The Material Culture of New York City: The 20th Century


Fall 2011


4th Floor Classroom


David Jaffee

This course will introduce students to the study of the material culture of New York City in the 20th century, its built environment, cultural landscape, and decorative arts industries. Students will examine the rise of the metropolitan region, industrialization and deindustrialization, and the city as an arena of racial and ethnic traditions and conflicts. The course will be organized around a series of historical spaces: the immigrant city and the Lower East Side; cultural spaces of consumption and its relation to gender; the early 20th-century skyscraper and commercial space; the mid-20th-century urban reconstruction projects of Robert Moses; and the postwar urban crisis and neo-liberal “revitalization.” The course will involve visits to several museum collections. Students will be asked to complete several short papers, create a class presentation, and contribute to a final collaborative digital exhibition project. 3 credits.