The Material Culture of New York City: The Twentieth Century




2nd Floor Classroom


David Jaffee

In this course we will study of the material culture of New York City in the twentieth 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 their relation to gender; the early twentieth-century skyscraper and commercial space; the mid-twentieth-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 short papers, create a class presentation, and create a final project “video essay.” 3 credits.