New York in Cinematic Imagination is an interdisciplinary study into urbanism and cinematic representations of the American metropolis in the twentieth century. It contextualizes spatial transformations and discourse about New York during the Great Depression and the Second World War, examining both imaginary narratives and documentary images of the city in film.
The book argues that alternating endorsements and critiques of the 1920s machine age city are replaced in films of the 1930s and 1940s by a new critical theory of "agitated urban modernity" articulated against the backdrop of turbulent economic and social settings and the initial practices of urban renewal in the post-war period.
Written for postgraduates and researchers in the fields of film, history and urban studies, with 40 black and white illustrations to work alongside the text, this book is an engaging study into cinematic representations of New York City.
Table of Contents
Chapter One: New York’s Agitated Urban Modernity
Chapter Two: The City in Motion
Chapter Three: Urban Planning and the Spaces of Democracy
Chapter Four: In the Streets of Harlem
Chapter Five: The Agitated City
Chapter Six: Agitation Implodes
Coda: Of Urban Remains
Vojislava Filipcevic Cordes holds a Ph.D. in Urban Planning from Columbia University, and was a Paul E. Raether Postdoctoral Fellow in Urban and Global Studies at Trinity College. She is a New York-based scholar whose research focuses on cinema and urban space, immigrant incorporation, and political activism in sanctuary cities.
"New York in Cinematic Imagination is a city symphony in prose. Cross-cutting between philosophy and history, between spatial theory and aesthetics, Vojislava Filipcevic Cordes delivers an enjoyable and insightfully critical meditation on agitated urban modernity."
--Benjamin Fraser, Professor at the University of Arizona, Editor of Journal of Urban Cultural Studies, Author of Toward an Urban Cultural Studies: Henri Lefebvre and the Humanities
"Vojislava Filipcevic Cordes’ book is a wonderful, bold engagement with the cinema’s renderings of New York City. Rooted in the study of a vast corpus of films both big and small, her analysis draws expertly on the history of urban planning, city photography and sociological understandings of city life. An original, important contribution to scholarship."
--Will Straw, Professor of Urban Media Studies, McGill University, Montreal
"Any writer who proposes to explore "the agitated city" ought to shake you up, which is just what Vojislava Cordes does in her remarkable New York in Cinematic Imagination. Brilliantly melding urban studies and film history, Cordes makes New York of the noir era into the locus of something as novel as it is intellectually vertiginous."
--Stuart Klawans, Film critic, The Nation
"The scope and range of films Cordes intelligently and persuasively discusses in smart analytical detail make New York in Cinematic Imagination informative as a condensed history of urban film. The book also stands out for the rigor, sophistication, and expertise of Cordes’s exploitation of social and urban studies to enlighten her analysis of the films. Cordes thereby fulfills her ambition to propose a paradigm that blends and balances urban and social studies with cinematic studies.
--Sam B. Girgus, Film and literature scholar, Cinéaste