information

On average, 12 students take this course each time it is offered.

Breakdown by Year

Mostly doctoral candidates, with a few students seeking professional architecture or city planning degrees.

Breakdown by Major

Doctoral candidates are primarily from the History, Theory and Criticism Program in the Department of Architecture.

 

How Student Time Was Spent

During an average week, students were expected to spend 12 hours on the course, roughly divided as follows:

In Class/Lecture

3 hours per week
  • Each class revolved around a discussion of interpretive studies led by rotating student groups comprised of two discussion leaders and three panelists.
  • Panelists wrote critical synopses of the arguments of the assigned texts, while discussion leaders prepared questions for the panelists.
  • Discussion leaders summarized the discussions at the end of class sessions.
  • Each student delivered an oral presentation on the subject’s questions and themes during the final class meetings.
 

Out of Class

9 hours per week
  • Students read assigned texts, wrote response papers, and prepared for seminar discussions.
  • Students prepared final oral presentations and papers.
 

Semester Breakdown

WEEK M T W Th F
1 No classes throughout MIT. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. Office hours scheduled. No session scheduled.
2 Seminar scheduled. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. Office hours scheduled. No session scheduled.
3 No classes throughout MIT. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. Office hours scheduled. No session scheduled.
4 Seminar scheduled. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. Office hours scheduled. No session scheduled.
5 Class held at the Museum of Fine Arts. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. Office hours scheduled. No session scheduled.
6 Seminar scheduled. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. Office hours scheduled. No session scheduled.
7 Seminar scheduled. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. Office hours scheduled. No session scheduled.
8 No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT.
9 Seminar scheduled. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. Office hours scheduled. No session scheduled.
10 Seminar scheduled. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. Office hours scheduled. No session scheduled.
11 Seminar scheduled. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. Office hours scheduled. No session scheduled.
12 No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No session scheduled. Office hours scheduled. No session scheduled.
13 Student presentations scheduled. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. Office hours scheduled. No session scheduled.
14 Student presentations scheduled. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. Office hours scheduled. No session scheduled.
15 Seminar scheduled; final paper due. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. Office hours scheduled. No classes throughout MIT.
16 No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT.
Displays the color and pattern used on the preceding table to indicate dates when classes are not held at MIT. No classes throughout MIT
Displays the color used on the preceding table to indicate dates when seminars are held. Seminar
Displays the color used on the preceding table to indicate dates when student presentations are held. Student presentations
Displays the symbol used on the preceding table to indicate dates when the final paper is due. Final paper due
Displays the color used on the preceding table to indicate dates when no class session is scheduled. No class session scheduled
Displays the symbol used on the preceding table to indicate dates when office hours are held. Office hours
Displays the color used on the preceding table to indicate dates when field trips are held. Class held at the Museum of Fine Arts
 

Instructor Insights

I believe there are myriad ways to evaluate how students are engaging with course material.

—Lauren Jacobi

Below, Lauren Jacobi shares insights about evaluating student learning in 4.663 History of Urban Form: Locating Capitalism: Producing Early Modern Cities and Objects.

I believe there are myriad ways to evaluate how students are engaging with course material. Two approaches I favor are 1) to let them present material in class, so that I can attempt to understand what resonates with them, where there may be comprehension issues, etc.; and 2) to carefully read written material that they submit, especially their response papers. Along that line, it can help to ask to see revisions, or have revisions built into the grading structure. It is also critical too, I feel, to generate dialogue in class that measures how students are responding to the way material is being conveyed.