Professor of History
A - 66 West 12th Street
Julia Foulkes investigates interdisciplinary questions about the arts, urban studies, and history in her research and teaching. Professor Foulkes's most recent book, A Place for Us: West Side Story and New York (2016), examines what this legendary musical and film reveal about mid 20th-century New York. She also curated an exhibition marking the 100th birthday of Jerome Robbins that focused on his relation to New York; the acclaimed Voice of My City: Jerome Robbins and New York was on view at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center from September 2018 to March 2019. Her collaboration with choreographer Netta Yerushalmy on a piece on Bob Fosse for Yerushalmy's Paramodernities project, premiered at Jacob's Pillow in August 2018 and at New York Live Arts in March 2019. She received a fellowship at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at New York Public Library in 2021-22 to work on a book about the rise of New York as a capital of culture in the 20th century.
Professor Foulkes's first book, Modern Bodies: Dance and American Modernism from Martha Graham to Alvin Ailey (2002), explores how gender, sexuality, race, and politics shaped the development of modern dance in the 1930s and '40s; her second book, To the City: Urban Photographs of the New Deal (2011), charts the spread of urbanization captured in photographs of the 1930s. She is also the editor of a journal volume on The Arts in Place (Journal of Social History, 2010) and co-editor with Aaron Shkuda of a section of essays on arts and urban development in the Journal of Urban History (2015).
With Mark Larrimore, Professor Foulkes researches and teaches about the history of The New School, which celebrated its centenary in 2019. They oversee a website devoted to exploring the unusual history and far reach of this institution. A 2014 exhibition, Offense + Dissent: Image, Conflict, Belonging, investigated three epidsodes when art roused protest at The New School. The exhibition brought forward the issues in fifty responses from faculty, students, and staff to an artwork or aspect of design that they encounter at the university every day that provokes them. In fall 2018, they initiated a series of essays on the history of The New School at Public Seminar, the university's virtual intellectual commons. A podcast series, New Histories, launched in fall 2019, and a digital book of their essays, Realizing The New School: Lessons From the Past, was published in 2020.
Professor Foulkes has been a lead faculty member at The New School of the Humanities Action Lab, an international hub where the humanities and design generate innovative curricula and public enagement on urgent social issues. The first exhibition, States of Incarceration, examined the history of imprisonment in the U.S. She has also served as Coordinator of Prior Learning, Chair of Social Sciences, Co-Chair of Liberal Arts, Chair of Arts and Social Engagement, Chair of the University Faculty Grievance Committee, and Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs. She delivered the Aims of Education address at the New School convocation in September 2009 and was a member of the university's search committee for a new president in 2019.
Arts and Urbanization, New York City, The New School
New School Histories
Realizing The New School: Lessons From the Past