julia foulkes


Dreaming Big

The New School is engaging with Nona Hendryx’s The Dream Machine at Lincoln Center! Join us for a conversation on Tuesda

For Lincoln Center’s West Side, A New Story

San Juan Hill–then and now–is getting more attention again. Lincoln Center is committed to opening up the west sid

The Joffrey+Ballet in the U.S.

I am delighted to announce an exhibition I am curating on The Joffrey Ballet. (Press release here.) The history of this compan

Cullman Center Institute for Teachers

I’m delighted to be in teaching in the Cullman Center Institute for Teachers from July 15-19, 2024. We’ll be talki

The Dismantling of the Schools of Public Engagement at The New School

Yet another reinvention. Which prompted the in-house historians–Mark Larrimore and me–to write this to the executi

I’m delighted to announce the (re)launch of the New School Histories website (after a major malware infection that rende

Urban Choreography

This semester I’m teaching a new course. I’ve hesitated to teach about dance too directly, worried about scaring off stude

What rich research and ongoing conversation was the Accumulation conference! It primarily featured young scholars moving the f

The field of dance history has evolved so much over the last 30 years. Where is it now? What kinds of research does it encoura

The Creative Life of San Juan Hill

I’m on an upcoming panel about the creative activity of the neighborhood that was demolished in the building of Lincoln

I’m so proud of my friend (and former student and graduate of the Bachelor’s Program at The New School). Here is a

The Ground Beneath West Side Story

I was asked to write an essay for the Legacies of San Juan Hill website that Lincoln Center has created to interrogate and exp

Willa Cather’s New York Intersections

The 18th International Cather Seminar will be held at The New School from June 21-23, 2023. The topic: Willa Cather’s Ne

This is New York

The Museum of the City of New York turns 100 this year! To celebrate, they have put on a show: This is New York: 100 Years of

Invitation au Voyage

If you’re in France or Germany, check out this show on the ARTE channel and look for a segment on “West Side Story

Alternative Bodies

French choreographer Anne Collod dived into the history of modern dance to focus on still-pending tensions about bodies, which

More on Blacks and Ballet

More attention to new diversity in ballet, from WNYC Radio (with a bit of me).


The New School seems addicted to crisis. But we’re in a big one at the moment. Part-time faculty have been on strike sin

Art, Community, and Displacement

A conversation with Etienne Charles, Carl Hancock Rux, and me, moderated by Gary Padmore of the NY Philharmonic–join us!

San Juan Hill: A New York Story

The jazz trumpeter and composer Etienne Charles has written a composition on the neighborhood that preceded Lincoln Center. An

Calvin Royal III at ABT

Another profile of another Black dancer pushing against the constraints of ballet (with a quote by me), in Mother Jones.

In Conversation with Lynn Garafola

Lynn Garafola’s definitive biography of La Nijinska rewrites the history of ballet modernism by focusing on its notable

The Walls of Santiago

Join me for the book launch of my friend and colleague, Terri Gordon-Zolov (with co-author Eric Zolov) in which I’ll be

On (the new) West Side Story and New York

Spielberg’s revival is also a revision, with more Puerto Rican pride and more urban demolition. Article with a bit of me

Moving Ballet

Harper Watters of Houston Ballet is someone to watch–confronting ballet’s gender and racial limitations one TikTok

Curating Proposals for the Climate Museum

In Spring 2021, Radhika Subramaniam and I taught “Curating Public Memory,” a graduate course examining how to acti

“In the Heights” as a Response to “West Side Story”

Two New York City stories–and very different views of who belongs, via the Washington Post.

Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It

A new documentary about Rita Moreno will premiere on PBS’s American Masters program on July 29, 2021! I speak in it brie

New New School Stories

Radhika Subramaniam and I taught a graduate course at Parsons this semester on “Curating Public Memory” in which s


I am very excited to be a fellow at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at New York Public Library in 2021-22. Oh how

My latest in our New School Histories column at Public Seminar, taking on the various mis-uses of the school’s legacies.

Choreography as Directing

My essay on Jerome Robbins as a director has just been published! It’s in an inspiring anthology edited by Harvey Young,

Voice of My City–Virtual Version

A digitized view of the exhibition I curated marking the 100th anniversary of Jerome Robbins’ birth is now available! Vo

Our Public Seminar essays on the histories of The New School, collected in one place (with new introductory and concluding ess

Borough Arts Councils

Where the arts occurred in New York City changed in the 1960s-70s. Grand cultural complexes such as Lincoln Center consolidate

Festival Trucks, etc.

A year ago, I visited the archives at Yale to look at the papers of John Lindsay, the mayor of New York City from 1966-73. I

More New School Histories

Even though The New School’s centennial celebration has ended, our investigation of its past continues. We wrote a new i

If dance is a kind of knowledge, what kind of knowledge is it? What are the power relations between a moving body and a speaki

(In)Visibilities, Omissions, and Discoveries

Join me and other fabulous panelists! April 30, 4pm. In conjunction with the Princeton University Art Museum’s exhibition L

For the Love of Strangers

My pandemic ode to New York (Public Seminar) I teach courses about New York and often begin the semester’s conversation by a

I revisited the research for my first book in this talk for the Peoria Fine Arts Society on February 13. It’s always use

A Purple Squirrel Unicorn

“Find the purple squirrel unicorn: Do Not Settle.” That was the directive that struck me when I read through the anonymous

West Side Story Returns

With a Broadway revival of the musical upon us and the film coming in December 2020, I was asked to reflect on why West Side S

A School

My remarks at the opening the New School Collaboratory Symposium (16 November 2019). As a historian at a place called the new,

Greenwich Village: Dying since 1960?

I chaired a panel at the Society for U.S. Intellectual History conference this past weekend that considered the state of Green

The Dance Collection at 75

In honor of the 75th anniversary of the Jerome Robbins Dance Division of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts,


My remarks upon the retirement of Thelma Armstrong, who worked at the New School for thirty-six years. The writer Colson White

Surveying U.S. History

One of the oddities of being a historian at The New School is that I don’t teach the typical survey courses that most histor

The Era of Twyla Tharp

In writing about cultural policy or public relations strategies or political wagers, I don’t want to forget the arts themsel

Public Relations

Lincoln Center was a massive project that took over ten years to complete, went way over budget, and embodied deep contradicti

“It’s Complicated.”

This phrase infuriates me. It’s a hallmark of academia today—its promises and its disdain. The level of complexity has exp

Deconstructing Fosse

I’m delighted to be part of a special issue of Studies in Musical Theatre devoted to dance and edited by the fabulous pa

Paramodernities is here (in NYC)!

Trailer here. New York Times Critic’s Pick!! (Review here.)

Modern Bodies in Chinese

1 of 13 Art Exhibitions to View this Weekend!

“‘VOICE OF MY CITY: JEROME ROBBINS AND NEW YORK’ at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts (through Mar

Contested City

Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani has written a fascinating book about the long, dispiriting, and complicated history of the Seward Par

More New School

More essays on New School Histories at Public Seminar! One of my favorites is from my co-conspirator Mark Larrimore who penned

Critic’s Pick: “How solid is this show…”

So says the New York Times about the Robbins exhibition (full review here)! There was also an article in The Times of Israel;

Robbins’ New York Portraits

My remarks for the program on Robbins’ New York Portraits at the Library for the Performing Arts with Adrian Danchig-War

More Robbins

The Robbins’ events continue: a discussion at the Gotham Center with Carol Oja on Bernstein and Robbins; a showing of sn

New School Histories

Exploring the histories of the New School to contextualize and confront pressing issues facing higher education now–essa

Happy 100, Jerry!

I’ve been thinking about you, Jerome Robbins. Here is a video tour of the exhibition on Playbill.com; another video tour

I never met Jerome Robbins but I feel like I’ve been living with him for the last few years. What he left behind–the l


Conversation is an integral part of Netta Yerushalmy’s conception of Paramodernities. There’s a performance of dance and w

Happy 100, Lenny!

Leonard Bernstein was born 100 years ago on August 25. A German documentary titled “West Side Story—Bernstein’s Broadway


The world premiere of Paramodernities occurred last week at Jacob’s Pillow. What a whirlwind! Preview article of the project

On Aesthetic Education

In my attempt to understand the rise of New York as a “culture city,” I am focusing on the rise of Lincoln Center. There

A School for the Present

In honor of the New School’s centenary: research, reflection, and critique on higher education in preparation for the ne

Join our class this fall! And check out our re-designed New School Histories website.

Back to Dance

Perhaps you can never really leave it. But dance has become more central in my life again this year. Primarily it’s because

Paramodernities #5

I’m returning to a previous life as a performer…. I’m delighted to be a part of Netta Yerushalmy’s Par

New York on Canvas, Page, and Stage

I get to talk in public about one of my favorite subjects, the rise of New York as a capital of culture. Join me and Fran Lead

This year has been marked by collaboration: curating an exhibition on Jerome Robbins at a public institution; working with dan

Musicals and New York

I wrote a meditation on this theme for the new annual journal, Musical Theater Today, which came out last year. Working on the

On James Baldwin and The New School

When Mark Larrimore and I first began discussing teaching a course on the history of the New School, it was clear that a centr

One Year Later

Public Seminar, the online “intellectual commons” of The New School, is afire these days, with commentary on daily

Research for all

As a member of the Advisory Board of the research libraries of the New York Public Library, I got an early view of the new pla

Don’t Stop and Criticize–Go

Dances at a Gathering (1969) is one of Jerome Robbins’ most acclaimed ballets. Danced to Chopin, it is a meditation on relat

It is the 60th anniversary of the musical and 2018 marks the centenary of the births of Leonard Bernstein and Jerome Robbins.

Happy WSS Debut Day!

More thoughts from me about the production that debuted 60 years ago today. On the Gotham blog, I look at how West Side Story

West Side Story at 60

The Library of the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center is hosting a celebration of West Side Story, sixty years after its debut.

Mod in the Park

The dancer-choreographer Netta Yerushalmy has undertaken a project right up my historian’s alley: she is re-imagining th

Creating City People

New York City just released its first cultural plan. My response (published in Public Seminar). Last week the city released it

Interview in Frontiere

Michela Beatrice Ferri kindly asked me questions about A Place for Us for an Italian e-magazine. Interview (in English) here.

Martin Segal: Dollars and Joy

I’m back in the archives going through the papers of Martin Segal. Few in the arts might know Segal now but his legacies are

The Lower East Side has long been an object of fascination for those who study New York. It has been a location for bohemia, f

Culture City

My fellowship year at GIDEST proved to be immensely enjoyable. One of the outcomes was a video conversation about my research

Musical Theater Today

Ben Van Buren and Lucas Tahiruzzanen Syed (New School alums!) are the founders and editors of Musical Theater Today, a new ann

Seeing Rikers, Closing Rikers

A year ago the New School hosted the opening of States of Incarceration, an exhibition created by hundreds of students and peo

West Side Story lives! New York Public Library has digitized nearly 1400 pictures of the making of the Broadway show, and the

Social Justice, Then and Now

Mark Larrimore and I were invited back to speak at Staff Development Day at The New School. It has become one of our favorite

Together, in NYC and the Obits

Trisha Brown (choreographer), David Rockefeller (banker and philanthropist), Jimmy Breslin (journalist), and Bob Silvers (foun

In honor of women’s history month and, more important, in honor of Gerda Lerner: The New School is hosting a showing of

Dancing the Cold War

In 1960, the British Prime Minister told Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev to “get cool, boy.” (Maybe if the Prime

Book Talk@92Y

Join me on Tuesday, February 7, at noon, at the 92nd St. Y for a talk about A Place for Us!

Fighting Over and On the Streets of New York

A few weeks ago, Jelani Cobb predicted that democracy would come back to the streets in the Trump era. A new exhibition, “Wh

Bowery Boys

The Bowery Boys look at the development of Lincoln Center–and West Side Story. They read my book! And put it on their li

The New School recently launched a re-organization and re-branding of its continuing education efforts under the title Open Ca

Drawing With Words, Writing with Images

At GIDEST, we had the pleasure of listening to Lauren Redniss describe her work. I was asked to give a response.

When Musicals Become Politics

Recently the musical Hamilton became a political hot potato–again. Brendon Victor Dixon of the cast read a statement dir

I was invited to take the page 99 test on A Place for Us: “Open the book to page ninety-nine and read, and the quality o

Exile as Haven

I wrote a response to the despicable hate crime that occurred at The New School this weekend on Public Seminar. I wish for two


May I suggest that no book party is complete without dance—at least not one that looks at West Side Story! Here are Michael

Memories and Politics of Exile

I will be in Paris next week talking at a symposium that commemorates the École Libres Des Hautes Études (1942-46) that was

Book Party!


Back to School

The semester has started with histories of the New School: presentations at various orientations and the latest version of a u

Masterpieces of Everyday New York

In 2013, the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center initiated an exhibition on “objects as story,” prompted by curricular

Research as a Public Good

As I return to research myself, I’ve been asked to be a member of the New York Public Library’s Research Advisory Group. I


I have reached a certain age and a certain status: mid-career, mid-life. No more hoops to jump through—but still quite some


We were lucky enough to have Laura Sanchez as a student in the fall course that built the Rikers component of the States of In


What a story. This book is a chronicle of two people bound together by addiction, imprisonment, immigration—and love. Theirs

Fellow to Fellow

One fellowship ends, another soon begins. From the Center for Ballet and the Arts (at NYU), I go to the Graduate Institute for

“Life Deflated.”

Today I read a novel, The Camellia City by Phillip Routh. I rarely read all day long; I rarely want to. Today I wanted to.

New School Histories

NSSR, 1969, New School Archives Histories of the New School are accumulating: video here of Mark Larrimore and I contending wi

States of Incarceration

The exhibition has arrived! It’s open until April 24 at the Aronson Galleries, 66 5th Ave. Virtual version here. News ar

When to Say What to Whom

Last week featured talks by three candidates for Dean of our odd collection of programs. It’s not an easy job, and I am grat

A Center for Dance

Yesterday I gave a talk at the Center for Ballet and the Arts about other centers–City Center and Lincoln Center. The ta


Oh how I love a good copy-editor. After years and years of working on a book, someone else goes through the text, word-by-word

Ballet Class

Today the fellows of the Center for Ballet and the Arts took a ballet class given by Melissa Barak, another fellow. CBA boasts

New York Arts Center: 1953

Mecca Temple, 135 55th St., 1929 (later City Center). New York Historical Society. The Rockefeller brothers, long committed to

Human Relations

I have long wanted to know more about an oddly named enterprise at the New School called the Human Relations Center. I had a h


Designing the exhibit component on Rikers Island is crashing to an end, full speed. There are many, many details to be attende

Objects and Space

My class on “Arts and Social Engagement” ends with a look at institutions and policy. Bricks-and-mortar and intell


We are moving in on Rikers. Students have decided upon the theme of the visibility/invisibility paradox of the island. For som


In the most recent Writing History seminar, Nathan Connolly discussed how to narrate large social structures and processes thr

Aaron Shkuda and I co-edited a special section in the Journal of Urban History on arts and urbanization in postwar U.S. cities

Critiquing Critics

In class recently we discussed the role of critics. Much like a curator (our previous week’s topic), critics mediate an artw

Presenting Prisons

My class visited Eastern State Penitentiary, a museum in Philadelphia, to explore how it presents the history of the prison an

Painter History

Nell Painter, “Locke Harvard with Gradient 72,” Art History Volume XXVII, Ancestral Arts (2013) Writing History: t

Prison Was…

Photo: Rikers Island, ca. 1915, Museum of the City of New York Incarceration will occupy much of my fall semester. With Radhik

Curating the Archives

The summer 2014 exhibition is now online! The virtual version includes reflections about the unusual demands of the exhibition

What is New is Old

I gave a talk for the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation on July 8, 2015, on the history of the New School. V

Mickey Mao

Why do Chinese students study U.S. history?

America in 5 Objects

What do the Statue of Liberty, Barbie doll, buffalo nickel, Uncle Sam, and Grant Wood’s American Gothic have in common?

Hamilton, the Musical

Lin-Manual Miranda has combined some of my favorite things — musicals, hip-hop, and history. It’s a compelling spectac

Welcome to the Neue School

This spring the New School announced a new branding identity, one based on a specially made font (called “Neue”) and a new

Imagining NYC

In this book, Christoph Lindner traces the New York that appears in literature and the visual arts in the early 20th century.

The City Lost & Found

This exhibit on “Capturing New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, from 1960-80,” is on view at the Princeton Art Museum until

Mom-and-Pop Institutions

The New School has attracted a string of devoted, long-serving administrators, most of whom have been women. One of them was W


The Vera List Center for Art and Politics gives a biennial prize to an artwork that advances social justice. Theaster Gates’

Studying NYC

My research, teaching, and daily life are in and about New York City. The city is a laboratory, as is often said in many a gra

West Side Story: A Life

A writing experiment: to describe the book as a biography. Biography (A Life). Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow. James Joyce:

The Carceral City

I walked through Crown Heights a few days ago and came across this odd mobile police unit. Students in my class knew exactly w


Translation: to China! I have been selected for a one-week residency at Renmin University in Beijing sponsored by the Organiza

Creative Justice

For two intensive weeks that covered 40 hours of class time, students in Piper Anderson’s “Creative Justice” class read

Writing and Walking

This last week has been a rare moment of focus and solitude, huddled in a Writers Colony in the Ozarks of Northwest Arkansas.

What Did We Do?

The final class of “Arts and Social Engagement” included group presentations of a diorama of an exhibit about advertisemen

The Art of Structure

John McPhee has been writing about writing in The New Yorker in the past few years and one notable essay was about the central

Divided Cities

Carl Nightingale has written a masterly, globe-spanning history of how segregation has split cities. It is a grand riposte to

Rappin’ on Education

Rather than talk about Creative Arts Therapy in my class in Arts and Social Engagement, we did some. We decided on a social pr

Center for Ballet and the Arts

The Center for Ballet and the Arts (CBA) at NYU had an auspicious debut in September. There were the necessary calls to high i

Kyle deCamp, Urban Renewal: A Multimedia Solo

The choreographer, performer, urbanist Kyle deCamp performed a piece on urban renewal on Tuesday, Sept. 23, at 7pm, at Barnard

Arts and Social Engagement

We are launching a new curricular area at The New School as of Fall 2014!

Yes, And: Thinking about Cities

I had the pleasure of reading Aseem Inam’s new book recently. I am not an urban planner nor an urban designer nor an expert

Bodies in Motion

As shocking as the balloon nudes of Matisse and fractured bodies of Duchamp were, at least they stayed on the canvas. There bo

“The Rite Of Spring”

Spring 1913: artwork that caused outrage, derision, acclaim, and confusion. Movement never seen before: feet pounding, torsos

Why do people move to the city?

It’s no surprise that 9/11 caused me to wonder why I live in New York City. I don’t have a job that is easily movable, but

The First Day: Two Truths and a Lie

I have eaten at a diner in all 50 states; I helped start a company; I have jumped out of plane. Two truths and a lie: it’s a

Aims of Education

Convocation address, The New School, September 2009. I am on my fourth career. I think it’s going pretty well, but IR

Sailors, Fancy Free

Exhibition Object and Text, Masterpieces of Everyday New York: Objects as Story (Kellen Gallery, Shelia Johnson Design Center,

Seeing the City: West Side Story and New York

The movie West Side Story opens with an aerial panorama of New York City, starting from the southern tip of Manhattan with a v

From Coney Island to Lincoln Center, From Strangeness to Fantasy

Cornell University Architecture Workshop (2010) Architects know that the built environment can evoke fantasies. But what happe

Barbara Morgan Captures Dance



Part of “This is Your Exhibition,” on view on 3rd Floor, 66 W. 12th St.. Image source: MoMa  I grew up loving ballet, hat

Democratizing the Archives

Co-authored with Claire Potter What’s in an archive? This was the question that brought Claire Potter’s class, “New York

Theaster Gates’ Dorchester Projects

Theaster Gates received the first Vera List Center Prize for Art and Social Justice in 2013; this essay, with others, on Gates

Lincoln Center, The Rockefellers, and New York City

Rockefeller Archives Center, Research Report (Fall 2005) Rockefeller explained his interest in Lincoln Center both by the part

Dance and the City

Festschrift for Rüdiger Kunow (2013) All great art is born of the metropolis. — Ezra Pound For some years now I have be

“My Feet are Again on This Earth”

in African American Art and the Julius Rosenwald Fund, ed. Daniel Schulman (Spertus Museum and Northwester University Press, 2

A New School Minute (or Two)

For Alumni Day on May 11, 2013, the Alumni Office asked twenty faculty and staff to give a 60-second lecture. Tasked with the

Offense + Dissent: Image, Conflict, Belonging

Exhibition at Kellen Gallery, The New School (2014); Curators: Julia Foulkes, Mark Larrimore, and Radhika Subramaniam Twenty-f

The (Rural and Urban) Lives of Bees

I had the privilege to go to Mildred’s Lane on a work retreat recently. Founded by the artists J. Morgan Puett and Mark Dio

Again Please, Anne

A tribute to my father, who died in 2012. I had never watched someone die before. Tracy Atkinson was killed in a car accident