Setha Low received her Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley. She started her career as an Assistant and Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, City and Regional Planning, and Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Low is currently DISTINGUISHED Professor of Environmental Psychology, Geography, Anthropology, and Women’s Studies, and Director of the Public Space Research Group at The Graduate Center, City University of New York, where she teach courses and trains Ph.D. students in the anthropology of space and place, urban anthropology, culture and environment, and cultural values in historic preservation. She has been awarded a Getty Fellowship, a NEH fellowship, a Fulbright Senior Fellowship and a Guggenheim for her ethnographic research on public space in Latin America and the United States. She is widely published and lectures internationally on these issues. Dr. Low was the President of the American Anthropological Association 2007-2009.
Her writing has focused on ethnographies of space and place as well as path-breaking edited volumes on public space and urban anthropology. They include: Politics of Public Space (2006 Routledge with Neil Smith), Rethinking Urban Parks: Public Space and Cultural Diversity (2005, University of Texas Press with S. Scheld and D. Taplin), Behind the Gates: Life, Security and the Pursuit of Happiness in Fortress America (2004, Routledge), The Anthropology of Space and Place: Locating Culture (2003, Blackwell with D. Lawrence-Zuniga), On the Plaza: The Politics of Public Space and Culture (2000, University of Texas), Theorizing the City: The New Urban Anthropology Reader (1999, Rutgers University Press), Place Attachment (1992, Plenum with I. Altman). Her most recent books are Spatializing Culture: The Ethnography of Space and Place (2017, Routledge), Anthropology and the City: Engaging the City (2019, Routledge) and Spaces of Security co-edited with M. Maguire (2019, NYU Press). Her current research is on the impact of private governance on New York condo and co-op residents and the development of an ethnographic methodology for the evaluation of social justice and inclusion in public space. Her activism in public space and social justice can be followed by her twitter feed at @sethalow [twitter.com] or on thepsrg.org [thepsrg.org] website.