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Spring 2014 Participants 

Andre Aciman
Andre Aciman is Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature and the founder and director of The Writers’ Institute at The Graduate Center, CUNY. Aciman was born in Alexandria, Egypt and is an American memoirist, essayist, novelist, and scholar of seventeenth-century literature. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, The New Republic, Granta, and Paris Review as well as in many volumes of The Best American Essays. Aciman is the author of the Whiting Award-winning memoir Out of Egypt, and of False Papers: Essays in Exile and Memory, and Alibis: Essays on Elsewhere, and three novels, Harvard Square, Eight White Nights, and Call Me By Your Name, for which he won the Lambda Literary Award for Men's Fiction.

Paola Antonelli
Paola Antonelli is a Senior Curator in the Department of Architecture and Design, as well Director of Research and Development at The Museum of Modern Art. Antonelli’s goal is to insistently promote design’s understanding, until its positive influence on the world is fully acknowledged and exploited. She is currently working on several shows on contemporary design; and on Design Bites, a book about foods from all over the world appreciated as examples of outstanding design.

Stanley Aronowitz
Stanley Aronowitz is a Distinguished Professor at the CUNY Graduate Center and the Director of the Center for the Study of Culture, Technology and Work. He is the author of several books, including False Promises: The Shaping of American Working Class Consciousness, Left Turn: Forging a New Political Future, Against Schooling: For an Education That Matters, and most recently Taking It Big: C. Wright Mills and the Making of Political Intellectuals.

Paola Antonelli
Gabi Asfour is part of the fashion design collective threeASFOUR , established in 2005 with fellow designers Ange and Adi. threeASFOUR consistently creates silhouettes inspired by the natural world - the anatomy of the human body, plants, and animals, whose graceful forms exemplify perfection in design, balance and motion. Blurring the lines where fashion meets art, threeASFOUR employs a multi-dimensional approach to cut and construction to create collections that redefine classical tailoring.

Jamie Bennett
Jamie Bennett is the Executive Director of ArtPlace America (ArtPlace), a collaboration of 13 leading national and regional foundations working to accelerate creative placemaking throughout the country through grants and loans which serve important community-artist partnerships. Prior to joining ArtPlace, Bennett was Director of Public Affairs at the NEA since 2009, and was promoted to serve as Chief of Staff in June 2011. Prior to the NEA, he was Chief of Staff at the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, serving as a senior member of the Commissioner’s leadership team.

William Bialek
William Bialek is visiting presidential professor of physics and founder and director of the Initiative for the Theoretical Sciences at the Graduate Center. He was elected to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences in May 2012. Bialek has been a key figure in the emergence of biophysics as a subdiscipline within physics, and in bringing the quantitative traditions of physics to bear on a broad range of phenomena in biology. In addition to his work at the Graduate Center, Bialek also serves as John Archibald Wheeler/Battelle Professor in Physics, and as a member of the multidisciplinary Lewis-Sigler Institute of Integrative Genomics, at Princeton University.

Phil Bicker joined TIME and as photo editor in 2010. As an internationally renowned creative director, he worked for editorial, advertising, fashion and art clients, and initially established himself as an art director in London where he gave many now-established photographers their first commissions. He has art directed Creative Camera magazine and was also creative director of Vogue Hommes International, where he encouraged art photographers to make fashion stories. As creative director at the Fader in New York, he also collaborated with a new generation of documentary image-makers.

Stella Bugbee
Stella Bugbee was named editorial director of New York magazine’s fashion and lifestyle site The Cut in August 2012. She helped define the look and feel of the site, including the fashion coverage, international street style, beauty and celebrity coverage, and vintage and original photography. Previously, Bugbee had served as a creative director at fashion agency AR New York, and the design director at Domino Magazine. Bugbee has taught design and typography at Parsons, been a visiting reviewer in the Yale MFA program and created her own products which have been sold internationally at stores like Opening Ceremony and Collette.

Mary Schmidt Campbell, a leader in the cultural life of New York City for more than 30 years, is dean of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She began her career in New York at the Studio Museum in Harlem, where she served for 10 years and established a reputation as mentor to women and people of color. Campbell has also served as the city’s Cultural Affairs Commissioner and has held the voluntary posts of Chair of the New York State Council on the Arts and Vice-chair of the U. S. President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.

Seb Chan
Seb Chan is currently Director of Digital & Emerging Media, Smithsonian, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York. He is responsible for museum’s complete digital renewal during a time when the museum is rebuilding and transforming into a “21st Century Museum”. Prior to relocating to New York, he was Head of Digital, Social & Emerging Technologies at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney.

Jennifer Tour Chayes
Jennifer Tour Chayes is Distinguished Scientist and Managing Director of Microsoft Research New England in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which she co-founded in 2008, and Microsoft Research New York City, which she co-founded in 2012. Her research areas include phase transitions in discrete mathematics and computer science, structural and dynamical properties of self-engineered networks, and algorithmic game theory. She is the co-author of over 125 scientific papers and the co-inventor of more than 30 patents.

Charles Colman
Charles Colman, acting assistant professor of lawyering, at NYU Law School, focuses primarily on intellectual property law and its politically and culturally mediated interaction with various components of visual culture. He has written for many professional publications, including the Harvard Journal of Law & Technology Digest and Intellectual Property Magazine. His monograph Fashion and Copyright is forthcoming in 2014. Since 2011, he has operated the boutique firm Charles Colman Law, PLLC, handling litigation and transactional matters for dozens of clients in the fields of fashion, art, film, theater, and new technology.

Maria Cornejo was born in Chile and moved to England with her family when she was a child. Her varied career spans London, Paris, Milan, and Tokyo. In 1998, she transformed a raw space in Nolita into a highly creative atelier and store known as Zero. From the beginning, Cornejo established an independent point of view and developed new ways of cutting fabrics based on the simplest geometric forms. This simplicity, easy and freedom in her designs have become her calling card. A champion of women, in the fashion industry and beyond, her work is guided by the idea of creating wearable luxury for real women.

Justin Davidson
Justin Davidson is the classical music and architecture critic for New York magazine. He began his journalism career stringing for the Associated Press in Rome, moved to the United States to study music at Harvard and earned a doctorate at Columbia. A composer as well as a music critic, Davidson became a staff writer, in 1996, for the Long Island newspaper Newsday, where he also wrote about architecture. At Newsday, in 2002, he won the Pulitzer Prize for his music criticism.

Nancy Foner is Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Hunter College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She is the author or editor of sixteen books, including From Ellis Island to JFK: New York’s Two Great Waves of Immigration, In a New Land: A Comparative View of Immigration, and Out of Three: Immigrant New York in the Twenty-First Century. She has received the Distinguished Career Award from the International Migration Section of the American Sociological Association, and is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Thomas Frank
Thomas Frank is the author of Pity the Billionaire, The Wrecking Crew, What's the Matter with Kansas? and One Market Under God. Frank is the founding editor of The Baffler and a contributing editor at Harper's. He has received a Lannan award and been a guest columnist for the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

Jenny Gersten
Jenny Gersten was recently named the Executive Director of Friends of the High Line, the not-for-profit organization in partnership with the NYC Parks Department in charge of building and maintaining one of the great public spaces in New York City. For the preceding four years, she was Artistic Director of the Williamstown Theatre Festival. As Artistic Director, she programmed an ambitious “summer stock” season of 8 fully produced top-notch professional productions in a 9-week time span. Gersten also served as the Associate Producer of The Public Theater in New York City for four years.

Gary Giddins, a professor at the Graduate Center and executive director of the GC’s Leon Levy Center for Biography, has written 13 books on jazz and American music. His landmark Visions in Jazz received the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism. The first volume of his biography Bing Crosby: Pocketful of Dreams won the Ralph J. Gleason Music Book Award. He has also received six ASCAP–Deems Taylor Awards, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Peabody Award.

Jana Herzen
Jana Herzen, a singer-songwriter influenced by folk, world, rock, and jazz, founded Motema Music, a Harlem-based record label focused on virtuosic jazz and world music. Her own Soup's on Fire CD was the label’s first release. Since then the Motema has released than 80 recordings by 40 artists including some of the world’s top jazz musicians. Before founding Motema, in 2003, Herzen was a founding member of the award-winning theater group Manhattan Class Company.

Fredric Jameson is the William A. Lane, Jr. Professor of Comparative Literature and Professor of Romance Studies at Duke University. He is the author of several books, including The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act, Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, The Cultural Turn, Archaeologies of the Future, and most recently The Antinomies of Realism. In 2012, Professor Jameson received the award for Lifetime Scholarly Achievement from the Modern Language Association.

Philip Kasinitz
Philip Kasinitz is Presidential Professor of Sociology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He is the author of Caribbean New York: Black Immigrants and the Politics of Race, the editor of Metropolis: Center and Symbol of Our Time, co-editor of the Handbook on International Migration, co-editor of Becoming New Yorkers: Ethnographies of The New Second Generations, co-author Inheriting the City: The Children of Immigrants Come of Age, which received the 2010 Distinguished Publication Award from the American Sociological Association and co-editor of The Urban Ethnography Reader. Kasinitz is a former President of the Eastern Sociological Society.

William P. Kelly
William P. Kelly, before taking up his current post as interim chancellor of the City University of New York, in July 2013, served for eight years as president of the Graduate Center. A distinguished scholar of American literature, he is chairman of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the CUNY Research Foundation and has published essays and reviews in a broad range of publications, including the Times Literary Supplement, the New York Times Book Review, and the American Scholar.

Lev Manovich
Lev Manovich is the author of Software Takes Command, Soft Cinema: Navigating the Database, and The Language of New Media, which was described as "the most suggestive and broad ranging media history since Marshall McLuhan." Manovich is a Professor at The Graduate Center, CUNY, and a Director of the Software Studies Initiative which works on the analysis and visualization of big cultural data. In 2013 he appeared on the List of 25 People Shaping the Future of Design (between Casey Reas at no. 1 and Jonathan Ive at no. 3).

Pyong Gap Min is Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He also serves as Director of the Research Center for Korean Community at Queens College. The areas of his specializations are immigration, ethnicity, immigrant businesses, immigrants’ religious practices, and family/gender, with a special focus on Korean and Asian Americans. He is the author of five books, the editor or a co-editor of 10 books, and the author of more than 100 articles and book chapters.

Column McCann
Column McCann is the author of six novels and two collections of stories, including Let The Great World Spin, which was awarded the National Book Award. McCann has also been the recipient of the International Dublin Impac Prize, a Chevalier des Arts et Lettres from the French government, and election to the Irish arts academy. His work has been published in over 35 languages. His most recent novel is Transatlantic. He teaches at the MFA program in Hunter College.

Jason Moran
Jason Moran, pianist and composer, emerged on the music scene in the late ’90s and established himself as a brilliant risk-taker. In almost every category that matters – improvisation, composition, group concept, repertoire, technique and experimentation – Moran challenged the status quo. He began his piano studies at age six and later took Thelonius Monk as a role model. Pre-eminent jazz critic Gary Giddins has singled out Moran’s “capacity to combine classicism and maverick innovation.” His nearly two dozen CDs recorded since 1999 have won wide acclaim and, in 2010, he received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.

Eugenia Paulicelli
Eugenia Paulicelli is professor of Italian, Comparative Literature and Women’s Studies at Queens College and The CUNY Graduate Center, where she directs Fashion Studies in the Master of Liberal Studies and the PhD concentration. She is the originator and co-curator of the exhibition “The Fabric of Cultures. Fashion, Identity, Globalization.” Her books include Moda e Moderno; Fashion and Modernity from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance; Fashion under Fascism; and Beyond the Black Shirt.

Fernando Pereira is Research Director at Google. He has made profound contributions to our understanding of the structure of natural language, and constructed algorithms that exploit this understanding in speech recognition, document classification, and many other tasks. Before joining Google, he was the Chair of Computer and Information Science at the University of Pennsylvania, and a department head at AT&T Laboratories.

Andy C. Pratt
Andy C. Pratt, professor of cultural Economy at City University, London, specializes in the analysis of the cultural industries, internationally. He has worked as an advisor for international, national, and urban policy makers, and has developed definitions of the cultural sector that are used as standard measures by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and UNESCO. Pratt’s research has three strands: the urban spatial clustering of cultural industries, the definition and measurement of employment and trade, and policy making and governance in theory and practice.

Steve Reich
Steve Reich was recently called "our greatest living composer" (The New York Times), "America’s greatest living composer." (The Village VOICE), “...the most original musical thinker of our time” (The New Yorker) and “...among the great composers of the century” (The New York Times). From his early taped speech pieces It's Gonna Rain (1965) and Come Out (1966) to his and video artist Beryl Korot’s digital video opera Three Tales (2002), Reich's path has embraced not only aspects of Western Classical music, but the structures, harmonies, and rhythms of non-Western and American vernacular music, particularly jazz. "There's just a handful of living composers who can legitimately claim to have altered the direction of musical history and Steve Reich is one of them," states The Guardian (London).

Rip Rapson
Rip Rapson is president and CEO of The Kresge Foundation, based in metropolitan Detroit and serving a national community through seven strategically focused programs – in arts and culture, community development, education, environment, health, and human services. Prior to joining Kresge, Rapson was president of the Minnesota-based McKnight Foundation, and served as a senior fellow at the University of Minnesota where he led a five-year, interdisciplinary project to help aging first-ring suburban communities address the challenges posed by declining tax revenues, changing economic and social demographics, and shifting political forces.

Ruthann Robson
Ruthann Robson, Professor of Law & University Distinguished Professor at CUNY Law School, is the author of Dressing Constitutionally: Hierarchy, Sexuality, and Democracy and a collection of legal creative writing entitled Instead, as well as Sappho Goes to Law School; Gay Men, Lesbians, and the Law; and Lesbian (Out)Law: Survival Under the Rule of Law. A frequent commentator on constitutional and sexuality issues and the co-editor of the Constitutional Law Professors Blog, Robson is also the editor of the three volume set, International Library of Essays in Sexuality & Law.

Martha Rosler
Martha Rosler is an influential video, installation, and performance artist and an eminent writer on art and culture. Rosler’s work focuses on the public sphere as well as daily life – her concerns include women's experience, architecture, war, the media, housing, homelessness, and transportation systems. She has lectured extensively nationally and internationally and has taught photography and media at Rutgers University and at the Städelschule in Frankfurt, Germany. Rosler has had numerous solo exhibitions including the Museum of Modern Art in New York (2012), and her essays have been published widely in catalogues, magazines, journals, and edited collections.

Sree Sreenivasan
Sree Sreenivasan is the newly appointed first Chief Digital Officer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where he leads a team dealing with digital, social, mobile, video, apps, and other topics. Sreenivasan joined the Met after 20 years at Columbia University on the faculty of the Columbia Journalism School and a year as the university's first Chief Digital Officer. In 2010 he was named by the Poynter Institute as one of the 35 most influential people in social media.

Valerie Steele
Valerie Steele is director and chief curator of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, where she has organized more than 20 exhibitions since 1997. She is also founder and editor in chief of Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture, and is the author or co-author of more than a dozen books. As author, curator, editor, and public intellectual, Steele, who holds a PhD from Yale, has been instrumental in creating the modern field of fashion studies and in raising public awareness of the cultural and social significance of fashion.

Camilo José Vergara has devoted himself to photographing and systematically documenting the poorest and most segregated communities in urban America by combining his images with precise data and sociological analysis. Born in Santiago, Chile, Vergara moved to the U.S. and began his career as a street photographer. Trained at the University of Notre Dame and Columbia University as a sociologist with a specialty in urbanism, he is a 2002 MacArthur fellow and in 2013 became the first photographer ever to receive the National Humanities Medal.

Eric K. Washington is the author of Manhattanville: Old Heart of West Harlem. He is also a New York City licensed tour guide and a contributor to the MTA-licensed guide book New York City by Bust & Subway. His writing on local history has earned him the Municipal Art Society's coveted Masterworks Award, and his work as a photographer has won acclaim from Photographer’s Forum, the iPhone Photography Awards, and the travel destination app Trazzler.

Chris Wiggins
Chris Wiggins has recently been appointed the Chief Data Scientist at the New York Times, and is on the faculty of Applied Mathematics and Applied Physics at Columbia University. His research interests have ranged from the mechanics of DNA to information flow in biological networks to the development of algorithms for the discovery of hidden structure in large scale experiments on complex systems.

Sharon Zukin
Sharon Zukin teaches at Brooklyn College and in the PhD program in sociology at the Graduate Center. Best known for her classic Loft Living, a penetrating study of the artist-driven loft market of Lower Manhattan, and The Cultures of Cities, she recently won the Jane Jacobs Award for Urban Communication for Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places. Zukin has also received the C. Wright Mills Award for her book Landscapes of Power, and the Robert Park Award for career achievement in urban sociology.

Fall 2013 Participants

Kelly Anderson
Kelly Anderson’s My Brooklyn premiered at the 2012 Brooklyn Film Festival, where it won an Audience Award for Documentary. It subsequently had a sold-out run at reRun theater in Brooklyn and has been invited to the Frankfurt Film Festival, the Belfast Film Festival, and This Human World Human Rights Film Festival (Vienna), among other venues. Her work has been shown at the Tribeca Film Festival, the Sundance Film Festival, and on HBO. She is an associate professor in the Department of Film and Media Studies at Hunter College, CUNY.

Reagan Arthur
Reagan Arthur, before becoming publisher at Little, Brown, was editorial director of Reagan Arthur Books, an imprint of Little, Brown. She began her career at St. Martin’s Press. Writers she has worked with include Kate Atkinson, Kate Braestrup, Tony Earley, Joshua Ferris, Elin Hilderbrand, Elizabeth Kostova, Denise Mina, George Pelecanos, Josh Bazell, Kathleen Kent, and Joanna Scott.

Peter Beinart
Peter Beinart, the senior political writer at the Daily Beast, is the author of four books, including The Icarus Syndrome and, most recently, The Crisis of Zionism. He is an associate professor at the CUNY Graduate Center and at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.

Shari Springer Berman
Shari Springer Berman, along with partner Robert Pulcini, wrote and directed American Splendor, which won over 30 awards including the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance and the FIPRESCI Award at Cannes; it was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. Their HBO film Cinema Verite received nine Emmy nominations including Best Movie, Outstanding Directing, and Best Editing (for which it won).

Jonathan Bowles
During his fourteen years at the Center for an Urban Future, Jonathan Bowles has been the architect of its policy agenda and has turned the center into one of New York’s most influential think tanks. As the author of numerous policy reports, he has written about the city’s tech start-up scene and the impact of immigrant entrepreneurs on urban economies.

Flutist Claire Chase
Flutist Claire Chase, a 2012 MacArthur Fellow, is a soloist, collaborative artist, entrepreneur and activist for new music. She cofounded the International Contemporary Ensemble in 2001 and serves as its artistic director, in addition to playing over fifty concerts a year as an ensemble member.

Elizabeth Currid-Halkett
Elizabeth Currid-Halkett is associate professor at USC’s Sol Price School of Public Policy, where she teaches courses in economic development and urban policy. In addition to her books The Warhol Economy: How Fashion, Art, and Music Drive New York City and Starstruck: The Business of Celebrity, Currid-Halkett has written for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the New Yorker, and various academic publications.

Adam Davidson
Adam Davidson is co-founder and co-host of Planet Money, a co-production of NPR and This American Life. He also writes the weekly "It's the Economy" column for the New York Times Magazine. Davidson has won several major awards including the Peabody, DuPont-Columbia, and the Polk. He has also written for the Atlantic, Harper's, GQ, and Rolling Stone.

Jessica Dimmock
Jessica Dimmock, a photographer and filmmaker, won the Best Cinematography Award at the Hamptons International Film Festival for the movie Without, which she also produced.

Randal Doane
Randal Doane, an assistant dean of studies at Oberlin College who writes periodically about The Clash and other rock rebels, has published widely in the field of cultural studies. His scholarly publications include studies of Ralph Ellison’s adventures in Marxism, ex-punks taking up swing dancing, and the political economy and neurophysiology of illegal file-sharing. He earned his PhD from the Graduate Center’s sociology department in 2003.

Ed Glaeser
Ed Glaeser is the Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics at Harvard, where he also serves as director of the Taubman Center for State and Local Government and the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston. Specializing in the economics of cities, including growth, segregation, crime, and housing markets, Glaseser has been particularly interested in the role that geographic proximity plays in creating knowledge and innovation. 

Philip Glass
Philip Glass has had an extraordinary impact upon the musical and intellectual life of his times through more than twenty operas, eight symphonies, numerous concertos, compositions for his own ensemble, film soundtracks, and wide-ranging collaborations with leading rock, pop, classical, and world music artists.

Susan Glasser was recently appointed editor of long-form journalism and opinion at Politico. She is the former editor in chief of Foreign Policy. During her tenure, the magazine was honored for online general excellence by the Overseas Press Club and won three digital National Magazine Awards. Glasser spent four years as co-chief of the Washington Post's Moscow bureau.

Claudia Gonson
Claudia Gonson is a music manager and musician, best known for her work with the Magnetic Fields, with whom she records and performs as their pianist, percussionist, and occasional singer. She also sings with Future Bible Heroes, and she has played drums in the bands Tender Trap and Honeybunch. Gonson has written and performed her own music with Shirley Simms and author Rick Moody.

David Harvey
Eminent social theorist David Harvey is the world’s most cited geographer, a leading thinker in the field of urban studies, and a distinguished professor in the Graduate Center’s Ph.D. Program in Anthropology. Harvey is the author of many highly influential books, such as The New Imperialism; Social Justice and the City; The Condition of Postmodernity; and Justice, Nature, and the Geography of Difference.

Mark Jacobson
As a contributing editor for New York, Mark Jacobson has covered everything from 9/11 conspiracy theorists to New York’s top escort to the new Brooklyn. Jacobson is the author of several books, including The Lampshade: A Holocaust Detective Story from Buchenwald to New Orleans; Teenage Hipster in the Modern World; and Everyone and No One.

Kelly Anderson
Before becoming president of Simon & Schuster, Jonathan Karp was editor-in-chief of Random House, where he began his career in 1989. Among the books he has acquired and edited are Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand; The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean; In One Person by John Irving; Thank You for Smoking by Christopher Buckley; and Franklin and Winston by Jon Meacham. He has also overseen the publication of such bestsellers as Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, Obama's Wars by Bob Woodward, The Greater Journey by David McCullough and The Lost Years by Mary Higgins Clark.

William P. Kelly
William P. Kelly, before taking up his current post as interim chancellor of the City University of New York, in July 2013, served for eight years as president of the Graduate Center. A distinguished scholar of American literature, he is chairman of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the CUNY Research Foundation and has published essays and reviews in a broad range of publications, including the Times Literary Supplement, the New York Times Book Review, and the American Scholar.

Kate D. Levin
Kate D. Levin is the commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. Levin directs cultural policy for New York City, supporting and strengthening nonprofit cultural organizations through public funding, technical assistance, and advocacy. Prior to her appointment, Levin taught at the City College of New York, CUNY, worked at several New York City cultural organizations, and served in the Koch administration.

Harvey Lichtenstein
Harvey Lichtenstein was born in Brooklyn, in 1929, and is a graduate of Brooklyn College. During his tenure at BAM, from 1967 to 1999, he expanded it into a major New York City venue, supporting the work of Merce Cunningham, Twyla Tharp, Eliot Feld, Bill T. Jones, and Pina Bausch. He also brought landmark productions to BAM, such as Peter Brook's epic stage version of the Mahabharata. In 1999 President Clinton awarded him the National Medal of Arts.

Todd London
Todd London, currently in his 15th season at New Dramatists, has worked closely with more than 100 of America's leading playwrights, and he has advocated nationally and internationally for hundreds more. In addition to An Ideal Theater, London is the author of The Artistic Home and Outrageous Fortune: The Life and Times of the New American Play, and has written, edited, and contributed to 11 other books.

Travis Morrison
Travis Morrison is the lead singer and guitarist of The Dismemberment Plan, a Washington D.C.-based band that has been active since 1993. He is also the cofounder of Shoutabl, a social-networking site for artists. Well-versed in music genres from John Coltrane to German art rock, Morrison is a computer programmer as well as a guitarist.

Jake Ottmann
Jake Ottmann, who describes himself as “genre agnostic when it comes to amazing songs,” began his career as an assistant at Elektra Records, where he worked his way up to overseeing radio promotion for the alternative music roster. Today he is responsible for signing and developing new and established songwriters for the East Coast creative team of Warner/Chappell Music.

Amanda Petrusich
Amanda Petrusich is the author of It Still Moves: Lost Songs, Lost Highways, and the Search for the Next American Music and Pink Moon. She is a contributing editor to The Oxford American, and her music and culture writing have appeared in The New York Times, Spin, Pitchfork, The Atlantic, BuzzFeed, and elsewhere. She presently teaches creative writing at New York University. Her new book about 78rpm record collectors, Do Not Sell At Any Price, is forthcoming from Scribner in 2014.

Seth W. Pinsky
Seth W. Pinsky served as president of the New York City Economic Development Corporation from 2008 to 2013. Appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg seven months before the collapse of Lehman Brothers, Pinsky re-evaluated the agency’s strategy to position the city as a global center for innovation. 

Katha Pollitt
Katha Pollitt has been contributing to the Nation since 1980. Her 1992 essay on the culture wars, "Why We Read: Canon to the Right of Me," won the National Magazine Award for essays and criticism. Many of her contributions to the Nation are compiled in Reasonable Creatures; Subject to Debate; and Virginity or Death!. She has also published two collections of personal essays, Learning to Drive and Other Life Stories and The Mind-Body Problem.

Julie Powell
Julie Powell is the author of the critically acclaimed and bestselling memoir Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously, which was adapted into a major motion picture starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams.

Alisa Quart
Alissa Quart is the author of Republic of Outsiders: The Power of Amateurs, Dreamers and Rebels; Branded: The Buying and Selling of Teenagers; and Hothouse Kids. A former Nieman Fellow at Harvard, Quart has written for the New York Times Magazine, O Magazine, the Nation, Marie Claire, the Atlantic, and the Columbia Journalism Review.

Joy-Ann (“Joy”) Reid
Joy-Ann (“Joy”) Reid is the managing editor of and an on-air contributor on MSNBC. Reid has worked in television and radio news since 1998 and has appeared as a political commentator on CNBC and Britain’s Sky News.

Daniel R. Schwarz is Frederic J. Whiton Professor of English Literature and Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow at Cornell University, where he has taught since 1968. He is the author fifteen books including Endtimes? , Broadway Boogie Woogie: Damon Runyon and the Making of New York City Culture; Imagining the Holocaust; and Reading Joyce's Ulysses.

Nermeen Shaikh
Nermeen Shaikh is a broadcast news producer and weekly co-host of Democracy Now!. A former managing editor at the Asia Society, she is the author of The Present as History: Critical Perspectives on Global Power.

Eric Simonoff
Eric Simonoff began his career in 1989 as an editorial assistant at W. W. Norton. In 1991 he moved to Janklow & Nesbit Associates as a junior literary agent and became a director of the firm in 2007. Two years later he departed for William Morris Endeavor, where his clients include Pulitzer Prize winners Edward P. Jones, Jhumpa Lahiri, Stacy Schiff, and many other critically and commercially acclaimed authors from Jonathan Lethem to Bill O’Reilly.

Molly Stern
Molly Stern oversees both the hardcover and paperback trade fiction and nonfiction publishing programs at Crown Publishers. Before joining Crown, in 2010, Stern worked at Viking for fifteen years, editing a range of critically acclaimed authors including Jasper Fforde, Geraldine Brooks, Garrison Keillor, David Benioff, and Sue Monk Kidd.

Carl Swanson
Carl Swanson is editor at large for New York magazine, where he writes news and culture stories, as well as “The Approval Matrix.”

Gay Talese
Gay Talese began reporting for the New York Times in 1956. He wrote for Esquire from 1965 on, producing a series of influential pieces, many of which are collected in The Gay Talese Reader: Portraits and Encounters. Talese has written for the New Yorker, Harper’s, and Newsweek, and four of his books have been best sellers: The Kingdom and the Power (1968), Honor Thy Father, Thy Neighbor’s Wife, and Unto the Sons. His most recent book is A Writer’s Life.

Astra Taylor
Astra Taylor is a filmmaker, writer, and activist whose documentary films include Zizek! and Examined Life. Her writing has been published in n+1, the Nation, the Baffler, and the London Review of Books. She also coedits Occupy! Scenes from Occupied America and is one of the instigators of the Occupy Wall Street offshoot Strike Debt, which buys and abolishes debt for pennies on the dollar.

Wallace Mike
Mike Wallace, coauthor of the Pulitzer Prize–winning Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898, is a distinguished professor of history at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the chair of the advisory board of the Graduate Center’s Gotham Center for New York History.

Suzanne Wasserman
Suzanne Wasserman is an historian and award-winning filmmaker. Meat Hooked! premiered at the New York Food Film Festival, where it won Best Feature, and it was broadcast on the PBS series America ReFramed. Wasserman is director of the Gotham Center for New York City History at the Graduate Center.

Jacob Weisberg
Jacob Weisberg is chairman of The Slate Group, overseeing Slate, The Root, and the video site Slate V. Weisberg is the author of In Defense of Government and The Bush Tragedy, and coauthor with former Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin of In an Uncertain World. Previously a writer and editor at the New Republic, he joined Slate in 1996 as chief political correspondent and served as its editor from 2002 to 2008.

Ben Williams
Ben Williams is editorial director of New York Media’s digital properties:, the online outpost of New York magazine; Vulture; Grub Street; and TheCut. Under his leadership, the sites have won six National Magazine Awards, including three for General Excellence, and contributed to New York’s 2013 win for Magazine of the Year.

Mason Williams
Mason B. Williams is a Bernard and Irene Schwartz postdoctoral fellow at the New-York Historical Society and the New School. Williams earned a Ph.D. in 2012 at Columbia University, where his doctoral thesis (the basis for City of Ambition) won the Bancroft Dissertation Prize.