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urban studies

Fifty percent of the world's population now lives in an urban area, up from less than forty percent in 1999. This concentration is projected to increase 10 percent over each of the next twenty years. The Urban Studies Research explores urban issues with the goal of bringing the best minds in the humanities to help solve some real-world issues.

Vision Statement

The Urban Humanities Research Group (UHRG), sponsored by the Taft Research Center, reflects and promotes the interests and expertise of UC faculty in the humanities, arts, and social sciences and seeks to enhance interdisciplinary discourse, research, and teaching in urban studies. It explores the many dimensions of urban life and practices—historic, geographic, demographic, social, literary, cultural—in cities past and present, national and international. The UHRG hosts public lectures and seminars, sponsors discussions between scholars and policy makers, engages the public on local, regional, national, and international issues, and, as a dimension of the university’s urban locale and mission, provides a university forum for discussing curricular and program needs.


  • Offer disciplinary, specifically, historical, literary, sociological, anthropological, philosophical, and political perspectives on urban issues
  • Foreground interdisciplinary frames for examining cities and city-related issues
  • Analyze urban issues related to gender, sexuality, race, immigration, demographics, and so forth from myriad perspectives and methods—historical, cultural, literary, anthropological, sociological, and political
  • Examine the intersections of culture, environment, geography, history, social climate on cities, local and global
  • Host public humanities lectures, seminars, and symposia on urban issues and city studies
  • Engage with public policy in Cincinnati and in other regional and national cities
  • Sponsor roundtable discussions between urban humanities scholars and local political, corporate, and community leaders
  • Coordinate graduate and undergraduate courses in Urban Humanities
  • Offer a minor and graduate certificate in Urban Humanities
  • Educate and engage the public on urban issues through humanities and social science perspectives
  • Impact public policies in our city, county, and state

Following the model established by Annie Sinton Taft and the Taft Trustees, we define the term "urban humanities" to include interdisciplinary approaches to city studies from the fields of humanities (literature, philosophy, history, et cetera), the social sciences (anthropology, sociology, and political science), as well as from interdisciplinary approaches and area studies, such as Africana Studies, Judaic Studies, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

Funding Goals

  • Establish a "Friends of Urban Humanities" Gift Program for personal donations;
  • Seek large donations from philanthropists and corporate sponsors, particularly Cincinnatians;
  • Secure private foundation monies to support long-term curricular and research objectives;
  • Explore the possibility of collaboratively writing and submitting grants to the Ford Foundation, The Mellon Foundation, the Social Sciences Research Council, and other organizations

Allocation of External Funds Raised

  • Develop and offer graduate and undergraduate courses in Urban Humanities
  • Support professional development of faculty in the research cohort
  • Provide educational fora for the general public
  • Coordinate activities across multiple colleges—The McMicken College of Arts & Sciences; the College of Design, Art, Architecture, and Planning (DAAP), the College of Law, especially the College of Law’s Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice; and the College-Conservatory of Music (CCM); and the Carl Lindner College of Business
  • Establish institutional infrastructure toward a Urban Humanities Program

Urban Humanities Cohort

  • To find out more about faculty involved with the Urban Humanities Cohort, please click here.
  • We are currently looking for scholars interested in joining the group. If you would like to participate, please email coordinator Stan Corkin at

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