Date: Thursday, April 7
Time: 12:30 – 1:45 p.m.
Location: Rutgers–Camden Alumni House
About the Seminar:
In the twenty-first century, cities in the United States that had suffered most the shift to a postindustrial era entered a period widely proclaimed as an urban renaissance. From Detroit to Newark to Camden as well as elsewhere commentators saw cities rising again. Yet revitalization generated a second urban crisis marked by growing inequality and civil unrest reminiscent of the upheavals associated with the first urban crisis in the mid-twentieth century. The urban poor and residents of color have remained very much at a disadvantage in the face of racially biased capital investments, narrowing options for affordable housing, and mass incarceration. In profiling nine cities grappling with challenges of the twenty-first century, Howard Gillette evaluates in his new book the uneven efforts to secure racial and class equity as city fortunes have risen. Charting the tension between the practice of corporate subsidy and efforts to assure social justice, The Paradox of Urban Revitalizationassesses the course of urban politics and policy over the past half century, before the COVID-19 pandemic upended everything, and details prospects for achieving greater equity in the years ahead.
About Howard Gillette, Ph.D.:
Howard Gillette is Professor Emeritus of History at Rutgers-Camden, the founding director of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities, and co-editor of the on-line Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia, which is hosted at Rutgers-Camden. His new book builds on previous work, including previous studies of Camden and Washington, DC, to bring the stories of the drive for urban social justice up to the present.
This lecture will explore the hardships that an Afghan scholar faced before miraculously making it to safety, beyond the reach of the Taliban, in order to continue his research and complete his dissertation in political science.
Mustafa Saqib is a democracy reform and local governance scholar who received steadfast support from a wide span of courageous people, institutions, and international organizations in order to successfully flee sanction and prosecution from the Taliban. He was targeted both for his U.S.-education and for his alliances with various justice reform programs in Afghanistan. He remains committed to illustrating the difficult conditions under which Afghan scholars are working now, and to sharing his unlikely story of rescue and restoration to his studies.
About Mustafa Saqib
Mustafa Saqib is a Visiting Research Scholar at Rutgers University in Camden supported by the IIE Scholar Rescue Fund, and a law lecturer at Herat University Afghanistan. He is pursuing his Ph.D. at Marmara University in Istanbul, Turkey, focused on comparing local government and elections of Turkey and Afghanistan. Before starting his Master of Law degree at the University of Washington Seattle, he pioneered legal clinical education in Afghanistan in 2013. Mr. Saqib has served in the implementation of several legal projects related to the Rule of Law and Human Rights Center and Alternative Dispute Resolution Center at Herat U. His research interests include constitutional law, human rights, elections and local governance (Marmara Journal), contemporary legal systems & comparative law. He is currently writing about lessons learned from the Afghanistan peace process.
Date: Thursday, February 3
Time: 12:30 – 1:45 p.m.
NEW Location: Campus Center, South BC Conference Room
Free and open to the public.
About the Seminar:
This talk examines the effects of mid-20th century urban redevelopment projects on Detroit’s black business community. Urban renewal in Detroit disproportionately affected African Americans, so much so that black Detroiters often referred to urban renewal as “Negro Removal.” Non-whites made up 98 percent of the families living in some urban renewal locations. Most scholarship on urban renewal focuses on housing and residential displacement, yet, in some ways, black business owners were more adversely affected by urban planning initiatives than residential renters and homeowners.
About Kendra Boyd, Ph.D.:
Kendra Boyd is an Assistant Professor of History at Rutgers University in Camden, New Jersey. She is a scholar of African American history, focusing on black entrepreneurship, racial capitalism, migration, and urban history. Her article “A ‘Body of Business Makers’: The Detroit Housewives League, Black Women Entrepreneurs, and the Rise of Detroit’s African American Business Community” (Enterprise & Society) won the 2021 Letitia Woods Brown Article Prize from the Association of Black Women Historians. Dr. Boyd also co-edited (with Deborah Gray White and Marisa J. Fuentes) Scarlet and Black, Volume 2: Constructing Race and Gender at Rutgers, 1865-1945, (Rutgers University Press, 2020). Currently, she is writing a book on black entrepreneurship in Great Migration era Detroit, Michigan.
From the crises of racial inequity and capitalism that inspired the Black Lives Matter movement and the Green New Deal to the coronavirus pandemic, stories of mutual aid have shown that, though cooperation is variegated and ever-changing, it is also a form of economic solidarity that can help weather contemporary social and economic crises. Addressing this theme, Practicing Cooperation delivers a trenchant and timely argument that the way to a more just and equitable society lies in the widespread adoption of cooperative practices. But what renders cooperation ethical, effective, and sustainable? Providing a new conceptual framework for cooperation as a form of social practice, Practicing Cooperation describes and critiques three U.S.-based cooperatives. Through these case studies, Andrew Zitcer illuminates the range of activities that make contemporary cooperatives successful: dedicated practitioners, a commitment to inclusion, and ongoing critical reflection. He asserts that economic and social cooperation must be examined, critiqued, and implemented on multiple scales if it is to combat the pervasiveness of competitive individualism.
About Andrew Zitcer:
Andrew Zitcer is an associate professor at Drexel University, where he directs the Urban Strategy graduate program. His research explores social and economic cooperation, as well as arts as a tool for urban revitalization. Zitcer’s work has been published in the Journal of Planning Education and Research, Planning Theory & Practice, Journal of Urban Affairs, and Antipode. He lives in West Philadelphia, where he is active in a number of community-based initiatives.
“Bandos, Symbolism, and Placemaking in Camden, NJ”
Thursday, March 25, 2021 from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
In her forthcoming book Toward Camden, Mercy Romero writes about the relationships that make and sustain the largely African American and Puerto Rican Cramer Hill neighborhood in Camden, New Jersey where she grew up. She walks the city and writes outdoors to think about the collapse and transformation of property. She revisits lost and empty houses—her family’s house, the Walt Whitman House, and the landscape of a vacant lot. Throughout, Romero engages with the aesthetics of fragment and ruin; her writing juts against idioms of redevelopment. She resists narratives of the city that are inextricable from crime and decline and witnesses everyday lives lived at the intersection of spatial and Puerto Rican diasporic memory.
Toward Camden travels between what official reports say and what the city’s vacant lots withhold. In this virtual roundtable, Mercy Romero, Ph.D. was joined by Vedra Chandler, Rev. PJ Craig, and Sis. Anetha Ann Perry to talk about landscape, dispossession, and the making of public memory in Camden, New Jersey.
Mercy Romero, Ph.D. Associate Professor of American Literature and American Studies, Hutchins School of Liberal Studies, Sonoma State University, CA Author of Toward Camden (Black Outdoors: Innovations in the Poetics of Study). Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press (release date 10/15/21).
Rev. PJ Craig Sr. Pastor, Cumberland Presbyterian Church of Germantown, TN Ph.D. candidate in Public Affairs at Rutgers–Camden. PJ’s work focuses on youth connections with place. In her current project, she worked alongside youth as co-researchers in North Philadelphia, PA and Camden, NJ to understand how youth shape stories about their neighborhoods and themselves.
Vedra Chandler (pronouns: she/her) Project Manager, Cooper’s Ferry Partnership. Born and raised in Camden, Vedra Chandler graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Government before pursuing a careers in business, music and now community development and creative placemaking. Since 2017 Vedra has worked as a project manager at Cooper’s Ferry Partnership where she uses the arts as a vehicle to tap into the potential of Camden city and its residents. She coordinates the Connect the Lots and A New View initiatives which revitalize underutilized spaces with vibrant programming and public art.
Moderator: Sis. Anetha Ann Perry Ph.D. candidate in Public Affairs at Rutgers–Camden. Sis. Anetha Ann Perry grew up in Camden. In her dissertation research she uses auto-ethnography to tell the story of her family’s home, Perry House, and investigates the uses of “good neighboring” as an African American survival strategy. Despite evolving societal dynamics, Anetha’s study purports to show how settlement houses such as Perry House practice “good neighboring” as part of a modern-day underground railroad support system to African Americans living in urban fragmented communities.