Hello! I'm Dan Milner, adjunct assistant professor of geography at St. John's University in New York City. Prior to coming to St. John's, I taught at New York University, was a geographer at the U.S. Census Bureau, a ranger in the National Park Service, a research assistant at the CUNY Institute for Sustainable Cities, and a regional manager for two international airline companies.
Mainly, I teach New York City to 1898 (DNY 1000C). In it, first year
students learn about the history and geography of New York City from the Ice Age to the municipal consolidation of 1898 through the medium of topography. The subject is dynamic, deep and varied, and I enjoy it immensely. But my most important classroom task is challenging all students to do their best work and prepare for professional careers. Occasionally, I also teach World Geography (GEO 1001) and North American Geography (GEO 1002). World Geography provides a survey of six of the seven continents. The "shrinking" world means that we all need to know more about faraway places. North American Geography is a course with an holistic outlook, viewing the United States and Canada not as a grouping of two countries or 63 states and provinces but as 15 geographic regions, each with its own binding commonality. You can read more about World Geography and North American Geography at the Courses page of this website. I will also teach Global Studies beginning in the 2019 academic year.
My primary research interests are folk song in the English Language, the history and geography of New York City, Irish America, travel and tourism, and life and culture in the lumber camps of 19th century North America.
My new book, The Unstoppable Irish: Songs and Integration of the New York Irish, 1783-1883 will be published in March-April 2019 by the University of Notre Dame Press. My earlier book, The Bonnie Bunch of Roses, a collection of 150 Irish, English and Scots folk songs, was published by Oak in 1983. A few years ago, I was able to identify the first Irish person ever to live in New York and my findings were published in the 2011 issue of New York Irish History. That article can be read on the Publications page of this website. My article on the great old conversation ballad, "Skibbereen" was published in the September-October 2016 issue of History Ireland.
Occasionally, I also work as an independent producer of historical recordings for the Smithsonian Institution. Smithsonian Folkways issued my documentary, Civil War Naval Songs, in April 2011 on the 150th anniversary of the bombardment of Fort Sumter. My earlier Smithsonian Folkways compact disc, Irish Pirate Ballads, received two Indie nominations. You can read about these and my other compact discs on the Recordings page of this website.
I sing for fun, and professionally. Each year, my wife and I attend the Mystic Seaport Music of the Sea Festival in Connecticut, and the Inishowen International Folk Song and Ballad Seminar on the Inishowen Penninsula of County Donegal, Ireland. I've sung twice at Lincoln Center's Roots of American Music Festival, at the New-York Historical Society, and at music festivals in Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, Ireland and Germany. I've also given guest lectures and workshops on various aspects of geomusicology at Harvard University, Yale University, the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, and elsewhere. Additional details are on the Music and Presentations pages of this website.
From time to time, I teach singing. I've been an instructor at the Augusta Heritage Center of Davis and Elkins College in West Virginia, and at the Catskills Irish Arts Week in New York. In 2017, I led Finding Your Own Voice in Traditional Irish Song at MAD Week in Bethesda, MD for CCE (the Irish traditional music association) in Greater Washington. For details, please see... http://ccepotomac.org/MADWeek/cce-madweekhome.html
My hobbies are photography, freshwater fishing, and observing nature, which is ever-changing.
B.A. (magna cum laude) and M.A. in Geography, Hunter College (CUNY)
Ph.D. in American and Canadian Studies, University of Birmingham (England)
Airline Sales Managers Association of New York
American Conference for Irish Studies
Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann
English Folk Dance & Song Society
Gamma Theta Upsilon
Irish American Writers and Artists
Mystic Seaport Museum
New York Folklore Society
New York Irish History Roundtable
South Street Seaport Museum