Detroit Free Press profiles Harding course on urban policy and "The Wire"

February 24, 2013

A graduate-level public policy course taught by David Harding was featured in a Detroit Free Press article for its use of the popular television show "The Wire" in exploring the challenges associated with urban decay in post-industrial American cities.

The course, which is titled "Urban Policy Through the Lens of HBO's 'The Wire'," uses the popular HBO television drama to analyze the intersection of issues like education, poverty, and race. The program, which was set in Baltimore, focused on real-world issues of city governance, education, crime, and news media.

Students initially devised the concept for the course and brought it to Harding, whose academic focus involves urban policy and inequality. While the television program is used as a reference for discussion, Harding says the focus is on the policy issues.

"At first, it sounded a little gimmicky, but once the students articulated their motivations for the course and demonstrated their enthusiasm and commitment to making it happen, I saw the value in it," Harding told the Detroit Free Press. "The main thing that makes this course different from other courses is our emphasis on understanding the connections between areas of policy that are not usually studied together."