Professor Joseph Heathcott

Visiting Fellow - Tate/TrAIN Fulbright Distinguished Chair


Professor Joseph Heathcott

I study the American metropolis and its diverse cultures, institutions, and environments within a comparative and global perspective. My main interest is in the public role of scholarship and teaching, and the civic engagement of students and teachers in the world around them.

I grew up in a declining industrial city. My neighborhood was wedged in between gas stations, liquor stores, train tracks, machine shops, trucking terminals, and a housing project. From an early age I hopped empty freight trains to ride across town, and explored abandoned factories on my bicycle with friends. These experiences left a deep impression on me, and led to an abiding interest in how cities are put together, and how they come apart.

I am a first-generation college student; since I was 14 years old, I have held jobs as a roofer, dishwasher, carpenter, fry cook, desk clerk, community organizer, teaching assistant, and professor. I taught at Indiana University, Washington University, and Saint Louis University before joining the faculty at The New School. In addition to my work as an educator, researcher, and writer, I also maintain an active curatorial practice.

Over the years I have worked with many city agencies and non-profits devoted to historic preservation, affordable housing development, labor and tenants rights. I have been fortunate enough to be invited to many places to give lectures on issues ranging from public housing to industrial policy, neighborhood organizing, preservation, and urban design. I have also contributed time and expertise as a project consultant, grant reviewer, and design studio critic at Washington University, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Ohio State University.

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