Skip to Main Content

AMST 331: Photographing the City: Urban Pictures, Urban Places: Home


This course guide is intended to assist students in their exhibition essays and related work for the course "Photographing the City: Urban Pictures, Urban Places," taught by Kristin Hankins during Fall term 2022 at Yale University. The selection of resources included in this guide is not intended to be comprehensive.

Library Contacts

Students in AMST 331 should feel free to contact any of the following librarians as a starting point for research assistance with their projects for this course.

  • Joshua Cochran: Curator, American History and Diplomacy, Beinecke Library -
  • Tess Colwell: Arts Librarian for Research Services -
  • James Kessenides: Kaplanoff Librarian for American History, Sterling Memorial Library -
  • Bill Landis: Education Program Director, Beinecke Library - 

Yale Library Search Tools

The main search tools for finding books, articles, databases, archival collections, and more at Yale (and beyond) can all be found on the "Find, Request, and Use" page of the library's website. Here are a few quick refreshers, but be sure to visit the page for a full overview:

"Convention Center, New York City"

"Convention Center, New York City"

Robert Giard, 1986

Robert Giard Papers, Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Background Sources

Background or "reference" sources are a great place to start your research. Reference works include bibliographies, scholarly encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, and other sources that provide overviews of topics and suggestions for further reading.

A Concise Companion to Visual Culture

A Companion to the City

For instance, includes the chapter by Anthony Vidler, "Photourbanism: Planning the City from Above and Below," though other chapters could be helpful, too. 

Oxford Art Online

A gateway offering users the ability to search multiple Grove and Oxford artreference sources on one platform, including: Grove Art Online, Benezit Dictionary of Artists, The Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, The Oxford Companion to Western Art, and The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms. Includes image partnerships with ARTstor, the British Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Art Images for College Teaching, Art Resource, Artists Rights Society and international art galleries and artists.

The New Blackwell Companion to the City

Oxford Bibliographies
An extensive collection of annotated bibliographies often pointing to both primary and secondary sources. There is an "Art History" module that includes the article "History of Photography," but there may be relevant articles in other modules, too.

Routledge Companion to Photography and Visual Culture (print)

Routledge Companion to Urban Media and Communication

Routledge Companion to Media and the City

Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History
A scholarly encyclopedia that includes a set of articles in Urban History -- just one example being "The Central Business District in American Cities."

Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Literature

Many of the articles here discuss aspects of photography and visual culture.

Building Types Online

Provides access to the content of select Birkhäuser manuals in typological order. Includes case studies by experts, architectural drawings, and photographs of the buildings. Browsable by building type, urban context, morphological type, context type, and author. Thematic articles provide background information on individual building types or explain specific aspects such as lighting, acoustics, urban considerations, access types, or planning processes.

Oxford Handbooks Online
Lengthy chapters in the Oxford Handbooks usually provide helpful overviews of scholarly topics and historical literature, along with suggestions for further reading. A number of the handbooks may be helpful depending on your research topic.

Secondary Sources/Subject Databases

In addition to the online library catalog (Books+ and Orbis), reference sources, and footnotes in sources you've already found (etc.), subject-specific databases are another extremely helpful resource for finding secondary literature, including the latest scholarly journal articles in the field, and some key ones are:

Searching these databases will allow you to check for the latest scholarly articles, reviews of books, citations to book chapters, and more in historical journals such as The American Historical Review and Journal of American History.

Art and Architecture ePortal