About Me

Stephen Duncombe is Professor of Media and Culture at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study and the Department of Media, Culture and Communications at the Steinhardt School of New York University. He is the author, co-author, editor, and co-editor of eight books, including The Art of Activism; Dream: Re-Imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy; Notes From Underground: Zines and the Politics of Underground Culture; The Activist Angler; The Bobbed Haired Bandit: Crime and Celebrity in 1920s New York; the Cultural Resistance Reader; White Riot: Punk Rock and the Politics of Race; and (Open) Utopia. He has written numerous articles on the intersection of culture and politics, lectured at venues around the world, and once even debated the political impact of the arts at the Oxford Union. Duncombe is also the creator of the Open Utopia, an open-access, open-source, web-based edition of Thomas More’s Utopia,  co-creator of Actipedia.org, a user-generated digital database of creative activism case studies, and creator of the ÆffectApp, an interactive assessment tool for artistic activists. In 1998, he was awarded the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching by the State University of New York , was presented with the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching at NYU’s Gallatin school in 2012, and received New York University’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 2020. Duncombe is a life-long political activist, co-founding a community based advocacy group in the Lower East Side of  Manhattan, which won an award for “Creative Activism” from the Abbie Hoffman Foundation, and working as an organizer for the NYC chapter of the international direct action group, Reclaim the Streets.  He is co-founder and Research Director of the Center for Artistic Activism, a research and training institute that helps activists to create more like artists and artists to strategize more like activists. Duncombe is currently writing a book on the effect and affect of artistic activism, and his scholarly and activist work has been supported by, among others, the Open Society and Fulbright foundations and the National Endowment for the Humanities and National Endowment for the Arts.

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