Call for Proposals: Support for Seminars on Topics in Spatial Inequality

The Center for Spatial Research at Columbia University (CSR) is pleased to announce funding to support the development of new courses that focus on topics related to spatial inequality at Columbia University.

Proposals for new courses are due April 5, 2019. Through support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation selected faculty will receive $15,000 in summer salary towards course development. All full-time Columbia University faculty, at any rank, are eligible to apply. We are seeking proposals for courses to be taught for the first time in Spring 2020, and/or during the 2020-2021 academic year.

The goal of this funding is to establish and support courses at the university that address spatial inequality from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including the humanities and the arts, and through innovative teaching approaches. After the initial course development faculty will incorporate newly designed seminars into their regular teaching offerings.

We will favor proposals that engage conceptually and pedagogically with critical cartography in course content, as well as those incorporate “making and doing” along with reading, textual analysis, and writing into their design of assignments for students. Faculty will have access to CSR-led workshop modules in digital mapping techniques, Questions in Spatial Research, that they can assign to their students to facilitate this effort (see further information below).

Institutional Context:

This CSR-directed and Mellon-sponsored initiative will support the development of one new interdisciplinary seminar per year over a period of three years. Selected courses will be a component of an ongoing research and teaching initiative at CSR with a focus on spatial inequality. Courses developed through this CSR program also contribute to a growing cluster of “thinking and doing” courses within the Division of Arts and Sciences. These courses aim to support undergraduates who wish to design their own program of study by bringing studio- and project-based learning into classrooms at the College.

The Center for Spatial Research was established in 2015 through a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation as a hub for urban research that links design, architecture, urbanism, the humanities and data science. It sponsors research and curricular activities built around new technologies of mapping, data visualization, data collection, and data analysis from a broad range of sources. CSR focuses on data literacy as well as interrogating the world of 'big data,' working to open up new areas of research and inquiry with advanced design tools to help scholars, students as well as our collaborators and audiences, to understand cities worldwide – past present and future.

Requirements and Support for Topics in Spatial Inequality Seminars:

Topics in Spatial Inequality seminars must be offered at the 4000 level and be open to students within the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Columbia’s undergraduate colleges, as well as the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.

The course must be taught in the semester indicated in the course proposal. This round of applications will consider courses for Spring 2020, Fall 2020 or Spring 2021.

The course must result in an online publication of student work (examples from prior CSR courses are available online and include Conflict Urbanism: Aleppo, Conflict Urbanism: Language Justice, and Conflict Urbanism: Infrapolitics).

All full-time Columbia University faculty, at any rank, are eligible to apply.

Beyond the one-time summer salary for faculty, selected seminars will be supported by CSR in a number of ways: 

  • CSR will lead a series of workshop modules, Questions in Spatial Research, as a 1.5 credit course that can provide technical instruction and ongoing project support to students in spatial inequality seminars. Faculty are encouraged to include a requirement to enroll in these workshops in their course design. Seminars that link with Questions in Spatial Research will have access to CSR-trained teaching assistants who can meet with students about course assignments and final projects throughout the semester. They may review the anticipated curriculum for Questions in Spatial Research here.
  • Models of classroom publishing programs are available from CSR, along with online tutorials that can be completed by students to aid in creating final class publications.
  • Funding for travel and honoraria is available on a case by case basis to support public events with invited lecturers to be designed in conjunction with seminar topic.

How to Apply

By April 5, 2019 please submit a proposal consisting of the following documents to

  • Course prospectus, of no more than 5 pages, that includes: a course description, sample schedule and bibliography, a description of potential assignments, and a statement indicating whether you are applying for the Spring 2020, or the 2020-2021 academic year.
  • CV of instructor(s)
  • Letter of support from department chair that indicates availability to teach course in Spring 2020 (or academic year 2020-2021), and support for incorporating the proposed seminar into regular departmental course offerings

Faculty are encouraged to speak and brainstorm with CSR Director Laura Kurgan ( and Assistant Director Dare Brawley ( about their potential course proposals. Courses will be selected by members of the CSR Steering Committee. One course for Spring 2020, and one course for the 2020-2021 academic year will be selected. All applicants will be notified of decisions by April 19, 2019.  


News Archive
Title Initiative Category Date
{{news.node.full_title}} {{news.node.initiative}} {{news.node.news_category}} {{news.node.posted_ts * 1000 | date: 'MMM d, yyyy'}}
{{ news.node.intro_text}}