In preparation for the Brooklyn study tour, the Seminar will offer three in-depth sessions of interest to the general public and to travelers. (Please note the addition of the September 18 session on July 12.)
September 18: Jewish Brooklyn
Dr. Joshua Furman, founder and director of Rice University’s Houston Jewish History Archive, will give a virtual tour of the various Jewish communities that call Brooklyn home, including the Hasidic Jews of Williamsburg and Crown Heights, the Syrian Jews of Bensonhurst/Flatbush, and the Soviet Jews of Brighton Beach.
Dr. Furman specializes in American Jewish social and cultural history, with research interests in suburbanization, education, and family life since World War II. He is currently working on a book project about the history of the Houston Jewish community and the migration to the Meyerland neighborhood in the 1950s and 1960s. Dr. Furman received his Ph.D in modern Jewish history from the University of Maryland in 2015.
September 25: A Peek at Brooklyn’s Visual Arts
Curator and critic Bill Arning will take us on a fast-paced, illustrated armchair tour of the visual arts in Brooklyn and will describe how the scene has developed since the early 1980s. Over the last 35 years, the artist community in Brooklyn has burgeoned, and over roughly the same period, Mr. Arning has become an advocate for many artists located there. He will also discuss the visionary work of Harvey Lichtenstein at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Arnold Lehman at the Brooklyn Museum and how their activism has made the borough a crucial stop for anyone interested in cutting-edge arts.
Bill Arning received a B.A. in art history from New York University and a M.A. in art history from Tufts University while serving as exhibitions coordinator at the List Art Gallery of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After 10 years as director of Houston’s Contemporary Arts Museum, Mr. Arning is now an independent art consultant and curator.
October 2: An Urban History
How was Brooklyn transformed from an agricultural, ferry-based commuter town adjacent to Manhattan into a bustling borough that is among the hottest real estate markets in the world and now rivals Manhattan as a destination of choice for global headquarters? Urban historian Kyle Shelton will focus on the borough’s evolution. The lecture will weave together the borough’s demographic, development, and economic history, linking its past to its contemporary explosive growth. How did the building of the Brooklyn Bridge alter the community’s position in New York City? How have waves of immigration and shifting populations affected the built form of the community? What forces have led to the borough’s rejuvenation from NYC’s larger 1970s decline? Finally, Dr. Shelton’s talk will lead the audience to consider parallels between Brooklyn and Houston.
Kyle Shelton is a scholar and astute observer of Houston. He is director of strategic partnerships at Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research, where he leads research on urban development, transportation, and placemaking, as well as on urban and metropolitan governance. He is the author of Power Moves: Transportation, Politics and Development in Houston (University of Texas Press, 2017) and is a frequent contributor to the Kinder Institute’s Urban Edge blog.