Steinhardt on 9/11

As the 10-year anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center approaches, the entire NYU community will be paying tribute to the lives lost and reflecting upon the impact of that tragic day on our city and our world. And individuals will find their own ways to commemorate the tragedy, whether by attending a memorial or discussion, or by expressing their own thoughts and feelings in their work or their art.

At Steinhardt, a number of our faculty have done or are continuing to engage in research, scholarship, and creative works that address 9/11, its impact, and our future. Here we share a selection of that work as part of our contribution to the events and activities that will take place here at NYU and in New York City.

Artistic Responses

Ikuko Acosta, Clinical Assistant Professor of Art and Art Education, is co-coordinating the art exhibition, "9/11Arts: A Decade Later," which will include works by first responders and other populations directly impacted by the terrorist attacks, and interactive components for viewers who wish to become more deeply immersed in their own feelings and reflections about 9/11. The exhibition will run September 11-18, 2011, in the Barney Building, 34 Stuyvesant Street, First Floor Commons Gallery. Learn More.

Marilyn Nonken, Assistant Professor of Music and Music Education, recorded and continues to perform a piano work written by Australian composer Chris Dench, "passing bells: night," which appears on the album, BeyondStatusGeometry: MusicofChrisDench. The WashingtonPost reviewed her performance and wrote, "Dench's "passing bells: night" was described as a musical response to the events of September 11, 2001, which should not be held against it. This is neither anguished threnody nor jingoistic march, and while it may have been inspired by horrors, it does not exploit them. Rather "passing bells: night" is a sustained meditation, throughout which a deep, moist tintinnabulation resounds. Nonken made the most of its dark poetry."

Gerald Pryor, Associate Professor of Art and Art Education, has led a BODY SLAM performance in commemoration of 9/11 every year since 2001; this year’s performance will take place on Friday, September 9 at 7:00 PM in the Barney Building, 34 Stuyvesant Street.

Julia Wolfe, Assistant Professor of Music Composition, has written three compositions in response to 9/11, which she witnessed two blocks from the World Trade Center: “Compassion” for solo piano, commissioned by and written for pianist Sarah Cahill; “My Beautiful Scream,” a string quartet concerto written for the Kronos Quartet that was co-commissioned by Radio France, The Basel Sinfonietta, and the Brooklyn Philharmonic (listen here); and “Big Beautiful Dark and Scary,” commissioned by the MAP Fund and written for the Bang on a Can All-Stars. Big Beautiful Dark and Scary will be released on a CD of the same name on the Cantaloupe Music label in January 2012.

Research and Scholarship

J. Lawrence Aber, Distinguished Professor of Applied Psychology, co-authored the article, "Estimating the effects of September 11th, 2001, and other forms of violence on the mental health and social development of New York City’s youth: A matter of context," AppliedDevelopmentalScience (2004), 8 (3), 111-129. See article.

Dipti Desai, Associate Professor of Art and Art Education, co-authored an article with two students, Thi Bui and Lisa Di Filippo, based on a public art intervention conducted on campus after 9/11: “Critical Mass[es]: Reflections on the Flag Project as Activist Art,” (2001/2002), Journal of Cultural Research in Art Education, 19(20), 58-67.

Allen Feldman, Associate Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication, has authored numerous articles following 9/11, including:  “Ground Zero Point One: On the Cinematics of History,” in The World Trade Center and the Global Crisis: Some Critical Perspectives, ed. Bruce Kapferer (New York: Berghan Books, 2004), see chapter; “Deterritorialized Wars of Public Safety,” in State, Sovereignty, War: Civil Violence in Emerging Global Realities, ed. Bruce Kapferer, (New York: Berghan Books, 2004), see chapter;  “Securocratic Wars of Public Safety: Global Policing as Scopic Regime,” Interventions, Journal of Postcolonial Studies, Volume 6(3), (2004), see article; “Abu Ghraib: Ceremonies of Nostalgia,” Open Democracy series: “After Image: The Meaning of Abu Ghraib,” (2004), see article; and “The Structuring Enemy and Archival War,” in War, Publication of the Modern Language Association Journal PMLA, Vol. 124, No.5 (2009), see article.

Perry Halkitis, Associate Dean for Research and Doctoral Studies and Professor of Applied Psychology and Public Health, co-authored the articles, "Adherence to HIV Medications in a Cohort of Men Who Have Sex With Men: Impact of September 11th," JournalofUrbanHealth (2003), 80 (1), 161-166; and "Risk-Taking Behaviors of Gay and Bisexual Men in New York City Post 9/11," JournalofHomosexuality (2010), 57(7), 862-877; and is currently writing an editorial for ChelseaNow on running a research center and studies during 9/11. See article and abstract here.

Selcuk Sirin, Assistant Professor of Applied Psychology, co-authored Muslim American Youth: Understanding Hyphenated Identities through Multiple Methods (NYU Press, 2008), which examines the psychological well-being of Muslim youth post-9/11. Learn more.

Lisa Suzuki and Mary McRae, Associate Professors of Applied Psychology, were among the authors of the article, “Coping responses of Asian, Black, and Latino/a New York City residents following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the United States,” (2005), Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 11(4), 293-308.  See article.

Beth Weitzman, Associate Dean for Academic and Faculty Affairs and Professor of Health and Public Policy, co-authored the article, "Disaster in Context: The Effects of 9/11 on Youth Distant from the Attacks," CommunityMentalHealthJournal, (2010) 46:601–611. See article.

Therapy and Support

Ron Esposito, Professor of Applied Psychology, set up counseling sessions for the families of over 100 people from a major investment company who were killed on 9/11, organized counseling meetings for firefighters in local firehouses through the Red Cross, and mobilized graduate students to do grief and bereavement counseling, working with employees who were traumatized and setting up longer term PTSD programs.

Robert Landy, Professor of Educational Theatre and Applied Psychology, authored "Sifting Through the Images—A Drama Therapist’s Response to the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2011," TheArtsinPsychotherapy (2002), 29(3), 135-141; "Drama as a means of preventing post-traumatic stress following trauma within a community," JournalofAppliedArtsandHealth (2010), 1(1), 7-18 (see article); and participated in "Standing Tall, a 24-minute video of a 9/11 therapeutic performance project (2004), Boston: Fanlight Productions, DVD available from producer/director Peggy Stern at In addition, he and David Montgomery, Clinical Assistant Professor of Educational Theatre, co-authored the forthcoming book, TheatreforChange: Education, SocialAction,Therapy (London: Palgrave Macmillan, March 2012).

Reflections & Meditations

Judith Alpert, Professor of Applied Psychology, has written on the subject of trauma post-9/11, including "New York University and 9/11: Viewing Terrorism through a Dormitory Window," a chapter in PsychologicalInterventionsinTimesofCrisis (Spring Publishing Company, 2006); and co-edited (with Avital Ronell and Shireen Patell from GSAS) a special issue of Traumatology with contributions from faculty, students, and staff who were at NYU during 9/11.

Robby Cohen, Professor of Social Studies Education, and Diana Turk, Associate Professor of Social Studies Education, were among the authors of the article, "Debating War and Peace in Washington Square Park," Social Education, Nov./Dec. 2001, Vol 65. pp. 398-404, see article.  Cohen and Pedro Noguera, Peter L. Agnew Professor of Education, co-authored the chapter, "Educators in the War on Terror," in Joel Westheimer, ed., Pledging Allegiance: The Politics of Patriotism in America's Schools (Teachers College Press, 2007).  Learn more

Iris Fodor, Professor of Applied Psychology, authored the articles, "Reflections on September 11: When therapist and client participate in the same trauma," BritishGestaltJournal (2001), 10 (2), 81-85 (see abstract); and "Photography as Healing: September 11 through the lens of the viewers," Gestalt! (2002), 6 (1), 1-11 (see article).

Marita Sturken, Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication, authored the book, Tourists of History: Memory, Kitsch, and Consumerism from Oklahoma City to Ground Zero (Duke University Press, 2007), in which she argues that we respond to national trauma in the US through consumerism, kitsch sentiment, and tourist practices in ways that reveal a tenacious investment in the concept of innocence in American culture. Learn more.

Carol Gilligan, Professor of Humanities and Applied Psychology, is participating in a symposium at Lincoln Center as part of Interdependence Day, this year taking place on and commemorating 9/11. She will appear as part of the closing plenary, moderated by Tavis Smiley and featuring Cornel West, Benjamin Barber, Howard Dean, and Khalil Gibran Muhammad. Learn More.

Jonathan Zimmerman, Professor of History and Education, published the first column on 9/11 in EducationWeek titled, "Talking about terrorism," on October 3, 2001 (see article). He has published other editorials on the subject, including "Don’t skip the hard lessons of Sept. 11th," Newsday, August 8, 2002 (see article); "War: Kids must make up their minds," SeattlePost-Intelligencer, June 9, 2004 (see article); and "On 9/11, keep war politics out of the classroom," NewYorkDailyNews, September 7, 2006 (see article).