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Gwendolyn Wright

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Professor Emerita

Gwendolyn Wright is Professor Emerita at Columbia GSAPP where, in 1985, she was the first woman to receive tenure. She received her M.Arch. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of California at Berkeley. Academic awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Getty Fellowship, and election to the Society of American Historians which honors literary quality.

Wright has focused principally on American architecture and urbanism from the late-nineteenth century to the present day. She has also written extensively about transnational exchanges, especially colonial and more recent neo-colonial aspects of both modernism and historic preservation. She is the author of six books and many articles.

Her most recent book is USA: Modern Architectures in History (Reaktion Books/University of Chicago Series, 2008), which recasts established ideas about American modernism by highlighting key shifts and conflicts about work, homes and public life from 1865 to the present. Architecture and the entire built environment provide a matrix that interweaves social norms and individual imaginations, high art and popular culture, prevailing conditions and visions of change.

Since 2003 Professor Wright has also served as a host of the popular PBS television series, “History Detectives”. This program traces the dynamic processes and quandaries of historical investigations. Attracting professionals and the general public alike, the show reveals how historians track ideas and weigh conflicting evidence about what happened, why, and history’s implications for the present. Professor Wright retired in 2019.


Course Semester Title Student Work Instructor Syllabus Requirements & Sequence Location & Time Session & Points Call No.
A4598‑1 Fall 2017
Modern Housing
Gwendolyn Wright Syllabus History - Modern or American, Cap 20
408 Avery
TU 11 AM - 1 PM
Full Semester
3 Points
A6769‑1 Fall 2017
Histories of American Cities
Gwendolyn Wright Syllabus History - Urban Or American
200 South Fayerweather
M 11 AM - 1 PM
Full Semester
3 Points
A4529‑1 Spring 2017
Colonial/Post-Colonial Architecture and Urbanism
Gwendolyn Wright History/Theory - Non Western or Urban
408 Avery Hall
M 11 AM - 1 PM
Full Semester
3 Points