David McDougal 1

Who Am I ?


An Introduction to DAVID MCDOUGAL

June 2011

1: Who am I?

I’ve traveled to Pakistan more than seventeen times–but somehow I’m no longer on the terrorist watch list. I’m a dreamer, a rebel with a cause, a visionary futurist that seeks deep thrills, peak experience, and unmediated new new everything.

2: What do you do and what project are you currently working on?

I teach global history at The Beacon School, a NYC public high school, where for the past several years I’ve taken my students on “deeply immersive fieldtrips” to India, Mozambique, Ecuador, Spain, New Orleans Lower 9th Ward, and the Pacific Northwest. I just got back from taking 27 students to Berlin for an emerging artist focused study of war, youth, and what’s made Berlin pop from the sixties to the present.

3: Where are you from and where are you going?

I’m an eighth generation Oregonian. Both sides of my family crossed The Oregon Trail in 1846. I know its a little crazy but I’m dying to lead the first American public high school trip to a post-Ahmedinajad (Green) Iran.  In the meantime, I’m making schemes for a Malaysia-Singapore-Hong Kong journey in 2014.

4: Who are your biggest heroes?

Banksy, Ella Baker, Laura X, and Lakhdar Brahimi.

5: What book(s) helps guide your life?

Worldchanging: A User’s Guide for the 21st Century.

6: What are some things you love?  And some things you hate?

Love: first times, Veselka, The Unity Project. Hate: Atlantic Yards, Bruce Ratner, eminent domain.

7: What is your raison d’être?

To take the bull by its horns.

8: What is your favorite color?


9: Who is your favorite comic book superhero?

I don’t really have one, but Captain America has been my alter ego in my bike gang since 2002.

10: What is your favorite NYC hot spot?

The Brooklyn Greenway. Anywhere Rooftop Films is playing.

11: What turns you on?


12: What would the last question of this questionnaire be if you were the one asking?

Q: Will you come check out my students uber-provocative work?

Next week the 27 students who went to Berlin will debut the video, photography, sculpture, “street art” and spoken-word performance that they recently showed at a gallery in East Berlin: “You Can’t Sleep Here Tonight” shows at The Commons Gallery in the East Village this Wednesday and Thursday, June 22nd and 23rd, 8am to 9pm.  For info about the show, contact David at dmcdouga@beaconschool.org

Q2: Who do you want to give a shout out to?

A: Veselka restaurant, DJ Spooky, Annie Kwon, my parents, Lena–you’re a superstar, Kerry, Josie, Molly, Cam, Dabney, Walker, Menelik “Mr. Gorgeous” himself, the CSLT, my grandmas, Mary, and of course my evermore brilliant, endearing, and oh-so-ready-to-be-on-their-own students of the graduating class of 2011.

David McDougal teaches global history at The Beacon School, an arts and technology focused public high school on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. In 2008, he took eighteen of his Global Cold War Seminar students to Maputo, Mozambique, where they created a multimedia installation with artists who helped end the longest civil war in Cold War history. Next week his current Global Cold War students will debut art they recently made in East Berlin: “You Can’t Sleep Here Tonight” shows at The Commons Gallery in the East Village this Wednesday and Thursday, June 22nd and 23rd, 8am to 9pm. For info about the show, contact David at dmcdouga@beaconschool.org


Beacon School

Overseen by Jillian Mercado

Questions by PMc Magazine

Edited by Meaghan Coffey

Photography by Menelik Puryear

Design by Jillian Mercado

Contact Jillian Mercado if you’re interested in becoming a “Who Am I?”


David McDougal, February 2010, Photography by Menelik Puryear

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