Dean for Humanities
NYU has embarked on a major initiative focused on cities and the urban environment. Its purpose is to shape strategy for the study of cities in the humanities and beyond at NYU, and to help identify and strengthen connections among scholars in New York studying cities from a humanistic perspective.
With funding from the Mellon foundation, NYU has now been able to assemble an exceptional team of Urban Humanists, including three recent hires: Sophie Gonick, Daniel Jütte, and Prita Meier. Gonick's research examines home ownership and mortgage policy, immigrant activism (with a focus on Central and South American immigrants to Spain), and urban mobilizations in contemporary southern Europe. Jütte's research focuses on the cultural history of urban and domestic spaces from the Middle Ages to the modern period, as well as the history of knowledge and science, music history, German literature, and Jewish history. Meier's research and teaching focus on the built environment and visual cultures of African cities, especially the popular arts of coastal cities and border towns. She has conducted extensive fieldwork and archival research over the last thirteen years in the major urban centers of Kenya and Tanzania, including Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Mombasa, and Zanzibar.
During the last academic year, NYU launched the Collaborative on Global Urbanism, an effort to link together faculty and students in the humanities and social sciences working on the past, present, and future of cities worldwide. The Collaborative's goal is to create an intellectual community among urbanists at NYU, and to encourage innovative interdisciplinary scholarship. The Collaborative has already done exciting work bringing in cutting edge scholars and policymakers to NYU. Sophie Gonick and Tom Sugrue have also secured funding from The Institute for Public Knowledge to do at least a year of programming around urban politics, policy, and activism, broadly oriented around the idea of municipalism.
In conjunction with the Urban Democracy Lab, NYU also established Urban Humanities Salon, a new forum for dialogue among urban humanists.
In May 2017, NYU hosted an incredibly successful conference on the 2008 financial crisis called "Finance, Crisis, and the City: Global Urbanism and the Great Recession." From that conference, NYU produced a special issue of Public Culture, in addition to continuing the conversation on the tenth anniversary of the financial crisis and its urban impacts within a variety of scholarly settings.
In Spring 2018, NYU hosted a major conference on Atlantic Urbanisms that brought together historians, planners, geographers, and other social scientists whose work explores the social, cultural, political and economic connections between the US, the Caribbean, Europe, Latin America, and Africa. NYU also hopes to strengthen its urban curriculum, particularly at the undergraduate level. To that end, Sophie Gonick and Tom Sugrue team taught a course this spring on Comparative Urbanism: Rethinking North and South.