Mark J. Stern, PhD

  • Professor

  • Co-Director, Urban Studies Program

  • Principal Investigator, Social Impact of the Arts Project

Urban Studies Program, 130 McNeil Building
3718 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6209
  • office: 215.898.4928
  • fax: 215.573.2134

Link to Scholarly Papers

Dr. Stern is Co-Director of the Urban Studies Program 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.

Research & Publications

Dr. Stern’s scholarship covers United States social history, social welfare policy, and the impact of the arts and culture on urban neighborhoods. He has authored or co-authored six books, including One Nation Divisible: What America Was and What It Is Becoming (with Michael B. Katz, Russell Sage Foundation Press, 2006), which examines the history of social inequality during the 20th century. Their article, “The New African American Inequality” in The Journal of American History (June 2005), received the 2006 Binkley-Stephenson Award by the Organization of American Historians for the best scholarly article published in the journal in the previous year. Stern’s new book, Engaging Social Welfare: An Introduction to Policy Analysis (Pearson Educational, 2014), examines how social workers can influence policy through practice.

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. 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).

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).