David Hochfelder, PhD
History Department, University at Albany, SUNY
Describe your current research. What about it drew your interest?
My current research is on the history of urban renewal, in particular, a public/digital history of urban renewal in New York State we’re calling Picturing Urban Renewal. I and my two colleagues, Ann Pfau and Stacy Sewell, have received three National Endowment for the Humanities grants to advance this project. We will apply for production funding in June 2022. What drew us into the project was the rich visual record that urban renewal projects left behind. This allows us to tell a social and public history of urban renewal and to convey the experiences of the people who were affected by these projects.
- Our prototype development site (very much a work in progress) is at http://dev.picturingurbanrenewal.org/
- Our blog specific to Albany is here: https://98acresinalbany.wordpress.com/
- For a brief description of our approach to urban renewal, go here: https://inclusivehistorian.com/urban-renewal/
What you are currently teaching? How does your teaching relate to your scholarship?
I direct our department’s Public History program and have taught courses at the MA and undergrad levels. Our project is resolutely public history, and my experience teaching in our program has definitely shaped our approach and goals for it.
What recent or forthcoming publications are you excited about, either of your own or from other scholars?
Lizabeth Cohen’s recent biography of Ed Logue, Paige Glotzer’s recent book How the Suburbs Were Segregated, and several websites: University of Richmond’s American Panorama data visualization project and a great mapping project on restrictive covenants in Washington, DC: https://www.mappingsegregationdc.org/.
What advice would you give to students, both undergraduate and graduate, who are interested in urban studies and just starting out their careers?
If you’re interested in urban history, take a few urban planning courses, at least to get acquainted with how the planning profession thinks about cities and the people who inhabit them. And get to know places on foot.
Member of the Week series co-editor Alec Dawson continues the conversation with Dave Hochfelder in this audio interview, with a discussion about his unusual career into the Historical Profession and his current work on Urban Renewal programs.