Sebastian Schmidt

Sebastian Schmidt recently completed his PhD within the History, Theory & Criticism section at MIT, and a Fellow (2016-17) at the Weatherhead Initiative on Global History at Harvard University. His research fuses his background in cultural studies and critical theory with urban history and historiography, focusing on 20th-century urbanism in Germany, Japan, and the United States. He is currently completing his dissertation From Global War to Global Cities: Planning, Art, and Post-WWII Urban History in New York, Berlin, and Tokyo. Using global history methodology, this research examines the work of planners, architects, and artists to show the connection between the trauma of WWII and increasingly universal and abstract conceptions of the city on a global scale.

Schmidt holds a Master's degree in Urban Cultural Studies from the University of Edinburgh, and his writing has been published in collections by Ashgate, Routledge, and the London School of Economics and Political Science. His most recent article, “The Archival Workspace: An Accidental Ethnography,” appeared in Thresholds 44 in 2016. His research has been supported under a Presidential Fellowship from MIT, research grants from the MISTI Japan Program, the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montréal, the Dean’s office in MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning, and the Center for International Studies at MIT.

2017 Doctoral Dissertation: From Global War to Global Cities: Planning, Art, and Post-WWII Urban History in New York, Berlin, and Tokyo 

Dissertation Committee:
Mark Jarzombek (chair), MIT Architecture
Caroline Jones, MIT Architecture
Hiromu Nagahara, MIT History
Craig Steven Wilder, MIT History 


Schmidt, S. (2016). "The Archival Workspace: An Accidental Ethnography." Thresholds, 44, 145-156.

Schmidt-Tomczak, S. (2015). "The Animation of the Cyborg Trope: Oshii Mamoru's Ghost in the Shell." In K. Mellberg, L. Wanggren & K. Aghtan (Eds.), Corporeality and Culture: Bodies in Movement. Farnham and London: Ashgate.

Schmidt-Tomczak, S. (2012). "Locating Distance: A Methodology for Mobile Urban Subjects." In G. Gassner, Adam Kaasa & K. Robinson (Eds.), Writing Cities 2: Distance. London: London School of Economics.

Chmielewska, Ella and S. Schmidt-Tomczak (2010). "The Critical Where of the Field: A Reflection on Fieldwork as a Situated Process of Creative Research." In V.C. Bernie, S. Ewing, J. McGowan & C. Speed (Eds.), Field/Work. London and New York: Routledge. 

Schmidt-Tomczak, S. (2010). "The Dialectic of Visioning the Suggestive Power of Objects. A Cultural Studies Approach to Peter Eisenman's Field of Stelae." Edinburgh Architecture Research, 32, 107-114.

Schmidt-Tomczak, S. (2009). "Working (with) Images." Architecture & Work, Volume 2, 29-30.

Schmidt, S. (2009). "Urban Material: Representation - Reflection - Performance [...]." In Chmielewska, Ella and urbanstudio (Eds.), ZONZO: Exploring the Urban Fabric. Edinburgh: Architecture, The University of Edinburgh, 122-137.