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Cullman Center Institute for Teachers: Made in America: Viewing our Built Environments as Primary Documents with Elizabeth Blackmar

Elizabeth Blackmar, Instructor

This is a week-long seminar from July 28 – August 1, 2014

The homes and buildings in which we live and work, the parks and places in which we shop and play, and all the roads and byways in between, tell the story of our past. In this seminar we will treat America’s built environments as primary documents that reveal our social history from the 19th century to the present. Among the questions to be considered: How did the 19th century factory influence the design of contemporary kitchens? What does Central Park tell us about America’s evolving notion of “play?” How is the A train connected to segregation? We will read essays by the great cultural geographer J.B. Jackson, and works by social and architectural historians; and we will study photographs, maps, architectural plans, advertisements, and film clips to help us uncover this history hidden in plain sight.

Elizabeth Blackmar, Professor of History at Columbia University, specializes in social and urban history. She is the author of Manhattan for Rent, 1785-1850 and the co-author, with Roy Rosenzweig, of The Park and the People: A History of Central Park. She was a fellow at the Cullman Center in 2012-2013.


The deadline to apply to the 2014 summer seminars has passed.