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School of Arts & Sciences-Newark


GUS | Urban Humanities

Black and White panoramic photo of Newark's city skyline.

Urban Humanities, a New Track in Global Urban Studies

How to Apply

Coordinator, Dr. Eva Giloi,

The Urban Humanities study the socio-spatial production of cities as cultural objects. They focus on the lived experience and phenomenology of city spaces; the ways in which individuals navigate urban terrain, as well as the networks and situational identities they inhabit; and the practices and representations involved in creating urban imaginaries.



Along with taking the core courses and elective seminars in the Global Urban Studies program, students who enroll through the Urban Humanities track will choose a dissertation advisor from a variety of departments in order to specialize in their particular fields of interest: film, the arts, history, literary studies, anthropology, ethnography, architectural history and mapping. 



Sound Environments
Director, Dr. Rachel Mundy,

The Sound Environments concentration explores sound as a cultural, historical, and ecological part of urban environments. Students in the Sound Environments program might study urbanization’s effect on local wildlife, research the sociology of children’s music-sharing habits, or explore the history of city noise ordinances. The Sound Environments concentration draws on methods and ideas from a wide range of fields that include ecology, anthropology, the history of science, media studies, psychology, and critical studies of race, gender, and sexuality. The program’s applications include humanistic research, environmental science, the creation and curation of metadata in the music industry, and public policy as it relates to noise and sound.

Urban Cultures
Director, Dr. Sean T. Mitchell,

The Urban Cultures concentration employs the humanities' and humanistic social sciences' critical, aesthetic, and empirical approaches to explore how urban environments are constructed and experienced through culture. In this track, culture is broadly defined as ranging 1) from the ethnography of urban networks, the circulation of bodies and goods, and the embodiment of power; 2) through the history of everyday life in the organization of neighborhoods, the sensory experience of urban spaces, and questions of mobility and identity formation; 3) to the arts as performed in urban spaces as well as representing the city in visual and discursive forms. 


Our Graduates 

Sound and culture in global urban contexts reflect some of the most pressing social, economic, and environmental issues of the twenty-first century. Graduates of the Urban Humanities tracks can expect to pursue careers in academia or the public sector. Urban Cultures graduates prepare for careers within public history, public policy consulting, foundations, and other cultural institutions. Examples of people who build careers with the skills taught in the Sound Environments track include historians, music scholars, communication experts, audio engineers, biologists, anthropologists, sociologists, and environmental scientists.