ARC Seminar: Joseph Heathcott

Thursday, April 27, 2023

4:00 pm — 5:30 pm

Hybrid (see description for details)

Open to the Public

"Subtraction: Urban Landscapes and the Legacies of Racial Capitalism"

Admission Price



In-Person: Registration not required.  

Online: Register here (to participate in this and other ARC Seminars via Zoom). 

This is a hybrid event. 
Participants may choose to attend in-person at the CUNY Graduate Center, Room 5318, or online via Zoom (link provided upon registration).  

In this seminar, I will discuss subtraction as a major component of urban life in the American rustbelt, and place it within the long ambit of racial capitalism. I will look at the combined effects of capital flight and racial segregation in housing, employment, transportation, and schools, particularly as these shape outcomes on the landscape. Over the past four decades, these forces have combined to accelerate disinvestment and the withdraw of private and public capital from inner city communities, leaving behind abandoned factories and homes, vacant parcels, crumbling infrastructure, and large contiguous expanses of untenanted land. Such distressed, dissembled, and neglected landscapes take a massive toll on the communities that live there. For the purposes of the seminar, I will present a selection of 'parcel biographies,' that is, histories of now vacant properties and how they came to be that way. At stake are fundamental questions not only about the iterative forces of racism and capitalism, but what modes of repair are possible in such thoroughly disinvested communities.

Joseph Heathcott is the Chair of Urban and Environmental Studies at The New School.  His work explores cities within a global, comparative perspective.  Much of his work over the past decade has been to connect humanities and social sciences with practice fields such as architecture, planning, policy, and urban design.  He is the author of Global Queens: An Urban Mosaic, forthcoming from Fordham University Press's Empire State Series, and with Angela Dietz, Capturing the City: Photographs from Streets of St. Louis (Missouri History Museum and University of Chicago Press, 2016).  He is also the editor of three volumes: The Routledge Handbook on Infrastructure Designs: Global Perspectives from Architectural History (Routledge 2022); with Jonathan Soffer and Rae Zimmerman, Urban Infrastructure: Historical and Social Dimensions of an Interconnected World (University of Pittsburgh 2022); and with Jeff Cowie, Beyond the Ruins: The Meanings of Deindustrialization (Cornell University Press 2003).  In addition to his scholarship, he is a practicing curator and artist, and has exhibited his work at the Museum of the City of New York, the Queens Museum, MIT Galleries, Town Hall Galleries in Stuttgart, and the Museo Banco de México in Mexico City.  He has also held numerous visiting positions, including: the U.S. Fulbright Distinguished Chair for the United Kingdom; Senior Visiting Scholar at the London School of Economics; the Mellon Distinguished Fellowship in Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities at Princeton University School of Architecture; and Senior Visiting Scholar at L'École Urbanine, Sciences Po. Heathcott is past President of the Society for American City and Regional Planning History, and currently serves as Associate Editor of the Journal of the American Planning Association.  



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