Urbanism is a global phenomenon, presenting us with a range of pressing issues to consider: economic, political, and material—but most of all human.

The Radcliffe Institute's thematic year was designed to stimulate a broad-based discussion about “the urban” in the 21st century, a much more complicated concept than 19th- and 20th-century cities.

The initiative centered on a partnership between the Radcliffe Institute and the Harvard-Mellon Urban Initiative. The joint effort culminated in the 2016–2017 academic year, although additional programming across Harvard University began earlier, with support from a four-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Through lectures, conferences, exhibitions, performances, fellowships, seminars, and archival research, the initiative took a multidisciplinary and international approach to explore the challenges and tensions that people in urban communities face today.


Associated Events

Over the course of the academic year, the Radcliffe Institute partners with units across Harvard University to sponsor or highlight a series of programs related to the Institute’s urbanism initiative.

October 7, 2016
MOBILE LECTURE
Decode a City Block
Noel Michelle Holbrook, Charles Bullard Professor of Forestry and professor of organismic and evolutionary biology, Harvard University; Stephen Gray, assistant professor of urban design, Harvard University Graduate School of Design; Andy Graydon, independent artist and visiting professor, Tufts University School of the Museum of Fine Arts; Valentino Robinson, director of community affairs, Cambridge Community Center, and lifelong resident, Cambridgeport
Organized by Adam Tanaka RIGF ’17, doctoral candidate in urban planning, Harvard University

November 15, 2016
LECTURE
Organized Complexity: The Novel and the City
Garth Risk Hallberg, author, City on Fire (Knopf, 2015)
In conversation with Claire Messud RI ’05, author, The Woman Upstairs (Knopf, 2013) and The Emperor’s Children (Knopf, 2006), and senior lecturer on fiction, Harvard University
Moderated by Lizabeth Cohen, dean, Radcliffe Institute, and Howard Mumford Jones Professor of American Studies, Harvard University
*Video online

Lizabeth Cohen, Garth Risk Hallberg, and Claire Messud. Photo by Tony RinaldoLizabeth Cohen, Garth Risk Hallberg, and Claire Messud. Photo by Tony Rinaldo
February 1–March 5, 2017
EXHIBITION
Under-Writing Beirut–Ouzaï
Lamia Joreige, independent artist (Lebanon); 2016–2017 Rita E. Hauser Fellow, Radcliffe Institute
*Video of opening lecture online

Major Jackson. Photo by Kevin GradyMajor Jackson. Photo by Kevin GradyMarch 9, 2017
READING
Urban Renewal: A Poetry Reading and Discussion with Major Jackson
Major Jackson RI ’07, poet; Richard A. Dennis University Distinguished Professor, University of Vermont; poetry editor, Harvard Review
This event was part of the Roosevelt Poetry Readings at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The Roosevelt Poetry Readings are made possible by a donor gift that will help bring poets of recognized stature to the Institute.
*Video online

April 18–19, 2017
WALKING TOURS
“Boston Street Art and Graffiti”
Rob Larsen, graffiti artist (REACT), writer, speaker, and front-end engineer

April 20, 2017
MASTERCLASS
Voicing the City: A Journey through Song
Edward Elwyn Jones, Gund University Organist and Choirmaster, Memorial Church, and curator of the University organs
Featuring undergraduate singers from the Harvard College Opera Society and in conjunction with their spring recital

Xaviera Simmons. Photo by Kevin GradyXaviera Simmons. Photo by Kevin GradyApril 26–July 1, 2017
EXHIBITION
Overlay
Xaviera Simmons, multimedia artist
Organized by Yukio Lippit, Johnson-Kulukundis Family Faculty Director of the Arts, Radcliffe Institute; professor of history of art and architecture, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Free and open to the public
Johnson-Kulukundis Family Gallery, Byerly Hall, 8 Garden Street, Radcliffe Yard
Monday–Saturday, noon–5 PM
Gallery talks and tours will take place in May and June. Please see our website for details.
*Video online of exhibition opening discussion.

April 28, 2017
CONFERENCE
Intersections: Understanding Urbanism in the Global Age
Urbanism is a global phenomenon, presenting us with a range of pressing issues to consider—economic, political, and material, but most of all human. Our conference is designed to stimulate a broad-based discussion about “the urban” in the 21st century, a much more complicated concept than 19th- and 20th-century cities. This change has been much studied by social scientists, but we often overlook how these new urban centers are being experienced by their inhabitants. This Radcliffe Institute conference will take a multidisciplinary and international approach to explore the challenges and tensions that people in urban communities face today.
*Video online

Intersections conference. Photo by Kevin GradyIntersections conference. Photo by Kevin Grady

April 28, 2017
SPRING RECITAL
Voicing the City: A Journey through Song
Harvard College Opera Society
Free and open to the public
Memorial Church, Harvard Yard
7 PM; reception follows


Associated Exploratory Seminars and Workshops

Exploratory seminars and workshops, led by Harvard ladder faculty and/or Radcliffe Institute fellows, bring together scholars, practitioners, and artists from Harvard University and around the world to undertake risk-taking inquiry into new ideas and research.

May 2016
“Urban Intermedia: The City between Experience and Information”
Julie A. Buckler, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Eve Blau, Harvard Graduate School of Design
Erik Ghenoiu, Harvard Mellon Urban Initiative

November 2016
“Territories of Social Justice: Violence, Ruptures, and the Mapping of New Spatial Claims”
Mona Fawaz RI ’15, American University of Beirut (Lebanon)
Hiba Bou Akar, Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation

December 2016
“Causes and Consequences of Decision-Making in Urban Contexts” (Boston Area Research Initiative workshop)
Robert J. Sampson, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences

March 2017
“Predictive Cities: Leveraging New Data and Methods to Improve Urban Quality of Life”
Edward Glaeser, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Scott Kominers, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Mike Luca, Harvard Business School

April 2017
“Design Anthropology: Landscapes and Cities”
Gareth Doherty, Harvard University Graduate School of Design
Steven Caton, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences

April 2017
“Urban Fieldwork for Humanists and Interdisciplinarians”
Julie A. Buckler, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences

April 2017
“Data, Design, Decision”
Charles Waldheim, Harvard Graduate School of Design
Helen Kongsgaard, Harvard Graduate School of Design
Robert Pietrusko, Harvard Graduate School of Design

April 2017
“Operational Guidance to Overcome Trafficking among Urban Migrants during Humanitarian Crises”
Hanni Marie Stoklosa, Harvard Medical School
Cathy Zimmerman, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

May 2017
"Conversations on Ecological Urbanism in Latin America"
Gareth Doherty, Harvard Graduate School of Design


Visiting Scholars

Sooni Taraporevala
Photographer; award-winning screenwriter, Mississippi Masala, Salaam Bombay!, and The Namesake; and director, Little Zizou
April 25–April 28, 2017

Oded Grajew
Cofounder, World Social Forum; former president, Ethos Institute for Business and Social Responsibility; and general coordinator, Program on Sustainable Cities (Brazil)
May 1–May 6, 2017


Related Radcliffe Institute Fellows

Asad L. Asad
2016–2017 Radcliffe Institute Graduate Student Fellow
Sociology
Living in the Shadows? Reconsidering How Immigrants Experience Enforcement Policy

Rebecca Louise Carter
2016–2017 Radcliffe Institute Fellow
Brown University
Anthropology
Prayers for the People: Homicide and Humanity in the Crescent City

Lizzy Cooper Davis
2016–2017 Radcliffe Institute Graduate Student Fellow
African American Studies
Making Movement Sounds: The Freedom Songs of the Civil Rights Movement and the Cultural Politics of Race

Rebecca Dirksen
Indiana University
Musicology
Un/Sound Music, Un/Stable Ground: Music, Disaster, and Development in Haiti

Zaid Jabri
2016–2017 Rieman and Baketel Fellow for Music
Independent Composer (Poland)
Music
Cities of Salt: Opera in Three Acts

Lamia Joreige
2016–2017 Rita E. Hauser Fellow
Independent Artist (Lebanon)
Visual Arts
Under-Writing Beirut—Ouzaï

Jal Mehta
2016–2017 Evelyn Green Davis Fellow
Harvard Graduate School of Education
Education
The Chastened Dream: Social Science, Social Policy, and Social Progress across the 20th Century

Khalil Gibran Muhammad
Suzanne Young Murray Professor at the Radcliffe Institute
Harvard Kennedy School
History
Disappearing Acts: The End of White Criminality before the War on Drugs

Tulasi Srinivas
Emerson College
Anthropology
Worlds of Wonder: Ritual Creativity and Ethical Life in India

Adam Tanaka
2016–2017 Radcliffe Institute Graduate Student Fellow
Urban and Regional Planning
Private Projects, Public Ambitions: Large-Scale, Middle-Income Housing in New York City

 

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