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Steven Dubin

Professional Background

Educational Background

M.A., Sociology, 1976, University of Chicago
Ph.D., Sociology, 1982, University of Chicago
Postdoctoral Studies: University of Chicago and Yale University

Scholarly Interests

Sociology of art and culture; censorship and freedom of expression; museum studies; mass media and popular culture; collective memory; culture and politics of South Africa

Selected Publications

biographical information

Steven Dubin comes to Teachers College after being a faculty member at Purchase College--State University of New York for 19 years. There he directed the Media, Society, and the Arts Program, which links the arts conservatories and the liberal arts, since 1988. He received his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago; in addition, he did postdoctoral work at both the University of Chicago and Yale University. Professor Dubin has also offered courses in the Columbia Summer Session since 1985.  

He is the author of Bureaucratizing the Muse: Public Funds and the Cultural Worker (1987); Arresting Images: Impolitic Art and Uncivil Actions (1992, paperback edition, 1994 ; cited as a Notable Book of the Year by The New York Times , and by the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights); Displays of Power: Memory and Amnesia in the American Museum (1999; paperback edition, 2000), and the forthcoming Transforming Museums: Mounting Queen Victoria in a Democratic South Africa (2006).

Professor Dubin has won many awards, including the Fulbright-Hays Faculty Abroad Research Fellowship to South Africa, the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities, The Lady Davis Fellowship Trust Visiting Professorship at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and residencies at The Bellagio Study & Conference Center (Bellagio, Italy), The Ragdale Foundation (Lake Forest, Illinois), and The Ucross Foundation (Clearmont, Wyoming).

He has written and lectured widely on public funding of the arts, censorship, transgressive and controversial art, obscenity, museums, and popular culture.   His articles and reviews have appeared in Contemporary Sociology, American Journal of Sociology, Urban Life, Social Problems, Social Forces, Sociological Inquiry, Symbolic Interaction, Visual Anthropology,   Journal of Aesthetic Education, Journal of Arts Management and Law, Curator Magazine, Nation, Jewish Currents, Common Quest, New Art Examiner and Art in America .  

He is frequently sought for commentary by journalists, and Arresting Images was referenced in a 1992 court decision involving the police seizure of a painting in Chicago. In addition, Professor Dubin has become a free speech activist, breaking the story of corporate censorship by Mattel, Inc. in regards to "Art, Design, and Barbie: The Evolution of a Cultural Icon," a 1995 museum exhibition which he helped curate. His article "How I Got Screwed by Barbie" generated news coverage nationwide. He also dissected the evolution of the controversy over the 1999 exhibition "Sensation" at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, a story featured in Art in America .

He has been traveling throughout Southern Africa for the past five years, including the countries of Namibia, South Africa, Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland. Some of the research he has done is reflected in his forthcoming book on the transformation of South African museums during the post-apartheid period, since 1994.

principal publications

Books: Transforming Museums: Mounting Queen Victoria in a Democratic South Africa. New York: Palgrave/Macmillan, 2006 .

Displays of Power: Memory and Amnesia in the American Museum. New York: New York University Press, 1999.  Expanded paperback edition, Displays of Power:   Controversy in the American Museum from Enola Gay to Sensation, 2000.

Arresting Images: Impolitic Art and Uncivil ActionsNew York: Routledge, 1992.  Paperback edition, 1994.

Bureaucratizing the Muse: Public Funds and the Cultural Worker. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987.

Articles:   "Our Man in Havana: Robert Mapplethorpe--Myths, Legends, Realities," Art in America, May, 2006.

"Uncivil Wars in Civil (-zed) Places," in MacDonald, Sharon, ed., Blackwell Companion to Museum StudiesLondon: Blackwell, 2006.

"Bring in da' Noise, Bring in da' Funk," pp. 18-25 in Ishumi/10. [A Decade of DemocracyDurban: Durban Art Museum, 2005.

A&HG 4173: Arts in context

Permission of professor required. A seminar and lecture-style course designed to provide a multi-disciplinary and cross-cultural context for discussions of aesthetic, ethical, and political questions that define and challenge the responsible arts administrator’s role.

A&HG 4575: Master's seminar in arts administration

Permission from program coordinator required. Full-time degree candidates only. Required for all master’s students. Guided independent work culminating in the development of a comprehensive research plan and methodology to produce the culminating master’s essay. 

A&HG 4970: Supervised individual research in arts administration and arts education

Permission from program coordinator required. Independent research in arts administration.

Steven Dubin appeared in the following articles:

Columbia and TC Cited for Fulbright Excellence (11/8/2011)

November Calender of events (11/1/2008)