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Lisa Brawley Senior Lecturer in Urban Studies and American Studies

Lisa Brawley received her PhD as a Whiting Fellow from the University of Chicago and joined Vassar’s Urban Studies Program in 2000. She currently serves as Tatlock Chair of Multidisciplinary Studies.

She works in the fields of critical urban studies, feminist theory, and American Studies. Her scholarship and teaching engage the processes of capitalist urbanization in the long 20th century in the U.S., exploring the shifting relations between urban design, state spatiality, and structures of citizenship. She is author, with Elsa Devienne, of a (bilingual) book on Frederick Law Olmsted and agricultural modernity, D’après Nature: Frederick Law Olmsted et le Park Movement Américain (Paris: L’Edition Fahrenheit, 2014). She has also written on urban food systems and food sovereignty; boomtown suburbanization on Guantanamo Bay; the inter-articulation of “spaces of neoliberalism” (about which sociospatial theory has had much to say of late) with “spaces of neoconservativism” (about which it has said relatively little); spatial justice and neoliberal urbanization; the visual registers of everyday urbanism; and the role of photography and cinema in the 1969 Plan of New York City.

Her courses include Introduction to Urban Studies, Empire/City, Urban Theory, Gender and Social Space, Visual Urbanism, Media Theory, and, with Heesok Chang, the City in Fragments. In 2013, she served as resident director of the Vassar London Program, where she taught the field-based course, Tactical Urbanism: London.

She is also a certified facilitator and design strategist, and works with groups both on and off campus. Together with Susan Grove, she designed and facilitated a citywide action planning forum to launch Poughkeepsie Plenty, a local coalition for food equality. In 2016, she was awarded a faculty conversation grant to develop and convene a Facilitation+Design Thinking Practice Lab.

  • BA, Davidson College; MA, New York University; PhD, University of Chicago
  • At Vassar since 2000


Research and Academic Interests

  • Critical Urban Studies
  • Feminist Theory
  • American Studies


  • AMST 315a. Senior Project Seminar