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  • The Dialects of the City: Aspects of Psychogeography 

    Dott.ssa Sainsbury

    Friday 15 -17 Room 10 vSR

    Office Hours Office Hours Friday 11-13 Room 24 vSR


    This course centres principally on a comparison of two cities: London, examined and reimagined through written texts, maps and films associated with the field of Psychogeography, and Florence, which becomes the object of research ‘in the field’ to create new texts. Bibliographic and filmographic references: Craig Taylor, Londoners, (G.B., Granta, 2011), Sukhdev Sandhu, Night Haunts, (G.B.,Verso and Artangel, 2007),Merlin Coverley, Psychogeography, (G.B., Oldcastle Books, 2012), Patrick Keiller, London,(G.B.,1994), Gianfranco Rosi, Sacro Gra (Roma, 2013).

    The aim of the course is to offer students contemporary forms of language which are an alternative to conventional tourist literature, in order to better investigate and describe the city. This is achieved by means of in-class group work, oral presentations, written tasks and a short final research paper. The presentations, written tasks and paper are all assessed for the final grade.

    The booklet will be available at Copisteria X  by the end of February  and should be brought to the first lesson. 

    Assignment for Friday 29th March: Follow the instructions on p. 20 of your booklet (except that you should use  a map of Florence rather than London). Please hand in a photocopy of the section of the map on which you have traced a perfect circle using a glass and a text (you may use only one side of an A4 page) in which you record the experience of trying to follow the circle you drew as closely as possible. This text can be as creative in its organisation as you wish and should include anything you see, hear, taste, smell, touch as you walk round. Informal language and incomplete sentences may be used.

    Final work

    Decide on a theme such as stations, cemeteries, abandoned factories, prisons, hospitals, parks, theatres, tunnels, places of worship, places connected with an ethnic or religious minority etc and make your own map showing 3 or 4 sites. Write a short introduction (100-300 words). Then visit one of the sites and take your own photos. Write an account of your visit in the first person (as little like a tourist guide as possible) including personal reflections and observations and including a few photos with clear captions. Only one place should be visited and described in detail. Your main aim is to write something that you would find really interesting to read (unlike most guides). Humour, irony, mystery are all elements that may help.

    In total approx. 600 – 900 words.

    You may later form group with a common map and introduction. Each person in the group would then visit a different place on the map. Initially develop ideas on your own.

    Alternatives: the same basic idea can be presented in the form of a short film or as an oral presentation.



    For Friday 10th

    1.     Everyone should come with an initial idea for their final paper/oral presentation (including a list of 3-4 places that would form the basis of their map) so that they can talk about their idea to other students, get feedback and possibly team up with someone else. 

    2.      Ethnic/religious minorities in Florence/Tuscany. Everyone should try and do some research into a minority group present in Tuscany. This can simply be asking fellow students, family or acquaintances some pertinent questions or looking on internet. The idea is that you follow up something you are curious about, or know very little about, and share with the class (in oral form) what you discover. This can connect with what you did for the book work or with your idea for the final paper or presentation.

     For Friday 17th

    Students presenting their work at the public reading on Thursday 16th do not have to be present. Other students should have made a visit to one of the sites and should bring a rough draft of their final paper to the lesson to share with the class. The final copy has to be uploaded on and a hard copy placed in my  box by Thursday 23rd May.