Nick Yablon is a cultural historian of 19th-century and early 20th-century America. He took his B.A. in History from the University of Birmingham, England, and his Ph.D. in History from the University of Chicago, and is currently associate professor of American Studies at the University of Iowa.
His research focuses on experiences and representations of time and space in the American city during the nineteenth and early twentieth century. His first book, Untimely Ruins: An Archaeology of American Urban Modernity, 1819-1919 (University of Chicago Press, 2009), explores how the growth of U.S. cities was accompanied by various kinds of “modern ruins,” which in turn became focal points for debates about features of urban life. His second will be a cultural history of the idea of posterity in the late nineteenth century, based on materials (e.g. photographs, phonographs, letters, and material culture) that were deposited in the earliest time capsules (1876-1914). He is also working on a book about a largely forgotten photographer of New York at the turn of the 20th century, and on the connections between amateur photography, historic preservation, and urban archaeology during that period.
Wider research interests include: urban history; architectural history; the built environment; technology; the history of time, business history and business fiction; visual culture (especially history of photography); sound studies; memory (and monument) studies, disaster studies, and theories of modernity and urbanism.
At University of Iowa, he teaches undergraduate seminars on the History of Time in America; American Disasters; American Business Cultures; American Cityscapes; American History Through Things; Fame and Celebrity in America; as well as the lecture course, Understanding American Cultures. His graduate seminars include: Theory and Practice of American Studies; Cultures of American Architecture; Money and American Culture; Temporality in American History; Monuments, Memorials, and Memory in America.