James Dickinson

Faculty / James Dickinson

Professor of Sociology

Department Name 
Sociology and Criminology
Office Location 
Fine Arts 283
Mailing Address 
2083 Lawrence Road, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648
James Dickinson

Dr. James Dickinson (Ph.D., University of Toronto) teaches Social and Cultural Change, Cities and Suburbs, Social Inequality, and The Senior Seminar, as well as interdisciplinary courses on development in the Baccalaureate Honors Program. He has been curator of several exhibitions for the University Gallery. His current research interests include change and the contemporary city, issues in contemporary art, and the sociology of architecture. He has recently written and published on the built environment of American cities, contemporary landscape and public art, and the history of prison architecture. His earlier work focuses on the sociology of development and the social reproduction process.

Research/Teaching Areas

  • Senior Research Seminar
  • Cities and Suburbs
  • Visual Culture of Cities
  • Stratification and Inequality
  • Social and Cultural Change
  • Environmental Sociology

Current Projects

  • "A Thousand Points of Blight: Fixing Up Worn-Out Cities"
  • "Assembly-Line Picassos: Making Art in Contemporary Culture"
  • "Modern and Postmodern Photographic Depictions of the Industrial Landscape"

Selected Publications

  • “From Graffiti to Murals and Back Again: Philadelphia’s Spectacular Streetscape,” in Visualidades Volume 10, No 1 (2012).
  • “Killadelphia,” Contexts (In Pictures feature), Volume 11, No.3 (Summer 2012).
  • "Metropolis" in Encyclopedia of Sociology. Edited by George Ritzer. (New York: Blackwell Publications, 2006).
  • "Still Swept Away: New Orleans Four Months After Katrina," Designer/builder, March/April 2006.
  • "Monuments of Tomorrow: Industrial Ruins at the Millennium," Critical Perspectives on Urban Redevelopment, Volume 6, 2001, pp. 33-74.
  • "Journey Into Space: Interpretations of Landscape in Contemporary Art" in David E. Nye, Editor, Technologies of Landscape, (Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 1999), pp.40-66.
  • "A Cheerless Blank: Philadelphia's Eastern State Penitentiary and The Architecture of Solitary Confinement," Designer/builder, November 2000, pp. 17-27.
  • "Entropic Zones: Buildings and Structures of the Contemporary City," Capitalism, Nature, Socialism 7 (3) September 1996, pp. 81-95.
  • (with Bob Russell) Family, Economy and State: The Social Reproduction Process Under Capitalism, (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1986).
  • (with Susan A. Mann) "Obstacles to the Development of a Capitalist Agriculture," Journal of Peasant Studies, Vol. 5, No. 4, 1978.

Art Exhibitions and Catalogs

  • Four exhibitions curated for the Rider Art Gallery. Illustrated catalogs for each show available on request.
  • Material Life: The Painting and Sculpture of Michael Frechette, 2002
  • Grinding the Wind: The Kinetic Sculpture of Alison Kuby Netz, 2000
  • A State of Bliss: The Art and Illustration of Rachel Bliss, 1997
  • "Entropic Zones: Buildings and Structures of the Contemporary City", 1995
  • Music CD: "Collins/Null: Music from an Exhibition," 2005 (also available)