The CUNY Graduate Center is a leader in public graduate education devoted to enhancing the public good through pioneering research, serious learning, and reasoned debate. The CUNY Graduate Center offers ambitious students more than 40 doctoral and master’s programs of the highest caliber, taught by top faculty from throughout CUNY — the nation’s largest public urban university. Through its nearly 40 centers, institutes, and initiatives, including its Advanced Science Research Center (ASRC), The Graduate Center influences public policy and discourse and shapes innovation. The CUNY Graduate Center Graduate Center’s extensive public programs make it a home for culture and conversation.
Urban Education Students Learn Podcasting from David Bloomfield
How well do New York City schools equip teachers to practice restorative justice? How do Latinx immigrant-origin teachers incorporate their cultures in their lessons and interactions with students? These are some of the questions that Graduate Center Urban Education Ph.D. students Michael Alston and Veronica Paredes are exploring in their research.
Both are taking Communication with Public Audiences with David Bloomfield, a professor at the CUNY Graduate Center and Brooklyn College and an often-quoted expert on education policy.
Alston and Paredes join The Thought Project to discuss their research and how they plan to use podcasting and other journalistic approaches to engage educators and the public in their work.
Listen in for a compelling discussion about public scholarship at the Graduate Center.
Professor Thomas G. Weiss on the U.N. and a Career Studying It
Born the same year as the United Nations was founded — 1946 — Presidential Professor Thomas G. Weiss has both worked for and spent decades studying the organization and its impact on international peace and security. He is retiring this year after a quarter century at the Graduate Center, but he is not stepping away entirely from scholarship.
He joins The Thought Project to discuss his long career and the current state and future of the U.N. In his words, this is “not a high point of the U.N.’s 77-year history, but we've seen lots of such nadirs in the past, and I'd like to just say that this too shall pass.”
Recently, Weiss has contributed research to the protection of world heritage. He plans to continue this work and is currently involved in a project on the protection of Asian art with former Graduate Center President Chase F. Robinson, who now directs the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art.
Weiss says he leaves the Graduate Center with great appreciation to so many current and former students who have since become colleagues.
Listen in to learn more.
Brenna McCaffrey on the Politics of Abortion Pills
In the run-up to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2022 that overturned Roe v. Wade, several Republican-led state legislatures passed bills that effectively banned abortions at pre-viability gestational ages, undermining the right to abortion once protected by Roe v. Wade. At the time, many abortion advocates, including CUNY Graduate Center alumna Brenna McCaffrey,Ph.D. ’22, (Anthropology), said that abortion medication pills sent via the U.S. mail constituted a viable option for women living in states that restricted abortion access.
Last week, however, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk ruled in favor of a lawsuit brought by antiabortion groups and doctors against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which aimed to invalidate the FDA’s approval of mifepristone, one of the two drugs used in medical abortions. The Department of Justice has appealed Kacsmaryk’s decision to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
McCaffrey joins The Thought Project to discuss the prospects for medical abortions in light of present politics. She is currently writing a book on the history and cultural impact of abortion pills on global reproductive politic. See: Women on the Web to access abortion medication.
An Anthropologist Studies Overlooked Mayan Women
Lilianna Quiroa-Crowell, an Anthropology Ph.D. candidate at the CUNY Graduate Center, recently received a Fulbright to conduct research in Puerto Barrios, Guatemala, on the marginalized Indigenous Q’eqchi’ women in the Caribbean port city. A shipping capital for the banana industry since the early 20th century, Puerto Barrios was once a thriving metropolis. Today, the city is downtrodden and considered dangerous.
Quiroa-Crowell is focused on the Mayan women who play key roles in supporting the banana trade but whose contributions, experiences, and perspectives have largely been overlooked by scholars. She intends to make the women’s labor, creativity, and challenges more visible through participatory mapping and photography projects. She spoke from Guatemala about her research.
Listen in to learn more in this Thought Project conversation.
A Political Science Student Fights for Colombians’ Citizenship Rights
Andrés Besserer Rayas, a Political Science Ph.D. student at the CUNY Graduate Center, was conducting field work in Colombia last year for his dissertation on immigration policies when he learned about a human rights issue that appalled him. More than 40,000 Colombian citizens had been stripped of their citizenship without warning. Besserer realized that the research skills he had developed in his Ph.D. program could benefit the lawyers working on the case, and he offered to help.
The Colombians who lost their citizenship had been living abroad in Venezuela. When oil prices plummeted and the Venezuelan economy went into freefall in the beginning of the 2010s, they were among the roughly 1 million Colombians who fled to their homeland. But recently, without warning, the Colombian government has revoked their citizenship and stripped them of the national identity cards they need to hold a job, access bank accounts, get on a plane, vote, and more.
Besserer joined The Thought Project in late February to talk about the case, what the victims’ lives have been like, why he is fighting for their rights, and what he has learned in the process.
Listen in to this timely conversation.
Architect Marta Gutman on How to Build a Better City
Architect and historian Marta Gutman became dean of the Spitzer School of Architecture at The City College of New York last May. She is also a professor of Art History and Earth and Environmental Sciences at the CUNY Graduate Center. In her research, she examines ordinary buildings and neighborhoods; the history of cities; and issues of gender, class, race, and especially childhood as they play out in everyday spaces, public culture, and social life.
Long committed to promoting social justice, she began her architecture career designing public housing for the New York City Housing Authority and shelters for battered women, abused children, and unhoused New Yorkers for nonprofit organizations.
She talks to The Thought Project about her research and advocacy and what advice she’d give New York City Mayor Eric Adams on addressing the city’s homeless issue.
Listen in to hear her ideas on building a better future.
demystifies what others are doing at the GC