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New York as Port City

A National Endowment of the Humanities

Landmarks of American History and Culture

One-Week Workshop in Site-Based Learning

June 17–21 or July 8–12

Applications due March 5


This workshop for higher education faculty, advanced graduate students, and humanities professionals will examine the historical, cultural, economic, and environmental significance of New York City’s waterfront and ports of entry. 

Through discussions, readings, and many experiential activities, participants will examine New York’s port history through a variety of humanities disciplines, including public history, environmental history, ethnic studies, literature, art, and the oceanic humanities.

This five-day workshop will be hosted by the City University of New York (CUNY), LaGuardia Community College. Our home base for the workshop will be CUNY Graduate Center at 34th St. and 5th Avenue in midtown Manhattan. During the week we will be visited by guest scholars, including Andrew Lipman, Jack TschenMarita Sturken, and Angus Gillespie. Each day we will also embark on a walking tour, boat trip, or other experiential site visit on the New York City waterfront. Currently planned site visits include the Billion Oysters Project on Governors Island; a walking tour of the historic South Street Seaport; a bus tour of the active ports of Newark and Elizabeth, NJ; and a tour of the redevelopment of lower Manhattan by Port Authority.

All humanities professionals are invited to apply, including professors, librarians, museum staff, public historians, journalists, and independent scholars. Participants will receive a stipend of $1300, out of which they will need to budget meals and accommodations. (See Logistics for more information and resources.) 

Participants can attend only one week of the workshop, as the June and July weeks will be identical. During each week, days will be organized around the themes below. See the Schedule page for more details:

  • Monday, Day 1: Orientation, Introductions, and the Native American Uses of New York's Waterways

  • Tuesday, Day 2:  Maritime Migration and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

  • Wednesday, Day 3 — Preserving Maritime Histories, Remediating Harbor Ecologies

  • Thursday, Day 4 — Port Authority, Memory Cultures, and the Reengineering of New York’s Waterfront 

  • Friday, Day 5 — Port Newark and the Future of New York Harbor 


Applications are due March 5, 2024 at midnight.

See How to Apply for more information. 


Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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