How do public housing authorities and public housing residents differ in their views of key aspects of public housing policy such as the concept of home? Public housing residents are bound by public housing policies but we know very little about the experiences of the residents themselves. Sarah DeGiorgis became interested in this topic while working as the Program Manager for the Choice Neighborhoods Planning and Implementation Grants at the Housing Authority of the City of Camden. Her interviews with residents will provide important insight into understanding how public housing policies directly affect residents’ lives, centered on the concept of home.
About the speaker:
Sarah DeGiorgis is a Ph.D. candidate in Public Affairs at Rutgers University. She holds a master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers and a bachelor of arts in English from Oberlin College. Sarah’s research interests include affordable and public housing, community erasure, the financialization of housing, and participatory mapping/GIS.
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.
In 1936, the City of Atlanta was the first US city to open federally-financed and locally-administered public housing developments to low-income families in need of safe and sanitary housing (Techwood Homes). For the city’s Black residents, and later, other marginalized groups, these developments provided political opportunity to assemble, mobilize, and make claims on the State in ways that were otherwise inaccessible. Over time, tenant associations served as conduits for working-class political interests centered in spatial justice – the very politics of planning that were used to segregate and marginalize developments and residents served as an organizing logic around spatial justice issues. However, in 2013, demolition began on one of the city’s last public housing developments for low-income families, nearly two decades after Techwood Homes was demolished for the 1996 Olympics. This talk examines the historical role of public housing in working-class politics and how the loss of tenant associations in the city has deepened contemporary inequities.
About the speaker
Akira Drake Rodriguez is an Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Weitzman School of Design. Her research examines the ways that disenfranchised groups re-appropriate their marginalized spaces in the city to gain access to and sustain urban political power. She is the author of Diverging Space for Deviants: The Politics of Atlanta’s Public Housing, which explores how the politics of public housing planning and race in Atlanta created a politics of resistance within its public housing developments. Dr. Rodriguez was recently awarded a Spencer Foundation grant to study how educational advocates mobilize around school facility planning processes.