History as Destiny: The Case of New York City
New York Historical Society President and eminent Columbia University historian Kenneth T. Jackson has been teaching a course on the history of New York City for over thirty years. In this series of online lectures, Jackson recreates the experience of his legendary Columbia University class with the complement of a wealth of documentary photographs, maps and other illustrative material.
In this first e-seminar of the series, Jackson, a native of Memphis, Tennessee, compares New York City to a variety of other American cities, and urban centers around the world, making the case for why New York is different. In laying out this argument, he looks at cities as a whole, at the specific reasons for their existence, and at their ability to sustain their importance over time. He also examines the different cultural forces that influenced the development of the oldest cities in the New World.
NYC: A Social History
About the Course:
New York City, growing from the small Dutch commercial settlement of New Amsterdam early in the seventeenth century into a bustling multi-cultural city of more than 8 million and metropolis of more than 18 million by the twentieth century, is a place with many stories. A semester of 14 weeks can only touch on some of them.
This course will focus on the social history of the city – the peoples who have built the city and competing efforts by different numbers to authorize their dreams for the city. As arguably the capital for global capitalism today, one focus of this course will seek to plot its development and legacy for the shaping of the city. A more particular and related local story will be studied as well, however: the political and cultural interests, ideologies and players who shape and reshape the city as Manhattan, as New York and as the Metropolis.
New York Studies
This specialization is a 30-credit program for students wishing to pursue an interest in the history of New York City and its cultures. Courses prepare students in this interdisciplinary specialization to take doctoral-level courses with Graduate Center faculty, which includes many eminent scholars, artists, and critics whose work is focused on New York City. Depending on their interests and expertise, students will consider New York City’s past, its populations, and its productions from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.