Geoffrey D. Zylstra

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Geoffrey D. Zylstra, Associate Professor

Intellectual Focus

I am a historian who focuses on the relationship between industrial change and the built environment in nineteenth-century cities such as New York City and Philadelphia. Using the design of space as my point of departure, I examine how various groups of people struggled over the meaning and shape of emerging technologies as they realized that industrial ideals emphasizing the separation of home and work, manufacturing over agricultural production, the control of space through time, and the corporatization of public space led to a reinvention of not just the region, but also their ways of life.

I have published articles in journals like Technology and Culture, the Journal of Urban Technology and Agricultural History and am a contributing editor for Technology and Culture. I have also written on the history of poverty for the House Committee on Ways and Means.

Additionally, I have participated in numerous public history projects, including the New York Times - CUNY 2013 history calendar and the History Channel show “101 Inventions that Changed the World”

Academic Interests

Social and Cultural History of North America, History of Technology, Urban History, Environmental History, and History of Science


PhD - Case Western Reserve University; Cleveland, Ohio

MA - University of Maryland College Park; College Park, Maryland

BA - Calvin College; Grand Rapids, Michigan 

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