Yale Urban Studies Course Offers Series of Public Events and Lectures

A talk by “NYPD Blue” and “Deadwood” creator David Milch and a performance of bachata and merengue music are among the weekly free and public events that will be offered in a new urban studies course at Yale.

Yale art historian Sandy Isenstadt, who teaches “Urban Studies: The Mediated City,” describes the undergraduate seminar as an opportunity for students to learn about the city through its representation in literature, television programs and movies, as well as through documentation such as maps and development proposals.

The goal, says Isenstadt, is to use the endeavors of artists and writers, planners and performers to introduce students “to the range of issues and approaches relevant to urban studies” and to show them how different media provide their own distinct perspective on the growth, development, and character of a city.

To supplement the regularly scheduled weekly meetings of the class, Isenstadt has invited creative innovators from a range of professions—musical performers, real estate developers and video producers among them—to share their unique urban experiences with students and the general public.

The series of events kicked off on January 23 with a screening of two short films, “NevanWen” and “NoHaven,” made by young city residents enrolled in the Youth Rights Media program of New Haven. Arming urban youth with the skills of video production, the program empowers these members of the YouTube generation to tell their stories in the vernacular of their time. The event included a discussion with the filmmakers.

A list of future events follows. All are free and open to the public. No registration is required and seating is on a first-come/first-served basis.

February 12 (Tentative)
“Writing the City”
A discussion with David Dunlap, urban journalist for the New York Times, joined by Seth Brown, Yale alumnus and co-founder of the quarterly journal Next American City. The event will take place 3:30–5:30 p.m. in a location to be announced.

February 19
“The Televised City”
Davenport College will host a master’s tea featuring an informal discussion with television producer and writer David Milch. Davenport Common Room, 248 York St., 4–5:30 p.m.

Later that day, there will be a talk by Milch and screening of selected clips of recent work. Sheffield-Sterling-Strathcona Hall (SSS), 1 Prospect St., Rm. 114, 6:30–8 p.m.

February 26
“Promoting Cities”
Alexander Garvin, Roland Betts and Bruce Alexander, — three prominent urban developers with strong ties to Yale — will hold a public discussion moderated by Alan Plattus, professor of architecture and urbanism at the Yale School of Architecture. Loria Center for the History of Art, 190 York St., Rm. 250, 6:30–8 p.m.

March 26
“Resilient Cities and New Orleans Recovery”
A lecture by Lawrence Vale, professor and chair of urban studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Linsly-Chittenden Hall, 63 High St., Rm. 317, 6:30–7:30 p.m.

April 16
“Playing the City”
In the afternoon, there will be a lecture, discussion, sing-along and chorus line with Yale faculty member Jay Gitlin and a four-piece band. Davenport Common Room, 3:30–5:20 p.m.

That evening, there will be a lecture by Peter Manuel, urban ethnomusicologist and professor at City University of New York, followed by a New York-based Dominican band performing bachata and merengue. Rm. 114, SSS, 7 p.m.

April 23
“Urban Latino Identity”
A lecture by Professor Arlene Davila of New York University. Hastings Hall of Paul Rudolph Hall, 180 York St., at a time to be announced.

April 30
“Urban Jewish Identity”
A lecture and discussion with Professor Mitchell Schwarzer, California College of the Arts. Location to be announced, 3:30–5:30 p.m.

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Media Contact

Dorie Baker: dorie.baker@yale.edu, 203-432-1345