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New York City

A Social History


Professor Daniel Walkowitz

Professor Daniel Walkowitz

  • Professor of History and Professor of Social & Cultural Analysis, New York University
  • Ph.D. 1972 (History), A.B. 1964 (English Honors), University of Rochester.
  • Bio & Publications

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.

Key Topics

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.


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Course Readings

Required Reading

  • Edwin G. Burrows and Mike Wallace, Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898, 2000, ISBN-13: 978-0195140491, ISBN-10: 0195140494
  • Paul Gilje, The Road to Mobocracy: Popular Disorder in New York City, 1763-1834,  ISBN-13: 978-0807841983, ISBN-10: 0807841986
  • Kathy Peiss, Cheap Amusements: Working Women and Leisure in Turn of the Century New York, 2007, AIPI
  • Paule Marshall, Brown Girl, Brownstones, 2006, ISBN-10: 978-1558614987
  • Robert Caro, The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York, 1975, ISBN-13: 978-0394720241, ISBN-10: 0394720245,
  • Jonathan Reider, Canarsie: The Jews and Italians of Brooklyn against Liberalism, 2005, ISBN-13: 9780674093614, ISBN-10: 0674093615

Other Readings

  • Floyd Shumway, Seaport City : New York in 1776, 1975, (Chapter 2 & Chapter 3), ISBN 10: 0913344206, ISBN 13: 9780913344200
  • Christine Stansell, The Origins of the Sweatshop: Women and Early Industrialization in New York City
  • David M. Gordon, “Capitalist Development and the History of American Cities”, in Marxism and the Metropolis: New perspectives in urban political economy, W. Tabb & L. Sawyers, eds., 1978, ISBN-13: 978-0195033083, ISBN-10: 0195033086
  • Daniel Walkowitz, “New York: A Tale of Two Cities", in Snowbelt Cities: Metropolitan Politics in the Northeast and Midwest since World War II by R. M. Bernard, 1990, ISBN-13: 9780253311771, ISBN-10: 0253311772
  • Matthew Drennan, “The Decline and Rise of the New York Economy”, in Dual City: The Restructuring New York by J. H. Mollenkopf and M. Castells, 1991, ISBN-13: 9780871546081, ISBN-10: 0871546086
  • Neil Smith, “"Gentrification Generalized: From Local Anomaly to Urban 'Regeneration' as Global Urban Strategy" in Frontiers of Capital: Ethnographic Reflections on the New Economy, M. Fisher and G. Downey, eds., 2006, ISBN-13: 978-0822337393, ISBN-10: 0822337398

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