Alan Blum

Field of Study: Media & Culture York University
Phone: (416) 323-3251
Office location: 100 York Boulevard
Office hours: Vari Hall 2060
B.A. Anthropology and Sociology (Roosevelt); M.A. (University of Chicago); Ph.D. Sociology and Social Psychology (University of Chicago
Alan Blum is the Director of the Culture of Cities Centre located in Toronto and was one of the principal investigators of the research project on City Life and Well-Being: the Grey Zone of Health and Illness funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research. Dr. Blum received his PhD from the University of Chicago, was US National Institutes of Mental Health Fellow in the department of Psychiatry at Harvard, and was a Visiting Fellow at Cambridge University, King’s College, England. becoming professor of sociology at Columbia University and New York University. He is currently a Senior Scholar and teaches in several graduate programs at York University and the University of Waterloo such as Sociology and Social and Political Thought at York, and in the Graduate Programs of English and Rhetoric, and in Sociology at the University of Waterloo. Blum was a Visiting Professor at universities in the US and the UK including the University of Wales, The Institute of Social Change at the University of California at Berkeley, Virginia Commonwealth University, and the New College of the University of South Florida, and has been recipient of research fellowships from foundations such as Leverhulme, and the MacArthur among others . He is the author of numerous books, including Theorizing; On the Beginning of Social Inquiry (with Peter McHugh, Stanley Raffel and Daniel Foss);Self-Reflection in the Arts and Sciences (with Peter McHugh); The Imaginative Structure of the City;. and The Grey Zone of Health and Illness. He was the originator and co-director of the Institute of Social Theory in Perugia, Italy (1978-83). Dr. Blum is currently completing a collection of studies on the culture of the city entitled Secret Space, Sacred Place, a monograph on The Material City, as well as a variety of current research studies on health and the city.
Research Interests.
Medical Humanities; Culture of the City; Sociology of Knowledge; Theorizing Everyday Life; The Imaginary, Symbolic, and Real registers of Social Life and Phenomena
Recent Grant
Social and Ethical Foundations of Caregiving (with Dr. Stuart Murray). Canadian Institutes of Health Research Dissemination Grant, 2012
Selected Recent Publications

The Grey Zone in Health and Illness (Intellect Press:  Bristol, UK: University of Chicago, 2011The Imaginative Structure of the City (Montreal: McGill-Queen's Press, 2003)Chapters in Books
“The Imaginary of Self Satisfaction: Reflections on the Platitude of the “Creative City” in Circulation and the City: Essays on Mobility and Urban Culture edited by Alexandrta Boutros and Will Straw, Montreal: McGill-Queen’s Press, 2010.“Preserving the Notion of Preservation: The Ineradicable Perpetuity of Me, Myself and I”,  in  The Venice Charter Revisited, edited by Mathew Hardy, published by Cambridge Scholars Press, 2010.

“Dying, Waiting: The Imaginary of Light Hearted Writing” in Spectacular Death: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Mortality and (Un)representability, edited by Tristanne Connolly, Intellect Press, 2010.

2008. “Health, Desire, City: Theorizing and the Method of Analogy” in Alternative Histories of Urban Consumption, edited by Susan Ingram, Mille, Tre Verlag, Wien.

“The Border between Intimacy and Anonymity in Innocuous Action: The Greeting as Social Form.” Journal of Classical Sociology. 2015

“Death, Happiness, and the Meaning of Life: The View from Sociology.” Journal of Classical Sociology. Vol 15 number 1 24-38. 2014

“Guide(s) for the Perplexed: Science and Literature as Equipment for Living.” Philosophy and Rhetoric. Volume 48.1: 54-72. 2014

“Durkheim’s Ruse: The Concept as a Seduction.” The Canadian Journal of Sociology 39(4): 367-394. 2014

“The Ordeal of Solitude.” History of the Human Sciences 27(2): 118–132. 2014

“Aging as a Social Form: The Phenomenology of the Passage.” Journal of Medical Humanities 35: 19–36. 2013

“Motive, Desire, Drive: The Discourse of Force.” Compaso: Journal of Comparison in Anthropology and Sociology 4(2): 5–18. 2013

“The Enigma of the Brain and its Place as Cause, Character, and Pretext in the Imaginary of Dementia.” The History of the Human Sciences 25(4): 108–124. 2012

2005 "Ground Zero comme Spectacle," for issue on Le Spectacle des Villes in Sociologie et Sociétés, edited by Anouk Bélanger and J .F. Côté, Spring, Volume XXXVII, Number 1.

2003 "New York New York”, Monopolis: Globalization and Urban Studies International Research Center for Cultural Studies and the Institute for Urban and Regional Research.

2002 “Un lieu qui n’en est pas un”, Spirale, January-February, Number 182.

2001 “Scenes,” in Scenes and the City: Special Issue of Public, edited by Janine Marchessault and Will Straw, November.

2001 “Voice and its Registers”, Poeisis: Journal of Art and Communication.

The enigma of the brain and its place as cause, character and pretext in the imaginary of dementia, History of the Human Sciences, 2012, volume 25 number 4, October.

Motive, desire, drive: the discourse of force, in Compasso. Journal of Comparative Research in Anthropology and Sociology. Special Issue: Motives in Social Organization, Guest Editor Richard Fitzgerald, Volume 4, number 2, Winter 2013, pp 5-18.

Age as a Social Form: the Phenomenology of the Passage, 2014, Medical Humanities, volume 35 number 1 March.

Durkheim's Ruse: the Concept as a Seduction, Canadian Journal of Sociology, forthcoming 2014

Death, Happiness and the Meaning of Life: the View from Sociology, Journal  of Classical Sociology, forthcoming 2014-15

Guide(s) for the Perplexed: Science and Literature as Equipment for Living, Philosophy and Rhetoric, forthcoming 2014-15

The ordeal of solitude, History of the Human Sciences, forthcoming 2014

Paper presented, August 6th 2013 IIEMCA Conference: The International Institute for Ethnomethodology and Conversational Analysis, Wilfred Laurier University. “The Jouissance of Ethnomethodology: Imaginary, Desire, Drive, Section on Technology and Reflectivity”.
Plenary Address, August13 :  Conference: Poeticizing the Urban Apparatus: Scenes of Innovation in the City, New York, Centre of Social Innovation. “Art of Innovation and its Bottom Line: Making Do, Making and/as Doing, Making Music Together.”