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Stephen Duncombe

Professor
sd47@nyu.edu
(212) 998-7327
1 Wash Pl, Room 602

Office Hours
Monday 2-4
Tuesday 3:30-5 Remote by Appt.
Wednesday 5-6 Remote by Appt.
Thursday 3:30-5 Remote by Appt.
Friday Remote by Appointment

B.A., Sociology, SUNY Purchase, 1988
M.Phil., Sociology, CUNY Graduate Center, 1993
Ph.D., Sociology, CUNY Graduate Center, 1996

Stephen Duncombe’s interests lie in media, art, and culture. He teaches and writes on the history of mass and alternative media and the arts, and the intersection of culture and politics. He is the author of Dream: Re-Imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy (The New Press, 2007) and Notes From Underground: Zines and the Politics of Underground Culture (Verso, 1997) co-author, along with Andrew Mattson, of The Bobbed Haired Bandit: Crime and Celebrity in 1920s New York (New York University Press, 2006), editor of the Cultural Resistance Reader (Verso, 2002) , co-editor, along with Maxwell Tremblay, of White Riot: Punk Rock and the Politics of Race (Verso, 2011), and writes on the intersection of culture and politics for a range of scholarly and popular publications. Duncombe is also the creator of Open Utopia, an open-access, open-source, web-based edition of Thomas More’s Utopia. In 1998, he was awarded the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching by the State University of New York, where he taught before coming to New York University, and in 2012 was awarded the Dean's Award for Excellence in Teaching at Gallatin. Duncombe is co-founder and co-director of the Center for Artistic Activism, a research and training institute that helps activists to create more like artists and artists to strategize more like activists. His scholarly and activist work has been supported by, among others, the Open Society and Fulbright foundations and the National Endowment for the Humanities and National Endowment for the Arts.  

Awards & Honors

2019

The Copenhagen Experiment

Engaged Urbanists Working Group participant Stephen Duncombe and Silas Harrebye (Rothskilde University) published The Copenhagen Experiment, a report on artistic activism.

Books

2018

Duncombe 2018 Publications

Stephen Duncombe's Notes from Underground: Zines and the Politics of Alternative Culture (20th Anniversary Edition; Microcosm, 2017) was reissued. In 2018, the Spanish edition of Dream: Re-Imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy (Tinta Limón Ediciones, 2018) was published.

2012

Stephen Duncombe and Thomas More's "Open Utopia"

Stephen Duncombe and Thomas More's Open Utopia was published by Minor Compositions.

2011

White Riot

Stephen Duncombe's White Riot: Punk Rock and the Politics of Race was published by Verso.

2007

Stephen Duncombe's "Dream or Nightmare: Re-Imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy"

Stephen Duncombe's Dream or Nightmare: Re-Imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy was published by The New Press.  

Teaching and Research Interests

media and cultural studies; history of mass media; activist media and alternative culture; arts and politics  

Recent News

AWARDS AND HONORS

Stephen Duncombe was awarded a 2020 Distinguished Teaching Award from NYU. The Distinguished Teaching Award highlights New York University's commitment to teaching excellence and is given annually to selected outstanding members of the faculty.

in 2020, Duncombe created Aeffectapp.org, a web-based interactive planning and evaluation app for artistic activists.

Duncombe’s Center for Artistic Activism was awarded the following: a 2019-2021 Organization Grant from Open Society Foundations; a 2018-2019 University Research Challenge Fund (URCF) from New York University for the Æffect App; a Project Grant, with Co-PI Silas Harrebye, from the 2018 Fritt Ord Foundation, for The Copenhagen Experiment.

PUBLICATIONS

Stephen Duncombe and Steve Lambert co-wrote “Why So Much Art and Activism Fails (And What We Can Do To Fail Better),” an essay in Design (&) Activism (Mimesis International, December 2019), edited by Tom Bieling.

Duncombe contributed “Training Activists to be Fans: The ‘Moral Equivalent’ to Pop Culture,” a chapter in Popular Culture and the Civic Imagination Casebook (NYU Press, February 2020), edited by Henry Jenkins, Gabriel Peters-Lazaro, and Sangita Shresthova.

Duncombe wrote “Art of the Impossible: The Fear (and Pleasure) of Designing Utopia,” published in the Cornell Journal of Architecture in March 2020.

With Steve Lambert, Stephen Duncombe co-wrote “Why So Much Art and Activism Fails (And What We Can Do To Fail Better),” an essay in Design (&) Activism (Mimesis International, December 2019), edited by Tom Bieling.

Duncombe contributed “Training Activists to be Fans: The ‘Moral Equivalent’ to Pop Culture,” a chapter in Popular Culture and the Civic Imagination Casebook (NYU Press, 2020), edited by Henry Jenkins, Gabriel Peters-Lazaro, and Sangita Shresthova.

Duncombe was the lead author for “Assessing the Impact of Artistic Activism,” a white paper commissioned by the Open Society Foundation, published in January 2018.

Duncombe contributed the chapter “An Age of Protest, Protest for the Age,” ito PROTEST: On the politics, mediality, and aesthetics of protest cultures (Lars Müller Publishers, 2018).

Duncombe, along with Steve Lambert, contributed the chapter “Artistic Activism,” in Routledge Companion to Media and Activism (Graham Meikle, editor; Routledge, 2018)

CONFERENCES AND TALKS

Stephen Duncombe gave “Artistic Activism,” a remote lecture presented at the 13th International Education Conference at the University of Chicago held on November 6, 2020. Duncombe was also invited to present “Artistic Activism” remotely at Action Aid in Copenhagen.

Duncombe was an invited panelist at “States of Control: Who’s In Control?” hosted by the TOK Collective and the Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota on November 3, 2020.

Duncombe was an invited panelist at “What To Do When We Don’t Know What To Do: How I Stopped Worrying About The Election,” a program hosted by the A Blade of Grass Foundation in Prospect Park on October 26, 2020.

Duncombe was invited as a remote panelist to “Artists as Advocates,” at the Osgoode Hall Law School of York University in Canada on October 14, 2020.

Duncombe prepared art activist project evaluation reports on "Primitive Games - Memory/Cycle" and “Ritual 4 Return” for A Blade of Grass foundation. Duncombe also prepared “Artistic Activism in West Africa: Actions Evaluation,” an evaluation report for ActionAid Denmark in January 2020.

Duncombe gave “Artistic Activism,” a remote lecture presented at the 13th International Education Conference at the University of Chicago held on November 6, 2020. Duncombe was also invited to present “Artistic Activism” remotely at Action Aid in Copenhagen.

Duncombe was an invited panelist at “States of Control: Who’s In Control?” hosted by the TOK Collective and the Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota on November 3, 2020.

Duncombe was an invited panelist at “What To Do When We Don’t Know What To Do: How I Stopped Worrying About The Election,” a program hosted by the A Blade of Grass Foundation in Prospect Park on October 26, 2020.

Duncombe was invited as a remote panelist to “Artists as Advocates,” at the Osgoode Hall Law School of York University in Canada on October 14, 2020.

Duncombe prepared art activist project evaluation reports on "Primitive Games - Memory/Cycle" and “Ritual 4 Return” for A Blade of Grass foundation. Duncombe also prepared “Artistic Activism in West Africa: Actions Evaluation,” an evaluation report for ActionAid Denmark in January 2020.

Stephen Duncombe