Joseph Heathcott

Joseph Heathcott is a professor at The New School in New York and will be at the RIAS as a visiting Professor from 19 May to 30 May 2024. Heathcott’s research and teaching include cities real and imagined, urban spatial production, history and theory of built environments, race, class and urban planning, and the politics of urban development. 

Heathcott is the author of Global Queens: An Urban Mosaic (Fordham University), and The Routledge Handbook of Infrastructure Design: Global Views from Architectural History (Routledge), as well as co editor with Jonathan Soffer and Rae Zimmerman in Urban Infrastructure: Historical and Social Dimensions of an Interconnected World (University of Pittsburgh Press) and guest editor of Special issue of the Journal of the American Planning Association on the 75th Anniversary of Public Housing.

At the RIAS, he will continue working on his current project on “Photography at the End of Progress: Documerica and the Environmental Imaginary in the 1970s.”

Photography at the End of Progress: Documerica and the Environmental Imaginary in the 1970s.

Between 1971 and 1977, the Environmental Protection Agency sent dozens of leading photographers around the United States to record conditions in urban, suburban, rural, and wilderness areas. Known as Documerica, it was the largest federally sponsored photography program since the New Deal, and it left a rich legacy of over 15,000 unique still images. Professor Heathcott will provide an overview of the program and discuss some of the major themes that emerge from this trove of images. Drawing on work in progress, he will focus on the rise of an environmental consciousness in the 1970s and its representation in photography.