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Master of Arts in Urban Studies

Transform Your World

Urban Studies homepage photo

Cities around the globe are facing complex issues in need of creative solutions. At Fordham, our solutions-oriented interdisciplinary program will prepare you to tackle the challenges confronting urban society in a range of areas:

  • Economic development
  • Inequality and social justice
  • Public health
  • Environment and sustainability
  • Urban arts and creative industries
  • Historic preservation and gentrification
  • Technology and the development of “smart” cities.

With New York City as our main laboratory, you’ll design a unique course of study tailored to your own interests. You’ll engage in fieldwork with real-world implications and emerge with a nuanced understanding of the powerful forces that are shaping our cities, as well as the problem-solving skills required to improve the quality of life for their citizens.

Program Highlights

  • Flexible, interdisciplinary program shaped by student interests and career objectives
  • Strong foundation in applied research methods and contemporary urban issues
  • Research and study abroad opportunities with our international partner universities
  • Opportunity for fieldwork with public agencies, community nonprofits, museums, architectural and engineering firms, economic development corporations, and more
  • Curricular Practical Training is available to F-1 students

Program Basics

  • Designed as a 16-month program (three to four semesters for full-time students)
  • Curriculum requirements include three core courses, seven elective courses, fieldwork, and the completion of a master’s thesis for a total of 36 units.
  • Master’s thesis topic is directly tied to research and fieldwork
  • Classes held in the evening to accommodate fieldwork

Careers

  • City and regional planning
  • Real estate
  • Historic preservation
  • Education
  • Public administration
  • Environmental regulation
  • Urban renewal and design
  • Housing development agencies
  • Business improvement districts
  • Economic development corporations
  • Museums
  • Nonprofit cultural and arts institutions

Learn more about how a master’s degree in urban studies can help you in your career.


Welcome Back, Students!  Fall 2021


Four Dream Conversations in Urban History

GUHP logo

from globalurbanhistory.org: 

The Global Urban History Project invites scholars to join us for four open-ended conversations about

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed academic conversation, likely forever. This last June, several dozen GUHP members from across the world gathered to envision new ways to fulfill the Project's mission as we go forward. Instead of thinking about location or formats of new events, we decided that online some form of hybrid events were actually to GUHP's advantage, since they allowed relatively simple and chap ways to bring the membership together over long distances.

What are our "Dream Conversations"?

Four subjects came up repeatedly in both sessions and met with unanimous interest: thoery, Empire, inequality, and the Anthropocene. Instead of organzing conferences on every contonent as we had orginally envisioned, we propose to hold simultaneous, thorough, and ongoing conversations about all four topics that will last over the next year and beyond. These conversations will also give shape to the highly successful Mentorship Program that developed last year to meet th need for ongoing professional development of global urban historians during the pandemic.

Read the full article at globalurbanhistory.org.


Fall 2021 Events

10/19 Tuesday, 9–10 a.m. FREE!
 register

The American Experiment: A Virtual Breakfast
Start your day with The Mark Twain House & Museum's first-ever virtual breakfast conversation! Perk some coffee, butter your toast, and dig into a dynamic conversation between David Rubenstein and Dr. Christina Greer discussing Rubenstein’s new book, The American Experiment: Dialogues on a Dream.

  • The Author: David M. Rubenstein is Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of The Carlyle Group, one of the world’s largest and most successful investment firms. Mr. Rubenstein is Chairman of the Boards of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Economic Club of Washington. Mr. Rubenstein is an original signer of The Giving Pledge, and a recipient of the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy, and the MoMA’s David Rockefeller Award. Mr. Rubenstein is the host of Bloomberg Wealth with David Rubenstein on Bloomberg TV and The David Rubenstein Show on Bloomberg TV and PBS. He lives in Maryland.
  • The Moderator: Dr. Christina Greer is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Fordham University – Lincoln Center (Manhattan) campus. Her research and teaching focus on American politics, black ethnic politics, urban politics, quantitative methods, Congress, New York City and New York State politics, campaigns and elections, and public opinion. Prof. Greer’s book Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream (Oxford University Press) investigates the increasingly ethnically diverse black populations in the US from Africa and the Caribbean. She finds that both ethnicity and a shared racial identity matter and also affect the policy choices and preferences for black groups. Professor Greer is currently writing her second manuscript and conducting research on the history of all African Americans who have run for the executive office in the U.S. Her research interests also include mayors and public policy in urban centers. Her previous work has compared criminal activity and political responses in Boston and Baltimore. She is the host and producer of The Aftermath with Christina Greer on Ozy.com Prof. Greer received her BA from Tufts University and her MA, MPhil, and PhD in Political Science from Columbia University.

10/09 Saturday – 10 a.m.
 register
UHA Getting Published: Journal Edition
Join the Urban History Association for a workshop that will explore the basics of preparing an article-length manuscript for journals in urban history. The session panel includes editors from the major urban history journals, who will discuss article preparation, submission guidelines, the review process, and the particular types of articles their journals, respectively, publish. There will be ample time for questions and comments from the audience.

Speakers:


past events

10/01 Friday – 3 p.m.
 register
MCNY Curator Walking Tour - Radicals of the Lower East Side
The area of Manhattan known as the Lower East Side was one of the original geopolitical centers of working class politics and culture. Often considered home of the unwashed, unruly, and un-American, waves of immigrants who lived in the Lower East Side mobilized for labor rights and decent housing, forged vibrant cultural lives, and pursued visions of socialism, anarchism, and other forms of radicalism. This walking tour will examine some of those diverse histories—from anarchist Emma Goldman to punk anarchist destination ABC No Rio—and how they continue to impact the neighborhood today. Led by MCNY Curator and Lower East Side resident Sarah Seidman.

10/01 Friday – 11 a.m.
 register
NYBG Plant-Based Foods: From Seed to Take-Out
Vegan, vegetarian, and other plant-based diets are championed by many as a powerful approach to health, environmental sustainability, and a more humane and ethical food system. Critics, on the other hand, are concerned with highly processed, popular plant-based products; the disconnect between plant-based diets and cultural food traditions; and the implications of removing animals from agricultural systems.

This webinar, moderated by Fordham University Associate Professor Garrett Broad, brings together nutrition scientists and experts from the growing plant-based food industry for a discussion that traces plant-based foods from fields to restaurants, bodegas, and take-out containers in the Bronx and beyond.

View More Past Events . . .

9/30 Thursday – 7 p.m.
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MCNY Moonlight & Movies | Smithereens
Summer is not over! Join us for a final outdoor screening of Smithereens (1982, 89 mins), Susan Seidelman's classic homage to NYC's Downtown punk scene in the 1980s. With a soundtrack by The Feelies, Smithereens follows the (mis)adventures of New Jersey runaway and punk rocker Wren (Susan Berman), and features appearances from punk icons including Richard Hell. Featuring an in-person introduction by director Susan Seidelman.

Susan Seidelman is a director, producer and screenwriter who came to prominence in the 1980s with Smithereens, the first American independent film screened in Competition at the Cannes Film Festival. She is the director of Desperately Seeking Susan (Madonna, Rosanna Arquette), She-Devil (Meryl Streep, Roseanne Barr), Cookie (Peter Falk), amongst others. Her TV work includes directing the pilot and early episodes of Sex And The City. Seidelman received an Academy Award nomination for her short film The Dutch Master. Seidelman’s work continues to mix comedy with drama, blending genres and pop-cultural references with a focus on strong female protagonists, often set against the backdrop of NYC.

9/24 Friday – 3 p.m.
 register
MCNY Curator Walking Tour – Public Art in Lower Manhattan
Join MCNY curator Lilly Tuttle on a walk through Lower Manhattan and hear the hidden history of how one of the oldest areas in New York underwent a radical transformation in the 1960s and 70s as the city shed its industrial, maritime past and remade both the east and west side waterfronts for a new era. Explore the architecture, urban planning, and public art that gave this district a modern look, and generated iconic spaces like the original World Trade Center and Tribeca.

9/23 Thursday – 5:30 p.m.
 register
“Unearthing Buried Narratives: Reconstructing the Experiences of Enslaved People Through Jesuit Records”
Recalling the Catholic enslaved experience reveals new patterns about enslavement within the Catholic Church and the instrumental ways enslaved people formed community, resisted their enslavement, and shaped their faith. Prize-winning scholar Kelly L. Schmidt, Ph.D., invites the audience to engage with records about enslaved people in Jesuit archives, cross-referencing them and reading against the grain to discover the limitations resulting from enslaved people being prevented from keeping records about their own lives.

Organized by The Francis and Ann Curran Center for American Catholic Studies.

9/22 Wednesday – 6 p.m.
 register
Columbia GSAPP Building Character: The Racial Politics of Modern Architectural Style
A lecture by Charles L. Davis II with a response by Professor Reinhold Martin, Director of the History and Theory Sequence in the M.Arch program at Columbia GSAPP.

Charles L. Davis II is an assistant professor of architectural history and criticism the University at Buffalo. Building Character: The Racial Politics of Modern Architectural Style (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2019), traces the historical integrations of race and style theory in paradigms of “architectural organicism,” or movements that modeled design on the generative principles of nature.

9/21 Tuesday – 5 p.m.
 register
Ground Zero: Master Plans
Two design competitions determined the direction of the master plan at Ground Zero and the concept and position of the 9/11 memorial and museum. Less clear in their functions, locations, and funding were other cultural institutions awarded a potential place on the site. Yet, as this program will discuss, the cultural component was a key idea to both the rebuilding at Ground Zero and the recovery of lower Manhattan.

Moderator for the panel is Gary Hack, an architect, planner, and academic who consulted for Studio Libeskind from the winning urban design competition through the preparation of the master plan and urban design guidelines.


The Promise and Peril of Artificial Intelligence

AI graphic

from fordham news: 

The concept of artificial intelligence has been with us since 1955, when a group of researchers first proposed a study of “the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines.” At the same time, it seems like not a day goes by without news about some development, making it feel very futuristic.

It’s also the purview of professors from a variety of fields at Fordham, such as Damian Lyons, Ph.D., a professor of computer science, R.P. Raghupathi Ph.D., a professor of information, technology and operations at Gabelli School of Business, and Lauri Goldkind, Ph.D., a professor at the Graduate School of Social Service.

Listen to the podcast by Fordham Urban Studies alumnus Patrick Verel:

Read the full transcript at Fordham News.


In Bronx and beyond, the pandemic revealed resilience

Bronx COVID 19 Oral History Project Zoom

from the christian science monitor: 

“When Bethany Fernandez first began to document oral histories in the Bronx during the pandemic, her own life was “chaotic,” she says – her familiar routines upended, her days confronted with fear and uncertainty.

But the past year and a half has become, almost in a strange way, a time of profound personal growth and self-discovery, says Ms. Fernandez, a lifelong resident of the Bronx, a borough of New York City.

The communities surrounding her were among the most afflicted in the country, and they were being documented relentlessly in the news. But when she decided to join a group of fellow students at Fordham University to launch the Bronx COVID-19 Oral History Project, she found a reality not fully captured in the news, she says.”

“In moments like these, a cynical person might think, ‘Oh, people are going to be selfish’ – resources are scarce, survival of the fittest, or whatever,” says Ms. Fernandez. “But no, it was the complete opposite. People were willing to give, people willing to extend themselves, even if they may not have had that much to give or to extend.”

In two dozen interviews with Bronx teachers, families, artists, and community leaders, people described a similar sense of energy, positivity, and resilience, says Mark Naison, professor of history and African and African American studies at Fordham, who advised the students.

“You know, we found all these people who were doing amazing things to help keep the community alive during this time,” he says.

Read the full article by Harry Bruinius (@HarryBruinius)  at The Christian Science Monitor.


Happy the Elephant’s Right to Liberty

NHRP logo

from nonhumanrights.org: 

Four new amicus curiae briefs have been submitted in support of the Nonhuman Rights Project’s landmark habeas corpus case demanding the right to bodily liberty of an elephant named Happy held alone in captivity in the Bronx Zoo.

All four briefs join the NhRP in urging New York’s highest court, the New York Court of Appeals, to recognize Happy as a legal person with the right to liberty and order her release to a sanctuary. In May of this year, the Court agreed to consider the NhRP’s arguments, marking the first time in history the highest court of an English-speaking jurisdiction will hear a habeas corpus case brought on behalf of someone other than a human being. The Court accepts fewer than 5% of cases seeking permission to appeal.

The author of the public opinion brief is Dr. Garrett Broad (Associate Professor, Department of Communication and Media Studies, Fordham University):

“Fundamentally, this Court should trust that the public is intelligent enough to understand that our legal system evolves over time, particularly when new and convincing scientific, political, and moral arguments emerge. For these and other reasons outlined in this brief, I once again urge this Court to grant the Petitioner-Appellant Nonhuman Rights Project’s requested relief. Doing so will ensure that Happy is able to live her life commensurate with the dignity that the public believes she deserves … The recognition of Happy’s right to bodily liberty and the use of habeas corpus to transfer her to an elephant sanctuary is not only appropriate from a scientific, ethical, and legal perspective, but it is also consistent with contemporary American public norms.”

Happy is a 50-year-old Asian elephant who has been held in captivity since 1977 in a one-acre exhibit in the Bronx Zoo, which is managed by the Wildlife Conservation Society. For the last 15 years Happy—the first elephant in the world to demonstrate self-awareness via the mirror test and the first to have habeas corpus hearings to determine the lawfulness of her imprisonment—has lived without the company of other elephants.

Read the full article by Lauren Choplin at nonhumanrights.org.

Fordham icon Research


STATEMENT OF SOLIDARITY AND COMMITMENT TO JUSTICE

Fordham’s Urban Studies Program stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and all the protesters demanding racial justice and an end to police brutality towards minorities across the country. We firmly believe that in a society, in which all are not free from oppression and injustice, no one is truly free. Therefore, we must all recognize our responsibility to work towards pointing out systemic inequality and racism throughout our country, and our institutions, as a first step toward ending and overcoming it.

Until the killing of black men, black mothers’ sons, becomes as important to the rest of the country as the killing of a white mother’s son, we who believe in freedom cannot rest.(Ella’s Song, Bernice Johnson Reagon)

We strongly believe in the importance of confronting the past (and the present) for building a better and more equitable future, and we are committed to confronting existing racial injustice in our teaching and research.

Commencement message from Dr. Annika M. Hinze, Director of Urban Studies

Dear Class of 2021,

What a year it has been! We started out the academic year after a summer of social conflict, political failures, and pandemic uncertainty. And we did this mostly online – though some of you and your professors braved in-person classes, masked and socially distanced. “Socially distanced” – that is quite the term for a social scientist. It sounds like an oxymoron: Is it even possible to be social from a distance when we, as human beings, are so dependent on physical touch and social interaction? Well, we – you – somehow made it possible!

I can honestly say that I did not enjoy teaching remotely. I like to pace around the classroom, I like to use my arms and hands when I speak, I like to try and read the room that I am in. I like to get in the right mental state for my class on my commute to campus – first on the train, then on the bus, while watching the people and buildings change as I go, sipping my morning coffee. I am an urbanist, after all! I enjoy being in the City, with the City, of the City, on my way to work. None of that was possible on a Zoom screen, in a virtual work environment. Sometimes, I would get up from my desk for a late lunchbreak for the first time since the early morning and realize that I had not moved much further than ten feet from where I slept the night before. That depressed me. Yet, I was moved so many times by how much you, my students, got into the zone: you got passionate about the discussion topics, the readings, the comments of your classmates. You engaged, questioned, reflected. You even produced some research. That is, given the circumstances, no small feat.

It was not just the pandemic, the remote classes, the ever-changing case numbers and guidance about what to do that made this past year so tough to survive. It was also the human cost. What we lost. We lost loved ones. We lost acquaintances. And if we were lucky enough not to lose anyone we knew and loved, we lost time with them. Time that will not come back. We lost time to do what we love, whether that would have been time spend traveling the world, socializing with friends, or simply hugging our parents – it is lost forever, and it is ok to grieve that.

And then, on top of all that, we witnessed, felt, processed, grieved so many other things that happened on a social and political scale. After a difficult and more divisive election season than perhaps ever before, we witnessed a domestic attack on the U.S. Capitol with the explicit goal to dismantle the democratic mechanisms of our political system. And we continue to witness and confront the societal fact that our democracy is still not as inclusive as it promises to be. Despite their social, cultural, economic, and political contributions, people of color are still not afforded the same privileges in our society. We continue to witness violence against black and brown bodies, and targeted attempts to exclude them from the democratic process. Many of these tensions and grievances boiled over in the midst of a pandemic that disproportionately affected black and brown Americans who continue to live and work under less safe, healthy, and fair conditions than white Americans. We witnessed targeted hatred and violence against Asian Americans in connection with the pandemic. Many of you may have personally felt the effects of those events and injustices.

Just because the infamous year of 2020 and the oh-so-very-strange 2020/21 academic year are over does not mean we are out of the woods. As a society, we have much work to do. As individuals, we may have just received our COVID vaccines and started to emerge from our social isolation, breathing in the spring air and admiring nature’s reawakening all around us, taking stock of what we have lost, and how to move forward.

I have always loved the term Commencement. In many other languages, we just speak of Graduation, but Commencement is so much more powerful, because of what it implies: Finishing your degree is not the end – it is the beginning. The beginning of a new chapter. As we emerge from the pandemic into so much uncertainty, we also have the ability to start anew. To write a new chapter. All the grief and pain from last year should not be something we are merely leaving behind. Instead, maybe we can use it to inspire this new start. To do better. To rebuild.

You have all shown so much capacity for resilience, creativity, and love in getting through the pandemic, finishing your studies, and living gracefully through so much loss. You give me so much hope for what is possible, and you make me so proud of what you have accomplished. As the next generation, you are badly needed!

With all my heart – congratulations on an amazing achievement, Class of 2021!

Annika Marlen Hinze, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Political Science
Director, Urban Studies Program
Fordham University


Urban Studies Week 2021

the fordham university urban studies program presents: 

Heinrich Heine MemorialThe More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same.

An Urban Studies Week Walking Tour exploring the history of the South Bronx, its built environment, geography and social history.

This event happened on Wednesday, April 28
The Heinrich Heine Memorial
in Joyce Kilmer Park
Grand Concourse & 161st St
.

Starting at the lower end of the exquisitely urban boulevard known as the Grand Concourse, we walk through the Bronx’s metamorphosis into our present society and home. We witness its diverse population transforming over time. We take note of historical buildings still standing and observe their history led by two Bronx history buffs (both Fordham Urban Studies Alumni and NYC natives), Adam Stoler and Nestor Danyluk.

We see remnants of old and birth and rebirth of new: populations, institutions, businesses, restaurants. Peeling away the visible layers, revealing what underlies the vibrancy, and echoes the greatness and pain of the city. In preparation for the tour, we strongly recommend reading Constance Rosenblum’s Boulevard of Dreams: Heady Times, Heartbreak, and Hope Along the Grand Concourse in the Bronx.

Finally, what better way to experience “live” than taste? Stay with us, for the walking tour includes a treat from the Urban Studies Program—the joy of breaking bread together, tasting what the Bronx is made up of today.