An Urban Humanities Initiative

City Seminar

The City Seminar was founded in 2007 as a forum through which scholars across disciplines and from colleges and universities throughout the St. Louis area share ideas, research methods, theories, and topics on urban issues in the United States and abroad. The City Seminar has been especially effective in bringing Architecture, Urban Design, and Humanities scholars into regular dialogue. Since 2014, the Divided City has co-sponsored several of the following City Seminar lectures:



“The Conundrum of Gentrification: Five Questions for Historians” with Suleiman Osman

Gentrification is a conundrum. The word is one of the most controversial in American cities today. Newspaper articles and blog posts that decry or defend gentrifiers abound. Yet few agree on how to define the term, why it happens or whether it is boon or curse for cities. In recent years, gentrification has begun to receive more attention from urban historians. But to study the history of gentrification, urban historians will have to deal first with difficult questions about an increasingly contested and protean term.


April 5, 2018.

“Sense & the City with Neil Goldberg”

In this lecture and participatory workshop, artist Neil Goldberg shares his photography and video work, which documents the spaces and cadences of ordinary urban experience, and offers a series of sense-based exercises for more richly perceiving the environments we inhabit.

October 5, 2017.



“Beyond the Binary”

Liz Ogbu, Liz Ogbu is an expert on sustainable design and spatial innovation in challenged urban environments globally. She is founder and principal of Studio O, an innovation firm that works with communities in need to use the power design to deliver deep social impact.

February 16, 2017.


Politics and the City


“Politics and the City”   City Seminar 10 Year Anniversary Roundtable Discussion

Sarah Coffin, Associate Professor for the Center for Sustainability and Department of Public Policy Studies, St. Louis University

Douglas Flowe, Assistant Professor of History, Washington University

Clarissa Hayward, Associate Professor of Political Sciences and Affiliated Faculty with Urban Studies, Washington University

Jesse Vogler, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture at the Sam Fox School, Washington University.

November 10, 2016.

A recording for this lecture can be found in the Divided City Video Archive


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“Creating the Lung Block: Racial Transition and the Making of the ‘New Public Health’ in a St. Louis Neighborhood, 1907-1940.”

Taylor Desloge, Harvey Fellow in American Culture Studies and PhD Candidate in Urban History, Washington University.

April 14, 2016.

A recording for this lecture can be found in the Divided City Video Archive


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“Urbanization: Towards a New Conceptual Cartography”

Neil Brenner, Professor of Urban Theory and Director, Urban Theory Lab, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University.

February 17, 2016.

 “The Metamorphic City: Eco-urbanism and Quality of Life in Post-industrial Cities”

Catalina Freixas Assistant Professor of Architecture, Washington University.

October 22, 2015.

“At the Risk of Seeming Ridiculous: Recasting ‘Black Lives Matter’ in the Contemporary Popular Imagination”

Garret Albert Duncan, Associate Professor of Education and African and African-American Studies, Washington University.

October 8, 2015

A recording for this lecture can be found in the Divided City Video Archive