People

Headshot of Dr. Mark Stern

Mark J. Stern, PhD

  • Professor of Social Policy and History

  • Principal Investigator, Social Impact of the Arts Project

3718 Locust Walk, McNeil Building, Room 507
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6214

Research Interests

Social history & social welfare policy

The arts & culture, social wellbeing, & urban policy

Mark Stern is Professor of Social Policy and History at the University of Pennsylvania. An historian by training, Stern has taught social welfare policy since 1980. Stern holds a PhD in history from York University in Toronto, Canada and a BA from Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Stern has authored seven books and monographs on social welfare and social history. He is currently completing a study of the role of the arts and culture in promoting community wellbeing.

Research & Publications

Dr. Stern is founder and principal investigator of the Social Impact of the Arts Project (SIAP), a research group at Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice. Since 1994 Stern had led project-based inquiry, with support largely by external private and public funders, that conceptualizes culture and the arts as integral to social wellbeing and develops methods for measuring the impact of this sector on community life in Philadelphia and other U.S. cities.

Stern’s reports and papers (as author or co-author) based on the research are published on the SIAP website at: http://repository.upenn.edu/siap/. Stern’s monograph, Age and Arts Participation: A Case Against Demographic Destiny, was published by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2011.

Additional articles (with co-author) include: “Cultural Clusters: The Implications of Cultural Assets Agglomeration for Neighborhood Revitalization” in the Journal of Planning Education and Research (JPER 29 (3) 262-279, March 2010) and “Creative capabilities and community capacity,” in Enhancing Capabilities: The Role of Social Institutions, edited by Hans-Uwe Otto and Holger Ziegler (Barbara Budrich Publishers, Opladen Berlin Toronto 2013). His interview with artist Rick Lowe—“Project Row Houses. Interview: Rick Lowe, artist, and Mark J. Stern, professor of social history and urban studies”—was published in Tom Finkelpearl’s volume, What We Made: Conversations on Art and Social Cooperation, Chapter 5, “Social Vision and a Cooperative Community” (Duke University Press 2013).

Social Welfare: A History of America’s Response to Need. Ninth edition. Boston: Pearson Educational, 2017.

Engaging Social Welfare: An Introduction to Policy Analysis. Boston: Pearson Educational, 2014.

Age and arts participation: A case against demographic destiny.” Washington, D.C.: National Endowment for the Arts, 2011.

One Nation Divisible: What American Was and What It Is Becoming. New York: Russell Sage Foundation Press, 2006. (with Michael Katz).

Dependency and Poverty: Old Problems in a New World.  Lexington: Mass: Lexington Books, 1988. (with June Axinn)

Society and Family Strategy: Erie County, New York, 1850-1920. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1987.

The Social Organization of Early Industrial Capitalism. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1982. (with Michael B. Katz and Michael J. Doucet)

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