NYC Seminar Course Offerings
From the Classroom to the Streets: Course Offerings
Learn to live in—and love!—your new community in one of these engaging and interactive seminars that immerse you in the best that NYC has to offer.
Explore some of our Fall 2023 Seminars:
New York City and its urban fabric have long inspired both visual and aural artists. This class will examine the physical experience of the “city of ambition” as expressed in fine art, music, and film—in particular, the brilliant interpretation of New York’s architecture and its unparalleled street culture in the work of artists, musicians, and filmmakers such as Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Walter De Maria, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Billie Holliday, Madonna, Lou Reed, Public Enemy, Nas, Taylor Swift, Woody Allen, Spike Lee, and Martin Scorsese. The course will involve visits to museums and galleries, architectural walks, and film screenings.
From the rooftop of the Metropolitan Museum of Art to the High Line and the commercial galleries of Chelsea, we wind our way through the haunts and habitats of the contemporary New York art scene. We explore the legacy of Andy Warhol’s Factory along with the newest pocket galleries of the lower east side, the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, Westbeth, and the Abrons Arts Center. Meet artists in their studios, curators, and dealers in their galleries and critics in their lairs. Students use sketchbooks/journals as the repositories of their curatorial curiosity. Films of artists along with readings of art reviews from The New York Times, The New Yorker, artcritical.com, and selections of artists’ statements and writings augment the class experience.
From Nella Larsen and Dorothy Parker to Lena Dunham and Jacqueline Woodson, New York City has existed sometimes as a powerful ideal and sometimes as a painful reality for 20th and 21st-century women writers. Many of these authors have struggled to make ends meet in a city that offers endless potential for excitement, opportunity, and experience. In this course, we will read and look at texts representing some common themes including work, love, friendship, and sex. Some of the authors whose works we might explore include Julia Alvarez, Jacqueline Woodson, Nella Larsen, Erica Jong, Vivian Gornick, Betty Smith, Gabrielle Bell, Anya Ulinich, and Nora Ephron. Among several outings, students will have the opportunity to experience firsthand the starting place of some of New York’s literary women when we take a trip to the Lower East Side to visit the Nuyorican Poets Café and experience a spoken word poetry performance.
As the most populous city in the United States, New York is a complex urban ecosystem. In this seminar, students learn about various aspects of science and technology using NYC as a case study. Through field trips, lectures, and readings, students explore the science of the urban landscape, as well as the particular environmental challenges faced by NYC. Our class will unfold in various urban green spaces, including the lawns and woods of Central Park, and around local waterways large and small. Field trips include visits to the old High Bridge aqueduct, the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, the Hudson River, and a Brooklyn recycling facility. By documenting these experiences, students will deepen their understanding of the relationship of our great city to its natural environment. Students will also learn how to analyze, interpret, and present scientific data using publicly available environmental health statistics on NYC.gov.
This New York City Seminar will usher students on a journey through the multifaceted nature of childhood in New York City. Students will have an opportunity to visit Sesame Street Workshop, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, Children’s Time Square Attractions and to hear from childhood experts in the areas of motherhood, family law, social policy, and disability. Students will learn rich theories of child development along their journey and will integrate their academic and experiential learning in the course into a final creative NYC project.
New Yorkers, contrary to popular belief, actually converse quite a lot with one another and with strangers. From subway platforms and parks to museums and public lectures, one can overhear a multitude of lively exchanges of ideas. This course begins with the study of the paradigmatic interlocutor—Socrates—whose famous conversations in Athenian public spaces are recounted in Plato’s dialogues. As he raised issues of urgency for his fellow citizens to consider, we too shall become acquainted with matters of the common good through readings in philosophy, literature, history, and political science. We will also “go peripatetic”—that is, take to the streets and various venues of NYC—to observe, participate in, and create conversations of our own in and about New York.
In this seminar, we will explore New York City as one of the food capitals of the world. Through readings, discussions, and class outings, we will come to understand how the history of New York City can be told through food, from diverse ethnic cuisines brought to the city by waves of immigrants to contemporary social, economic, and political issues involved in meeting the challenges of feeding all New Yorkers. We will visit local neighborhoods, restaurants and markets, talk to those who procure and prepare our foods, and in doing so, come to understand how our food practices contribute to our sense of individual and collective identities.
New York City is one of the most vibrant and diverse cities in the world and, as the gateway for the nation’s new arrivals, New York is also a city of immigrants. In every corner of this city there are people from as far away as Angola, China, Mexico, Finland, Tibet, and Zimbabwe—almost every country on earth is represented here. Not only do immigrants come from all over, they also make up a huge portion of the city’s population—more than one in three people in New York City come from another country. Immigrants affect the make-up of neighborhoods and communities, they contribute to the rich cuisine and cultural offerings in the city, their presence changes the race and ethnic make-up of different parts of New York, and they alter mainstream institutions in the city in many ways. Why do people come to New York City and why do so many stay? What is the impact of the large scale immigration on the city itself? How does immigration shape the city over time? This course will explore these questions and many more and immerse you in the rich history of immigration to New York, today and through history, and introduce you to its many diverse immigrant communities, cuisines, and culture.
To be a New Yorker is to live in the city. The restaurants are your kitchen, the bars your living room, and the parks your backyard. But when land is precious and space limited, what are the politics of public design? As urban explorers, we’ll discuss the razing of Hell’s Kitchen to create Lincoln Center, learn about the power of Robert Moses while visiting Flushing Meadow, assess the economics of fun while touring the Coney Island boardwalk, consider Brooklyn gentrification while historically mapping the Barclays Center neighborhood, and trace the evolution of Central Park from 19th-century leisure greens, to 20th-century crime forest, and back. Together we’ll uncover the hidden histories of our shared spaces, how place makes us who we are, and how we make those places home.
New York City is a pre-eminent international hub for fashion that attracts entrepreneurs and designers from around the world. From elite fashion houses such as Bergdorf Goodman and Tiffany’s to Chinatown and street fashion, the course will explore the fashion industry in New York City. Field trips, events, documentaries, readings, and reflection, will provide an overview of the fashion industry and its economic, technological, and social development in the US and NY City since WWII. Using examples from the fashion industry, the course will focus on changes brought by globalization and technology, and the interrelationship between various businesses that comprise the industry; fashion forecasting, design and merchandising, and retail fashion marketing.