Go to navigation (press enter key)

Brian J. Godfrey Professor of Geography

Brian Godfrey’s interests center on urban and regional change. Brian studies global cities, place-making and public space, race and ethnic geography, memory and heritage, urban political ecology, and global urbanization. Favoring the analytical lens of historical geography, he asks how and why social, spatial, and environmental patterns change over time. For example, what are the causes and consequences of urban redevelopment, immigration, gentrification, historic preservation, ecological restoration, and so on? His scholarship focuses largely on the Americas—particularly the United States, Latin America, and Brazil—while his teaching covers global issues.

  • BA, Pomona College; MA, PhD, University of California, Berkeley
  • At Vassar since 1985

Contact

Selected Publications

Published Books

  • 2006. Cidades da Floresta: Urbanização, Desenvolvimento, e Globalização da Amazônia Brasileira. Manaus: Editora da Universidade Federal do Amazonas, 384 p. (ISBN 85-7401-183-5; with J.Browder).
  • 1997. Rainforest Cities: Urbanization, Development, and Globalization of the Brazilian Amazon. New York: Columbia University Press, 429 p. (with J.Browder; ISBN 0-231-10654-8 cloth; ISBN 0-231-10655-6 pbk).
  • 1988. Neighborhoods in Transition: The Making of San Francisco’s Ethnic and Nonconformist Communities. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 233 p. (ISBN 0-520-09718-1).

Selected Publications: Articles and Book Chapters

  • 2016. “Cities of South America.” In Cities of the World: Regional Patterns and Urban Environments (6th edition), Roman and Littlefield: 137-186 (with Maureen Hays-Mitchell).
  • 2016. “New Ethnic Landscapes: Place-Making in Urban America.” In Contemporary Ethnic Geographies of America, Roman & Littlefield: 59-89.
  • 2013. “Favelas, Urban Renewal, and Guanabara Bay: Environmental Justice and Sustainability in Rio de Janeiro.” In Sustainability: A Global Urban Context, Michigan State Univ. Press: 359-388.
  • 2012. “Envisioning Amazonian Frontiers: Place-making in a Brazilian Boomtown.” Journal of Cultural Geography 29, 2: 215-238 (with Sam Thypin-Bermeo).
  • 2012. “Regulating Public Space on the Beachfronts of Rio de Janeiro.” Geographical Review 102, 1: 17-34 (with Olivia M. Arguinzoni).

Recent Professional Papers and Presentations

  • 2017. “Rio’s African Heritage Circuit: Counter-Memory, Race, and Social Justice.” Paper presented in a session on “Race, Place and Violence: Historical and Contemporary Issues” at the Association of American Geographers, Boston, MA, April 7
  • 2016. “Olympic City: Legacies of Athletic Mega-Events in Rio de Janeiro.” Lecture at Colgate University, Hamilton, NY, October 16, 2016
  • 2016. “Brazil in Crisis: What is Really Going on?” Lecture for the Center For Lifetime Learning, Marist College, Poughkeepsie, New York, Sept. 14, 2016
  • 2014. “Remembering Rio: Historic Place-Making, Memory Brokers, and Brazilian Nationalism.” Paper presented in a session on “Narrating the Nation through Urban Space” at the Association of American Geographers, Tampa, April 9.
  • 2013. “Defensive Ethnic and Immigrant Communities: Responses to Urban Change In San Francisco, New York, and Beyond.” Co-organizer of a panel at the Urban Affairs Association, San Francisco, April 5.
  • 2012. “Sustainable Development in Brazil.” Lecture at the Association of Continuing Education (ACE), Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, Oct. 8.
  • 2012. “Place Memory and Environmental Heritage in Rio de Janeiro.” Paper at the Latin American Studies Association, San Francisco, May 23-26; organizer of session on “Rio de Janeiro: Sense of Place, Planning, and Environment.”
  • 2012. “Envisioning Amazonian Frontiers: Place-Making in a Brazilian Boomtown.” Paper at the Association of American Geographers, New York, Feb. 24-28 (with Sam Thypin-Bermeo).

Photos

Download images for non-commercial use, photo credit required.

Photo: Karl Rabe / Vassar College

Brian Godfrey was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, where his parents taught at the Punahou School. After his family moved back to the US mainland, he grew up and completed his schooling in California. Brian received his BA in History from Pomona College in Claremont, before proceeding to get his MA and PhD in Geography, with City & Regional Planning as his outside field, from the University of California, Berkeley. He has enjoyed teaching at Vassar and living in the Hudson Valley and New York City for more than three decades now.

Brian Godfrey’s interests center on urban and regional change. Brian studies global cities, place-making and public space, race and ethnic geography, memory and heritage, urban political ecology, and global urbanization. Favoring the analytical lens of historical geography, he asks how and why social, spatial, and environmental patterns change over time. For example, what are the causes and consequences of urban redevelopment, immigration, gentrification, historic preservation, ecological restoration, and so on? His scholarship focuses largely on the Americas—particularly the United States, Latin America, and Brazil—while his teaching covers global issues.

He regularly teaches “Global Geography: People, Places, and Regions” (GEOG 102); “Brazil in Crisis: Continuity and Change” (GEOG/INTL/LALS 242); “Urban Geography: Space, Place, and Environment” (GEOG/URBS 252); and “Developing Cities: Urbanization of the Global South” (GEOG/INTL/URBS 252). Recent seminars have included “Global Ghetto: Ethnic Geographies of Divided Cities” (URBS 303); “Greening the City: Urban Landscapes and Public Spaces” (URBS 303); and “Preserving Whose City? Memory and Identity” (GEOG/URBS 372). Besides Geography, Brian also teaches Environmental Studies, Latin American & Latino/a Studies, and Urban Studies.