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Current and Upcoming Forums at the Gotham Center

The History Forums are still FREE, but you are now required to register. Please follow the link at the specific forum you wish to attend. Seating is limited.

Unless otherwise noted, all forums take place at the CUNY GRADUATE CENTER - 365 5th Avenue at 34th Street.

Books will be available for purchase and signing by the respective authors.



Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places
Monday, February 22, 2010, 6:30 p.m.
Elebash Recital Hall 

As cities have gentrified, educated urbanites have come to prize what they regard as "authentic" urban life: aging buildings, art galleries, small boutiques, upscale food markets, neighborhood old-timers, funky ethnic restaurants, and old, family-owned shops. These signify a place's authenticity, in contrast to the bland standardization of the suburbs and exurbs. But as CUNY-Graduate Center sociologist Sharon Zukin shows in Naked City, published by Oxford University Press, the rapid and pervasive demand for authenticity—evident in escalating real estate prices, expensive stores, and closely monitored urban streetscapes—has helped drive out the very people who first lent a neighborhood its authentic aura: immigrants, the working class, and artists. Please join the author and panelists Samuel Zipp of Brown University, Thomas Angotti of CUNY-Hunter College, and Clara Irazábal of Columbia University as we examine how the idea of “authenticity” has become a central force in making cities more exclusive.

For online registration click here.





The Row House Reborn: Architecture and Neighborhoods in New York City, 1908-1929
Wednesday, March 10, 2010, 6:30 p.m.
Elebash Recital Hall

Architectural historian Andrew Dolkart of Columbia University will discuss his new book, from the Johns Hopkins University Press, which examines the rediscovery of New York's deteriorated row houses built in the early 20th century.  He will trace the radical alterations to these houses, examining how these changes impacted the character of urban neighborhoods.  Massive transformations occurred over time. The facades of many row houses were completely redesigned, often with stucco fronts, colorful art tile detail, and artist-studio windows, while the utilitarian yards were conceived as picturesque gardens. Interior plans were often rearranged, creating a new type of urban residence.  These houses appealed to artistic people near Gramercy Park, wealthy homeowners east of Third Avenue, and young, middle-class professionals renting apartments in faux-studios created by evelopers in Greenwich Village. The book argues for the importance of this movement and for the preservation of these endangered buildings. 

For online registratoin click here.



Jacob’s Cane: A Jewish Family’s Journey from the Four Lands of Lithuania to the Ports of London and Baltimore: A Memoir in Five Generations
Thursday, March 18, 2010, 6:30 p.m.
Skylight Room

Sponsored by The Leon Levy Foundation

When Harvard English Professor Elisa New held her great-grandfather Jacob Levy’s cane in her hands for the first time in 1997, its elegant, finely crafted design led her to realize for the first time that her family’s story was not the standard coming-to-America tale she had long assumed.  Inspired to search beyond what her parents and aunts had revealed of her family’s past, she would learn that Jacob Levy’s was indeed no Tevye the Milkman story.  Rather, as her family memoir published by Basic Books explains, it was the untold odyssey of Tevye’s cosmopolitan cousin, one of a line of Jews rendered worldly by centuries of transoceanic commerce.  In the mid-1880s, Levy had landed not at Ellis Island, but at Baltimore, where he skipped the struggling, tenement-living immigrant experience and hit the ground running, soon becoming a successful businessman and prominent socialist leader.  Yet challenges to family cohesion and prosperity would still lie ahead.

For online registration click here.






David Ruggles: A Radical Black Abolitionist and the Underground Railroad in New York City
Tuesday, April 13, 2010, 6:30 p.m.
Elebash Recital Hall

David Ruggles (1810-1849), one of the most heroic figures of the early abolitionist movement in America, is often overlooked. Graham Russell Gao Hodges of Colgate University, provides the first biography of this African American activist, writer, and publisher who secured liberty for more than six hundred former bond people, the most famous of whom was Frederick Douglass. Hodges's portrait of Ruggles, published by the University of North Carolina Press, establishes the abolitionist as an essential link between disparate groups—male and female, black and white, clerical and secular, elite and rank-and-file—recasting the history of antebellum abolitionism as a more integrated and cohesive movement than is often portrayed. 

For online registration click here.



Sweatshop Cinderella – Documentary Film Premiere (Women Make Movies)
Wednesday, May 5, 2010, 6:30 p.m.
Elebash Recital Hall

LESCo-Sponsored by The Center for Jewish Studies and The Center for the Study of Women and Society
Please join Gotham Center Director, historian, and filmmaker Suzanne Wasserman for the New York City premiere of Sweatshop Cinderella. The short documentary examines the life of Jewish immigrant writer Anzia Yezierska. Using archival film and still photography, footage from the 1922 silent film Hungry Hearts, letters, newspaper clippings and a tape-recorded interview, this film will tell the story of the 20th century New York novelist. The film is distributed by Women Make Movies. ( .

For online registration click here.


The “Weaker Sex” Takes Gotham: Fighting For Women’s Right to Vote 
Tuesday, May 11, 2010, 6:30 p.m.
Elebash Recital Hall

fsdaf In this visual presenation, author Louise Bernikow will trace the places, characters and tactics involved in winning the vote for women in New York. The battle for female suffrage played out against the city landscape with more drama than anything mounted on the Broadway stage. Filling Fifth Avenue with marchers, Union Square with leafletters, Carnegie Hall with speechifiers, and surrounding the Statue of Liberty with demonstrators in small boats, suffragists left no corner of the city untouched. Across generations, geographies, and class, the tale features American aristocrats like Alva (Vanderbilt) Belmont, world-famous actress Lillian Russell, feminist royalty Harriot Stanton Blatch, flamboyant stockbroker/presidential candidate Victoria Woodhull and labor organizer Rose Schneiderman, all allied with thousands of “anonymous” city residents, college students, immigrant garment workers, and working women.

For online registration click here.






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