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Rebecca Amato

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

Office Hours
Monday By Appt
Tuesday By Appt
Wednesday By Appt
Thursday By Appt
Friday 11-1

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.

Grants & Fellowships


Faculty Grant

Rebecca Amato was awarded a grant from Humanities New York to facilitate a Reading and Discussion Program on the topic of "Serving," particularly in relation to civic engagement.

Awards & Honors


Amato Appointed to Manhattan Borough President Task Force

Rebecca Amato was also recently appointed to the Manhattan Borough President's Task Force on Religious Facilities. Amato won a grant from Humanities New York to facilitate a reading and discussion program on the topic of "Serving," particularly in relation to civic engagement.  



Envisioning Brooklyn: Family, Philanthropy and the Growth of an American City

Rebecca Amato's Envisioning Brooklyn: Family, Philanthropy and the Growth of an American City, was published by the Brooklyn Historical Society.

Teaching and Research Interests

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

Recent News


Rebecca Amato won a 2019 Humanities New York Reading and Discussion Program Grant.  

“(Dis)placed Urban Histories” Amato’s 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.


Amato’s “Reusing Landholdings of the Archdiocese of New York for Low-Income Housing” was published in Dio Non Abita Più Qui: Dismissione di luoghi di culto e gestione integrata dei beni culturali ecclesiastici, which was edited by Fabrizio Capanni and published by Artemide Edizioni Press in 2019.

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).


Amato will participate as a panelist for “Public History and Ethics,” at the World Conference for Public History which will be held in Berlin, Germany, from August 18-22, 2020.

Amato served as a panelist for “Shape Shift: Back to the Drawing Board,” at the Urban Design Forum held at The Clemente in New York City on November 20, 2019.Amato participated as a panelist for “A People’s Guide to New York City: Highlighting Histories of Resilience, Activism, and Social Change,” at the 2019 American Sociological Association Conference held in New York on August 10-13, 2019. 

Amato was session chair and panelist for “Earthly Concerns: Religious Institutions and Real Estate,” at the Resisting Displacement and Dispossession Conference held by Planners Network in New York on June 21 and 22, 2019. Amato was invited to “On Empty Spaces, Silence, & The Pause,” for the Aesthetics of Gentrification: Art, Architecture, and Displacement International Conference held at the Slow Lab at the University of Oregon in Portland, OR, on April 5-6 2019.  

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