Faculty Bio

Brian Godfrey

Professor of Geography

Brian Godfrey was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, where his parents taught at the Punahou School. After his family moved back to the U.S. mainland, he grew up and completed his schooling in California. Brian received his B.A. in History from Pomona College in Claremont, before proceeding to get his M.A. and Ph.D. in Geography, with City & Regional Planning as his outside field, from the University of California, Berkeley. He has enjoyed teaching at Vassar and living in the Hudson Valley and New York City for more than three decades now.

His interests center on urban and regional change. Brian studies global cities, place-making and public space, race and ethnic geography, memory and heritage, urban political ecology, and global urbanization. Favoring the analytical lens of historical geography, he asks how and why social, spatial, and environmental patterns change over time. For example, what are the causes and consequences of urban redevelopment, immigration, gentrification, historic preservation, ecological restoration, and so on? His scholarship focuses largely on the Americas - particularly the United States, Latin America, and Brazil - while his teaching covers global issues.

He regularly teaches "Global Geography: People, Places, and Regions" (GEOG 102); “Brazil in Crisis: Continuity and Change” (GEOG/INTL/LALS 242); “Urban Geography: Space, Place, and Environment” (GEOG/URBS 252); and “Developing Cities: Urbanization of the Global South” (GEOG/INTL/URBS 252). Recent seminars have included "Global Ghetto: Ethnic Geographies of Divided Cities" (URBS 303); “Greening the City: Urban Landscapes and Public Spaces” (URBS 303); and “Preserving Whose City? Memory and Identity” (GEOG/URBS 372). Besides Geography, Brian also teaches Environmental StudiesLatin American & Latin@ Studies, and Urban Studies.

Published Books

Selected Publications: Articles and Book Chapters 

Recent Professional Papers and Presentations