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Marshall Berman to Present Lewis Mumford Lecture May 2

Marshall Berman

City College turns to one of its own to present the Ninth Annual Lewis Mumford Lecture on Urbanism: Distinguished Professor of Political Science Marshall Berman, who will speak 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 2, in The Great Hall, Shepard Hall. His topic will be “Emerging From the Ruins.” The talk is free and open to the public.

A philosopher and urbanist, Professor Berman will speak to how much of urban creativity grows out of urban disaster and disintegration. As examples, he will cite New York, which has undergone a remarkable recovery since its fiscal crisis of the 1970s, and Paris, which was burned down in the 19th century, but rose to become the capital of world modernism in the 20th century. He will also discuss the role of the process he calls “urbicide” or murder of a city.

Professor Berman grew up in a South Bronx neighborhood that was destroyed to make way for the Cross Bronx Expressway. A graduate of Columbia University, he holds a PhD from Harvard University and serves on the editorial board of “Dissent” magazine. In addition, he is a regular contributor to “The Nation,” “New York Review of Books,” “Bennington Review,” “New Left Review,” “New Politics” and the “Village Voice Literary Supplement.”

He is the author of several books, the most influential being “All that is Solid Melts Into Air,” published in 1982, which explores the meaning of modernity for the individual in several different cultures. It has been translated into more than a dozen languages including Farsi, Chinese, Polish and Hebrew.

His other books include:

•  “The Politics of Authenticity,” (1970) about the theme of self-alienation and self-development as it is first imagined in the Enlightenment.

•  “Adventures in Marxism,” (1999) which explores the writings of Marx and such intellectuals as Herbert Marcuse, Edmund Wilson and Isaac Babel, who have wrestled with the meaning of Marxism in the 20th century.

•  “On the Town,” (2006) an exploration of urbanism through “100 years of spectacle” in and around Times Square.

Currently he is working on a book called “The Romance of Public Space,” which will begin with the ancient Greeks and the Bible and cover various periods of modern city life, culminating with the Occupy Wall Street movement.

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 Spitzer School of 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 Distinguished Professor Michael Sorkin



Ellis Simon
p: 212.650.6460