Assistant or Associate Professor, History of the Built Environment

University of Pennsylvania: Weitzman School of Design: Weitzman School of Design – City and Regional Planning

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Open Date

Sep 6, 2021


The Department of City & Regional Planning at the Stuart Weitzman School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania welcomes applications for an Assistant or Associate Professor to offer masters- and doctoral-level instruction and advising in the cross-disciplinary area of the History of the Built Environment. Scholars whose research addresses the built environment though global or transnational urban history; the histories of race, ethnicity, and colonialism; the histories of gender and sexuality; and/or urban heritage are particularly welcome to apply.

This position was created as part of the Weitzman School’s new initiative in the History of the Built Environment, which focuses particularly on the urban or metropolitan scale. The Weitzman School includes Historic Preservation, City & Regional Planning, Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Fine Arts. There is also the potential for secondary appointments with other departments across the University. This effort reflects collaborative work in urban, planning, landscape, and architectural history across the School and the larger University. It includes recruiting PhD students as Fellows in the History of the Built Environment. We also welcome the new faculty member to participate in the various research centers located at the School and University.

This position is a full-time tenure-track or tenured appointment with responsibilities for teaching, research, and administration. The successful candidate will be expected to teach lecture and seminar courses at the graduate level, including new courses in an area of specialization that suits the candidate’s research, and to advise masters and PhD students.


In their statement of interest, candidates should identify if/how their research and teaching interests connect with any of the concentrations in city planning and/or historic preservation.

Minimum qualifications: a PhD in history, American studies, history of science, city planning, historic preservation, architecture, urban studies, art history, geography, or another related field.

Candidates are encouraged to describe how underrepresented, diverse, and global perspectives are incorporated into their teaching and research. Applications from BIPOC and women candidates are strongly encouraged.

Application Instructions

Applicants should submit a statement of interest that succinctly describes their agenda for research and scholarship, a curriculum vitae, two recent publications or writing samples, a teaching statement, and the names and contact information for three references who will be contacted at a later date.

Applications should be addressed to Francesca Russello Ammon, Associate Professor, City & Regional Planning and Historic Preservation; Chair, Search Committee for the History of the Built Environment.

Review of applications will begin on October 15, 2021 and will continue until the position is filled. The position will begin on July 1, 2022, and the selected candidate will be expected to begin teaching in fall 2022.

Questions should be directed to Kate Daniel, Department Coordinator, City & Regional Planning, at:


SACRPH announces its 2021 awards competition, including prizes for the best book, dissertation, and articles in North American city and regional planning. The Laurence Gerckens Prize is awarded to an outstanding teacher-scholar in the field. Nominations for these awards are due August 1. Please see the awards competition page for further details.


Contributed by Mary Corbin Sies, President of SACRPH in 1993-94

I am so sad to report the death of my fellow scholar, SACRPHer, colleague, and friend, David Schuyler (1950-2020). David died suddenly on July 24th, 2020, at Lancaster General Hospital. He was the Arthur and Katherine Shadek Professor of the Humanities and American Studies at Franklin & Marshall College; he taught there, sometimes chairing the American Studies department, for 41 years. David served as President of SACRPH during a period of precarity for the Society. He was awarded the Society’s prestigious Laurence C. Gerckens prize for extraordinary contributions to planning history education. He also served as Associate Editor of the Journal of Planning History for 12 years.

David was a prolific writer who lived for his scholarship in his later years, after his wife Marsha died of cancer in 2002. The New Urban Landscape: The Redefinition of City Form in Nineteenth-Century America (Johns Hopkins, 1986), Apostle of Taste: Andrew Jackson Downing 1815-1852(Johns Hopkins, 1996), and A City Transformed: Redevelopment, Race, and Suburbanization in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 1940-1980 (Penn State University Press, 2002), as well as the Creating the North American Landscape Series for the Johns Hopkins University Press, for which he long served as a consulting editor, all influenced and helped me to think about my own scholarship. But he was, perhaps, better known for two books about his beloved Hudson River landscapes: Embattled River: The Hudson and Modern American Environmentalism (Cornell University Press, 2018), and Sanctified Landscape: Writers, Artists, and the Hudson River Valley, 1820-1909 (Cornell University Press, 2012). David was an expert on Frederick Law Olmsted and co-edited (with Charles Beveridge) four volumes of The Frederick Law Olmsted Papers. He also co-edited From Garden City to Green City: The Legacy of Ebenezer Howard (Johns Hopkins, 2002) and he published more than thirty articles in scholarly journals and books. This past year, David has been hard at work on an update and revision of A City Transformed. He also published a handsome historical account of the development of the Franklin & Marshall campus.

David’s career was also impressive for his dedication to service on behalf of historical commissions, sites, and boards. He served on and chaired the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Board, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, and the National Advisory Committee of Olana, the Frederick E. Church house and grounds, a New York State Historical Site. In 2018, David was awarded the Olana Partnership’s prestigious Frederick Church Award which honors “individuals who, through their vision, commitment and grasp of creative trends, make extraordinary contributions to American culture.” The award ceremony in New York City, attended by David’s mentor Kenneth Jackson (Columbia University) and the President of Franklin & Marshall College, was a highlight of his illustrious career. David was the recipient of several awards for teaching, book projects, and his general body of scholarship.

As “Professor Schuyler,” David was much beloved by his students. He adored the small liberal arts college atmosphere of Franklin & Marshall and living walking distance to campus. He sent a few students he mentored to graduate school and I was fortunate to work with two of them. David believed in getting students involved in the archive and centering classes on projects that engaged his students as generators of knowledge. He delighted in enlisting (and paying) students as researchers for his scholarly projects and encouraging them to develop online exhibitions as class projects.

David was famous for mentoring grad students and scholars just entering the profession. He met us at conferences, usually by listening to us give our first scholarly talks. He gave many of us a leg up into the profession, soliciting manuscripts for his book series, coaching us to finish and polish publications, putting us in touch with other experts or archival collections, and helping to warmly welcome us into scholarly conversations. I was one of his mentees; we met at an OAH conference in the mid-1980s. He, along with two other historians—Michael Ebner and Mark H. Rose—were the first professors outside of my university to pay attention to my work and I owe them a huge debt for encouraging my scholarship and modeling how to welcome and mentor new and emerging scholars. Over the years David and I developed a friendship, demonstrating that there could be genuine friendships in the competitive environments of academe! We were part of the group the SACRPHers that helped to shepherd the Society in its second phase of development, after SACRPH’s founder Larry Gerckens stepped down as Executive Secretary and following Genie Birch and Chris Silver’s presidencies. Several of us gathered in Castine, Maine for a few years for summer workshops focused on getting SACRPH business completed and planning the biennial meetings. The photograph (by Chris Stark) shows me, David, Domenic Vitiello, and Isabel and Chris Silver attending the Fourth of July parade in Castine during one of these SACRPH ‘rump parliaments’.

I am heartbroken that my dear friend is gone. Rest in peace, David, and thank you for helping me and so many other young professionals find our way in academe and making it a sometimes humane place to dwell.

Mary Corbin Sies, Isabel Silver, David Schuyler, Chris Silver, and Domenic Vitello


Historically, human societies have isolated outsiders and transgressors to defend themselves against perceived danger. Occasionally, we have isolated ourselves to protect others. The locales in which we have performed isolation range from elaborate complexes and stately edifices to prosaic makeshift shelters. Places of isolation, detention, and quarantine reveal often unspoken truths about the states and the societies that created them. This issue will explore the ways in which communities have preserved and remembered the liminal sites they once designed to tame and physically contain their fears.

Some places of isolation are meant to be temporary, ad-hoc responses to a single emergency. Others are carefully planned and permanent fixtures of a carceral landscape. All are shaped and reshaped by circumstance, by material exigencies, and by social, political, and cultural imperatives. What many of these sites share is a tacit collective shame: they are remembered at best as necessary evils, and at worst as monuments to inhumanity. Fortresses of the West African slave trade such as Elmina Castle on the Ghanaian coast bear witness to centuries of brutal commerce in human beings. Old prisons have been preserved as museums all over the world, from Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay to Tuol Sleng in Cambodia. Some prison camps, like Robben Island in South Africa and Devil’s Island in French Guiana, specialized in political prisoners or notorious offenders. California’s Manzanar and Tule Lake, along with eight other U.S. sites, interned Japanese-Americans during World War II. Archipelagos of refugee camps like Jenin, Jabalia, and Shatila, arose to shelter Palestinians fleeing Israeli occupation, and similar camps continue to spring up in response to waves of emigration and emergency flight after the Syrian civil war and other crises. None of these sites provokes feelings of pride.

 Other places of detention and isolation have had explicitly therapeutic purposes, including psychiatric asylums, leprosaria, lazarettoes and other quarantine facilities. Their aims have varied through space and time, but their caregiving role never superseded their fundamentally carceral function. They existed to separate the actually or potentially sick from the healthy. Their commemoration has rarely been celebratory.

We seek explorations, accounts, and analyses that go beyond mere celebration or condemnation in search of a fuller understanding of the sites and the contexts in which they took shape. We welcome contributions from all chronological and geographical contexts investigating the origin, design, function, and preservation of places of detention, isolation, and quarantine. We particularly invite articles that engage with the following questions:

  • How did this institution arise?
  • Why was this site chosen? What prompted that society to require spatial isolation at that time?
  • How do qualities of the site reflect the nature of detention, isolation, or quarantine?
  • How does the architecture of the site speak to its function?
  • How was the site used, and what does its function reveal about the society and culture that produced it?
  • How can the site or institution speak to twenty-first-century concerns about public safety, risk, contagion, and health?
  • What is the current state of the site, and what efforts have been made to preserve it?
  • Has there been contestation over the purpose of the institution, its efficacy, or its preservation?
  • How do visitors interact with the site today?
  • How does the space express particular conceptions of separation, difference, and danger reflective of the society and the era from which it emerged?

Submissions may include, but are not limited to, case studies, theoretical explorations, and evaluations of current practices or interventions. We are especially interested in papers that situate preservation practice in a larger social, cultural, and political context.

Abstracts of 200-300 words are due 15 September 2020. Authors will be notified of provisional paper acceptance by mid-October 2020. Final manuscript submissions will be due mid-March 2021.


Articles are generally restricted to 7,500 or fewer words (the approximate equivalent to thirty pages of double-spaced, twelve-point type) and may include up to ten images. See Author Guidelines for full details at, or email Managing Editor, Kecia Fong at for further information.


Dear SACRPH members:

Black Lives Matter. We write today to stand in solidarity with our Black colleagues, friends, family members, and community members to condemn in the strongest possible terms the racialized policing that led to the violent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others. We mourn their senseless deaths, and the loss of three more lives, cut short in their prime. America is lessened through their absence, through the horror of these murders. As scholars of cities and urban spaces, we know all too well how these recent atrocities fit into the long history of white supremacy and anti-Black racism in the American experience.

The struggle against racism figures in SACRPH’s mission. We renew our determination to be an antiracist organization and to fight injustice everywhere we see it. We are already thinking carefully about the composition of our leadership and will actively recruit more diverse voices to the table. We have worked to build supportive networks between SACRPH members and we will think about how we can continue to expand our efforts and do so in ways that are more accessible to all. We will institutionalize more support for underrepresented scholars and graduate students.

Any organization is only as progressive as its members – and in this we are enormously lucky. We are proud of the work each of our members does, and we want to amplify and support the work that will dismantle the gross inequality we see around us.

As always, we welcome your thoughts, suggestions, and critiques.
Marta Gutman, Nancy Kwak, and Brad Hunt
Future, present, and past presidents of SACRPH


Dear colleagues, 

As conferences have been cancelled this year, the editorial team at the journal Urban History (Cambridge UP) has organized a series of seminars (online lectures and discussions), to help keep us in touch with one another and our research, and to give mainly younger scholars feedback on their work. 

Please see below for the schedule and the abstract and Eventbrite invitation for our first talk.  We hope you will be able to join us for some of these events.  

26th June 2020, 3pm GMT

Anneleen Arnout (Radboud University) – ‘Who owns the square? Emotional interaction on Amsterdam’s Dam square (1850-1930)’

Scholars have long been convinced that the nineteenth century was a turning point in the history of public space, its primary function supposedly shifting towards circulatory purposes rather than social gathering. This shift expressed itself in intense regulation reducing the number of activities allowed on streets and squares and thereby limiting certain people’s right to that space. The main problem with this scholarship is that it is mostly based on governmental sources. In this paper, the focus will shift to non-governmental sources to uncover the different conflicting and complementary social and emotional practices performed by different groups of people on Amsterdam’s squares in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century and the ways in which they regulated a sense of ownership.


Urban History summer seminar series – Schedule

26th June 2020, 3pm GMT

Anneleen Arnout (Radboud University) – ‘Who owns the square? Emotional interaction on Amsterdam’s Dam square (1850-1930)’

17th July 2020, 11am GMT

James Lesh (University of Melbourne) – ‘Questioning the consensus? Heritage conservation in 1990s Sydney and Melbourne’

31st July 2020, 3pm GMT

Taylor Zaneri (University of Amsterdam) – Title TBC

28th August 2020, 3pm GMT

Laura Vaughan and Sam Griffiths (University College London) – Title TBC

Domenic Vitiello (he/him) 
Associate Professor of City Planning and Urban Studies
Stuart Weitzman School of Design, University of Pennsylvania
Editor for the Americas, Urban History


Conference website

Call for Papers – Deadline, November 30, 2019

The International Planning History Society’s 2020 conference calls for contributions investigating a broad range of topics in planning history relating to the theme of City Space Transformation: Renovation of the Urban Environment. The aim behind the theme is to contribute to a deeper understanding of the history of renovations and revitalizations of the built environment by exploring these both as transformation and stability of urban space. Under the weight of economic constraints and options of virtual reality, historic planning approaches have been somewhat sidelined in the debates on the modernization and renovation of dilapidated houses and public spaces in cities and towns.

Papers may cover topics including urban form, urban visions, comprehensive planning, planning legacy and heritage, cross-cultural exchange and colonization, and the concept and methodology of global/world planning history.

The conference organisers are looking especially for studies which explore the planning history in Russia and the Soviet Union, as well as in East Europe and America to compare with plans, ideas, and projects implemented in the various parts of the world. Vice versa they want to promote discussions and introduce the discussion on urban and regional planning history, in general, reflecting new topics, methods, and perspectives.

Deadline for the submission of Abstracts of papers and panel proposals: 30 November 2019

Theme: City Space Transformation: Renovation of the Urban Environment

The 2020 IPHS Moscow conference aims to contribute to a deeper understanding of the history of renovations and revitalizations of the built environment by exploring these both as transformation and stability of urban space.

Venue: Moscow, Russia

The 2020 conference is the first IPHS conference in Russia or the Soviet Union and will be a special opportunity for conference participants to gain insights into the history, planning and architecture of the unique urban fabric of the biggest European megapolis.


Professor Alexey Krasheninnikov, Dean of Urban Studies, MARKHI (Moscow Architectural Institute)

Organised as a collaboration between the Moscow Architectural Institute and the Moscow State University


The conference program includes keynote lectures, parallel paper sessions, panel presentations, book talks, and field trips. A post-conference tour is planned to St. Petersburg.


At the conclusion of its November 2, 2019, board meeting, Nancy Kwak became SACRPH’s 16th President. The board approved a President-elect and new board members to lead the organization.

Marta Gutman (City University of New York) is SACRPH’s President-Elect.

New Board members are Alex Sayf Cummings (Georgia State University), Stephanie Frank (University of Missouri-Kansas City), Evan Friss (James Madison University), Guadalupe García (Tulane University), Paige Glotzer (University of Wisconsin – Madison), Rosemary Ndubuizu (Georgetown University), and Meredith Drake Reitan (University of Southern California).

Board members completing six year terms are Francesca Rusello Ammon (University of Pennsylvania), Richard Harris (McMaster University), Carola Hein (Delft University of Technology), Matthew Gordon Lasner (Hunter College), Robert Lewis (University of Toronto), Elizabeth MacDonald (University of California, Berkeley), Suleiman Osman (George Washington University), and Rachel Weber (University of Illinois, Chicago).

Click here for complete description of the SACRPH board and current leadership.


On November 2, 2019, at the SACRPH 2019 Reception and Awards Ceremony, the winners of SACRPH’s biennial awards competition were announced for works produced between August 1, 2017, and July 31, 2019.

Click here for full details, including award citations and photographs.


Princeton-Mellon Initiative in Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities: Call for Fellows, 2020-21

The Princeton-Mellon Initiative in Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities is an interdisciplinary program supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that combines the efforts of a diverse group of faculty, programs, and schools to develop a dynamic understanding of urban issues past, present, and future. Its theme, Cities on the Edge, encompass several interrelated concepts, including the juncture of built/natural environmental studies, center/periphery, hemispheric comparatives, migration, New Jersey urbanism, social justice, the humanities as a force of change, and the margin as a place of radical possibility. Additional information about the Princeton-Mellon’s themes and program may be found at

We seek to hire Mellon Fellows with an abiding interest in multi-disciplinary work focused on the intersection of architecture, urbanism, and the humanities. Candidates can come from any discipline. They may be academics, designers, and/or practicing writers or artists. The individual may teach or team-teach an interdisciplinary course on some aspect of urbanism (contingent upon sufficient enrollments and approval from the Dean of the Faculty) and participate in Princeton-Mellon Initiative events.

Fields of specialization might include (but are not limited to) the humanistic dimensions of architecture, architectural history, design, urban planning, public policy, urban studies, environmental studies, science and technology studies, geography, history, philosophy, art history, material culture, politics, sociology, anthropology, literature, religion, cultural studies, queer studies, race and ethnicity studies, gender studies, performance studies, visual arts, documentary studies, photography, and creative writing. Fellows may focus on any geographic area.

We will accept applications from those who have earned a Ph.D. in any discipline (or those who expect to earn their doctorate before September 2020), or a terminal Master’s degree in architecture, planning, or related practice discipline. Applicants must apply online and submit a cover letter, vita, 500-word description of a proposed course, brief (chapter or article-length) single-authored writing sample, 1,000-word description of a research project, and contact information for three references by January 15, 2020 for full consideration.

Those seeking a fellowship should apply to Applicants seeking a visiting position (for a sabbatical year, etc.) please apply to

For inquiries, including for which version of the job listing to use, please contact Aaron Shkuda (