New York University has received a $2 million grant from the Mellon Foundation to expand its humanities faculty whose scholarship and teaching will focus on the past, present, and future of cities.
The grant, part of the Foundation’s “Architecture and Urbanism in the Humanities” program, will help fund three new NYU faculty who will be tenured in one or more NYU humanities departments.
“The challenges of the urban present and future cannot be solved through technology, data analytics, and modeling alone,” said Joy Connolly, NYU’s Dean for Humanities. “We need to understand the historical, cultural, aesthetic, and moral complexities of the urban landscape, working within the core disciplines and concerns of the humanities.”
These academic areas include: the history of art and architecture; the relationship of creativity, experimentation, and the creative arts with urban life; urban history; critical analysis of urban planning and politics, as well as institutions like museums, hospitals, churches and schools; the diversity of languages and cultures concentrated in urban settings; the city’s role in ancient and modern ideals of human life; literary, artistic, and musical representations of cities; and humanistic contributions to urban ecology.
“NYU is well-positioned to unlock the potential of the urban humanities,” added Connolly. “The key is the recruitment of new faculty to supplement existing strengths and chart new territories for research and teaching—faculty with the capacity to inspire students, to lead through research, to forge cross-disciplinary collaborations. Their broad and creative thinking will underscore the crucial role of the humanities in understanding the evolution, culture, and design of cities as well as ‘best practices’ for urban life.”
The new faculty members will be important to the work of the University’s Marron Institute on Cities and the Urban Environment. The Marron Institute is a new effort to advance teaching and problem-based research on the many environments that shape city life, including the built, social, learning, natural, cultural, economic, and political environments. The Institute is shaping new initiatives that draw on and link scholars from the core areas in the University’s Faculty of Arts and Science—the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences—and also from its institutes and professional schools.
NYU’s identity has been fused with the city of New York since its establishment in 1831 and is also defining the orientation of NYU’s global network. That network includes degree-granting campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai as well as academic centers in 11 other cities: Accra, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Florence, London, Madrid, Paris, Prague, Sydney, Tel Aviv, and Washington, D.C.