Melanie Lorek


I am a sociologist with an interest in culture, social memory, social transformations, post-socialism, and research methods. I recently defended my dissertation titled Ostalgia: Where Biography Meets History in the Sociology Department of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. In this research, I examine the mechanisms through which personal and collective memory draw on the past and the ways in which this past is used to construct, build, and negotiate the present. Before coming to the Graduate Center, I attended Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin in Germany where I received my Master’s degree in Social Sciences. In 2012, I co-founded the network Third Generation Ost USA with the goal of providing a platform for new perspectives and approaches to researching the legacy of the German Democratic Republic (GDR).

Currently, I am Cultural Policy Research Fellow with the Center for Urban Research at the Graduate Center (CUNY) and the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs. As a Cultural Policy Research Fellow I am mapping and analyzing data on arts education and arts events in NYC. One report of which helped inform the recently adopted City of New York cultural plan CreateNYC.

Previously, I have held fellowships as a Graduate Teaching Fellow, Writing Across the Curriculum Fellow, and Quantitative Reasoning Fellow which helped shape my pedagogy of student engagement and discussion-based learning. I have taught courses at the City College of New York, the College of Staten Island, and I am currently teaching with the School of Professional Studies, CUNY’s online campus, and with Hunter College. My courses include Research Methods, Mass Communication, Social Problems, Visual Sociology, Social Theory, and Sociology of Culture.