Oct/13 Lecture
Joshua Jelly-Schapiro and Derek Alderman. Moderated by Brent D. Ryan

Joshua Jelly-Schapiro and Derek Alderman

2021 Urbanism Fall Lecture Series
Wednesday, 13-October 1:00 – 2:00 PM EST

Co-hosted by the City Design & Development Program (CDD), SMArchS Urbanism Program and Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism at MIT.

This lecture will be streamed online here. The webcast link includes a section where you can submit questions to the speaker for the Q&A period in real time

Please join us for a panel discussion on critical toponymy: on the acknowledgment of racialized and gendered place names, and on the emerging movement toward an inclusive and equitable landscape of commemoration in our cities, towns, and spaces. Derek Alderman of the University of Tennessee’s Department of Geography will discuss the collaborative I-NAME Initiative that is working to both reflect on histories and to recast place naming as a participatory process. And writer and geographer Joshua Jelly-Schapiro will speak to New York City’s rich ethnic mosaic of cultures and their relationship to place names, a relationship insightfully and incisively explored in his new book Names of New York (Pantheon, 2021). Both guests will give a short presentation of their work followed by a discussion moderated with Brent D. Ryan of DUSP, and conversation with the audience.

Joshua Jelly-Schapiro and Derek Alderman. Moderated by Brent D. Ryan

Joshua Jelly-Schapiro is a geographer and writer whose work often focuses on race, place, and culture. He is the author of Island People: The Caribbean and the World (Knopf, 2016) and the co-editor, with Rebecca Solnit, of Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas (California, 2016). His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, Harper's, The Believer, Artforum, Transition, and The Nation, among many other publications. He earned his PhD in geography at UC-Berkeley, where his thesis was awarded the Best Dissertation Award from the Caribbean Studies Association, and he is the recipient of fellowships from the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, and the American Council of Learned Societies. He was also the co-recipient, for Nonstop Metropolis, of the 2017 Brendan Gill Prize from the Municipal Art Society, awarded annually for an artwork in any medium that “best captures, the energy, vigor and verve of New York City.” Currently a visiting scholar at the Institute for Public Knowledge, Jelly-Schapiro is also on the teaching faculty at NYU's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. 

Derek Alderman is a Professor and former Department Head in Geography, University of Tennessee. Derek’s interests are cultural and historical geography with a specific focus on landscapes of public memory, race, heritage tourism, social/spatial justice, critical place name studies, and politics of geographic mobility and travel–all with the goal of advancing our understanding of the African American Freedom Struggle and the southeastern United States.

Much of Derek’s work focuses on the histories, memory-work, commemorative activism, and place-making efforts of African Americans as they assert and claim their right to be seen, heard, and belong within public spaces, and their power to remember the past and shape the American landscape on their own terms.

Their work has spanned many aspects of the southern experience, including Civil Rights memorials (esp. streets named for Dr. King), slavery and plantation museum tourism sites, NASCAR, Elvis geographies, Black travel during the Jim Crow era, Mayberry and film tourism, Hurricane Katrina tattoos, BBQ tourism, and even the cultural geography of kudzu.

Brent D. Ryan is Head of the City Design and Development Group and Associate Professor of Urban Design and Public Policy in MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning. His research focuses on the aesthetics and policies of contemporary urban design, particularly with respect to current and pressing issues like deindustrialization and climate change. Professor Ryan’s first book Design After Decline: How America rebuilds shrinking cities, was selected by Planetizen as one of its ten best urban planning books of 2012, and his second book, The Largest Art, was published by MIT Press in 2017.

Professor Ryan’s research has been published in the Journal of Urban Design, Journal of Urbanism, Journal of Planning History, Urban Design International, Urban Morphology, and the Journal of the American Planning Association, which awarded his article “Reading Through A Plan” its best article of 2011. Professor Ryan has also written numerous chapters for books including The Routledge Companion to Urban Design, Second Edition; The City After Abandonment; Urban Landscape; The Oxford Handbook of Urban Planning; Rethinking Global Urbanism; and Urban Megaprojects: A Worldwide View.

Professor Ryan is currently conducting research in China, examining the urban design dimensions of emerging shrinking cities, and the urban design futures of new town expansion projects. Professor Ryan is also working in Ukraine with the architectural, arts, and planning collective Urban Curators on a study of post-industrial Kyiv, and is in Year Three of a study of sustainability in Siberian cities, funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation. He is also initiating a study of post-industrial space along the Hooghly river in Kolkata, India, in collaboration with IIT Kharagpur.

Prior to joining MIT, Professor Ryan taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he was also Co-Director of the City Design Center. Professor Ryan holds a B.S. in biology from Yale University (1991), a M. Arch. from Columbia University (1994), and a Ph.D. in urban design and planning from MIT (2002).