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Rebecca Amato

Associate Director, Civic Engagement Initiatives and Urban Democracy Lab & Associate Faculty
(212) 992-6305
1 Wash Pl, Room 512

BS Radio-TV-Film, Northwestern University, 1996
MA Cinema Studies, New York University, 2000
PhD U.S. History, CUNY Graduate Center, 2013

Rebecca Amato is a historian whose work focuses on the intersections between cities, space/place, and memory. She holds a PhD in United States History from The Graduate Center of the City University of New York and is adapting her dissertation research into a manuscript that examines the layered relationships between heritage preservation and neighborhood change. She has been a staff member and consultant at a variety of history institutions in New York, including the Brooklyn Historical Society, the American Social History Project, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, and the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. Her writing has appeared in Radical History Review, City Courant, Cineaste, and New York magazine. She is the Associate Director of Gallatin’s Urban Democracy Lab, which provides a space for scholars and practitioners to collaborate and exchange ideas for cultivating just, sustainable, and creative urban futures.

Teaching and Research Interests

urban studies; history of urban planning; United States history; cinema and visual culture; museums; public history

Recent News


“(Dis)placed Urban Histories” Amato’s a project-centered course is a featured project of the National Humanities Alliance. The project is also one of twelve featured as a part of “Doesn’t God Dwell Here Anymore? International Conference on Cultural Heritage, which was held November 29-30, 2018, at Pontifical Gregorian University, in Rome, Italy.


Becky Amato’s “De-Radicalizing Public Engagement” appears in The City Amplified: Radical Archives and Oral Histories (Prathibha Kanakamedala and Allison Guess, editors; Center for the Humanities, The Graduate Center, CUNY, 2019).

Along with Zachary Coble, Amato contributed “(Dis)Placed Urban Histories: Combining Digital Humanities Pedagogy and Community Engagement” to Quick Hits: Teaching with the Digital Humanities (Indiana University Press, 2019).

Amato’s “Displacement is the New Dispossession: A Word from Our Neighbors” appears on More Art.

Amato’s “Crossing the Gentrification Frontier: The Lower East Side Tenement Museum and the Blind-spots of Social History” as well as “Radical Pedagogies/Radical Messages: A Conversation”, which Amato co-authored with Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani, Mary Rizzo, Dipti Desai, and Denise Meringolo, appears in Radical Roots: Civic Engagement, Public History, and a Tradition of Social Justice Activism (Denise Meringolo, editor; Amherst College Press, 2019).

Envisioning Brooklyn: Family, Philanthropy, and the Growth of an American City (Brooklyn Historical Society, 2017).

Amato is contributing author to The People's Guide to New York City, edited by Carolina Bank Munoz, Penny Lewis, and Emily Molina (University of California Press, forthcoming).


Rebecca Amato was session chair and presenter for "Radical Pedagogies/Radical Messages" Working Group at the National Humanities Conference, held in Boston, MA, in 2017.

Amato was a presenter for "The Pedagogical Potential and Perils of 'Community-Engaged' Learning" at American Studies Association Conference, held in Chicago, IL in 2017.

Amato presented "Back to the Old Neighborhood: The Politics of Documenting Neighborhood Change" at the annual meeting of the American Studies Association, Home/Not Home: Centering American Studies Where We Are, which was held November 17-20, 2016, in Denver, Colorado.

Amato participated in the Community Engaged Research Institute 2016, June 26-30, 2016 at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Rebecca Amato