In 1950, New York was the capital of the world and the greatest city on earth. In 1975, it was in decline, industry and corporations were leaving, white flight was in full flower, crime was rising, and the city was technically bankrupt. In 2010, the city was once again on top, with population gains in the hundreds of thousands, with declining crime, rising property values, and record-breaking tourism. The talk will analyze these shifts and make predictions about the future.
Prof. Kenneth Jackson is Director of the Herbert H. Lehman Center for the Study of American History and the Jacques Barzun Professor of History and the Social Sciences at Columbia University. He has served as president of the Society of American Historians (1998-2000), and the New York Historical Society (2001-2004), as well as other esteemed historical organizations. He has been a Fulbright Lecturer in Germany, Australia, and Japan, and has lectured at hundreds of colleges, universities, civic groups, and historical societies around the world, as well as been a featured guest on the NBC Today Show, ABC World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, CNN, and more than forty documentary productions. He has won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and has been awarded the New-York Historical Society's Pintard-Benson Centennial Medal, Columbia University's Nicholas Murray Butler Medal, the New York Post's Liberty Medal, and numerous other honors & awards.
Professor Jackson is the general editor of the Columbia History of Urban Life, twenty volumes of which had appeared as of 2013. Professor Jackson’s publication, Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States (Oxford, 1985), won both the Francis Parkman and the Bancroft Prizes, and the New York Times chose it as one of the notable books of the year.
Professor Jackson is the editor-in-chief of the iconic Encyclopedia of New York City, which was initially published in 1995 by Yale University Press. Assisted by an army of editors and almost seven hundred individual authors, he worked for thirteen years to create the first major reference tool for the giant metropolis in almost a century. It was reprinted seven times and received several awards for reference excellence. According to the New York Times, “no one with even a passing interest in New York will be able to live without it.”
Although he has been welcomed to Windsor Castle by Queen Elizabeth II, to the White House by President Clinton, and to the Governor's Mansion in Albany by George Pataki, Professor Jackson is most at home in the subways, back streets, and gritty neighborhoods of New York City, where he has been leading all-night bicycle rides, three-hour walking tours, and all-day bus trips for decades. At Columbia, he teaches courses in urban, social, and military history. In 1989, the students of the college honored him as teacher of the year and gave him their 28th annual Mark Van Doren Award for “humanity, devotion to truth, and inspiring leadership.” In 2001, the New York Council for the Humanities selected him as New York State Scholar of the Year.