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March 27, 2008

SOCIAL THEORIST AND CUNY DISTINGUISHED PROFESSOR DAVID HARVEY TO DELIVER LEWIS MUMFORD LECTURE AT CCNY APRIL 3

NEW YORK, March 27, 2008 – Dr. David Harvey, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the CUNY Graduate Center and internationally recognized social theorist, will present the Fifth Annual Lewis Mumford Lecture on Urbanism 6 p.m. Thursday, April 3, in The Great Hall, Shepard Hall, of The City College of New York (CCNY). 

The event, organized by the Graduate Program in Urban Design of the CCNY School of Architecture, Urban Design and Landscape Architecture, was made possible this year by the generous support of the Office of CCNY President Dr. Gregory H. Williams. The lecture is free and open to the public. No reservations are necessary.

Professor Harvey’s lecture, titled “The Right to the City,” will examine who gets to exercise this precious right and how. Under capitalism, there has been a long-standing conflict between a view of cities as centers for profit making and capital accumulation and another that sees them as utopian spaces of human interaction. 

While the former has prevailed, Professor Harvey will ask how the right to the city can be restored to the people. Such questions need to be addressed by all who seek a more humane and ecologically sensitive urbanism for the 21st Century, he contends.

Professor Harvey is recognized as the world’s most cited academic geographer. His many books and essays have been prominent in the development of modern geography as a discipline and his work has contributed greatly to broad social and political debate. Most recently, he has been credited with bringing back social class as a serious methodological tool in the critique of global capitalism, particularly in its neoliberal form.

Born in England and educated at University of Cambridge, where he earned a Ph.D. in Geography in 1961, Dr, Harvey has been Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the CUNY Graduate Center since 2001. Earlier in his career, he held faculty positions at The Johns Hopkins University (1969-1987 and 1993-2001), University of Oxford (1987-1993) and University of Bristol (1961-1969).

When he moved from England to the United States to teach at Johns Hopkins, Professor Harvey positioned himself centrally in the then-emerging field of racial and Marxist geography. He drew upon the injustice, racism and exploitation that were visible in Baltimore as well as the activism around these issues in the early 1970s.

In “Social Justice and the City” (Edward Arnold Ltd. 1973), he argued that geography could not remain objective in the face of urban poverty and associated ills. By 2005, the book had been cited over 1,000 times in academic writings and is considered a significant contribution to Marxian theory with its contention that capitalism annihilates space to ensure its own reproduction.

While at Oxford, Professor Harvey wrote the bestseller “The Condition of Postmodernity” (Basil Blackwell 1989), which was a materialist assault on postmodern ideas and arguments. The “London Independent” named it one of the 50 most important works of nonfiction published since 1945.

In 2003, he wrote “New Imperialism” (Oxford University Press), a blistering critique of U.S. military action post-9/11, in which he argues that the war in Iraq enabled U.S. neoconservatives to divert attention from the failures of capitalism “at home.” One of his newest works, “A Brief History of Neoliberalism” (Oxford University Press, 2005), argues that the neoliberalized global political economy system benefits few at the expense of many and creates class distinction through “accumulation by dispossession.”

His other books include: “Explanation in Geography” (St. Martin’s Press 1969), “The Limits to Capital” (University of Chicago Press 1982), “The Urban Experience” (Basil Blackwell 1989), “Spaces of Hope” (University of California Press 2000) and “Paris, Capital of Modernity” (Routledge 2003). In all, Professor Harvey has author or editor credits on 17 published books.

He also holds honorary doctorates from Roskilde University (Denmark), University of Buenos Aires (Argentina), Uppsala University (Sweden) and The Ohio State University (United States). Other awards Professor Harvey has received include the Anders Retzius Golf Medal of the Swedish Anthropological and Geographical Societies, The Patron’s Medal of the Royal Geographical Society (United Kingdom) and France’s Vautrin Lud International Prize in Geography. In 2007, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

About The Lewis Mumford Lecture

Named for writer, architecture critic and urbanist Lewis Mumford, who attended City College, the series invites the world’s most distinguished urbanists to speak freely and publicly about the future of cities.  The series was initiated and is organized by the Graduate Program in Urban Design in The City College of New York School of Architecture, Urban Design and Landscape Architecture. Jane Jacobs, author of several seminal books on urbanism, including The Death and Life of Great American Cities, delivered the first lecture in 2004.  For more information about The Lewis Mumford Lecture, contact Kathleen Sheridan at kms@ccny.cuny.edu or Distinguished Professor Michael Sorkin, Director of the Graduate Program in Urban Design, at msorkin@ccny.cuny.edu.

About The City College of New York

For more than160 years, The City College of New York has provided low-cost, high-quality education for New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. Over 14,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; The School of Architecture, Urban Design and Landscape Architecture (SAUDLA); The School of Education; The Grove School of Engineering, and The Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education. For additional information, visit www.ccny.cuny.edu.

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