CANCELED: April 13 CURE Seminar Series with Camille Z. Charles, Ph.D.

Young, Gifted and Diverse

This event has been canceled until further notice. 


Seminar Overview

Despite their diversity, Black Americans have long been studied as a uniformly disadvantaged group. Drawing from a representative sample of over a thousand Black students and in-depth interviews and focus groups with over one hundred more, Young, Gifted and Diverse highlights diversity among the new educated Black elite—those graduating from America’s selective colleges and universities in the early twenty-first century.

Differences in childhood experiences shape this generation, including their racial and other social identities and attitudes, and beliefs about and interactions with one another. While those in the new Black elite come from myriad backgrounds and have varied views on American racism, as they progress through college and toward the Black professional class they develop a shared worldview and group consciousness. They graduate with optimism about their own futures, but remain guarded about racial equality more broadly. This internal diversity alongside political consensus among the elite complicates assumptions about both a monolithic Black experience and the future of Black political solidarity.


About Professor Charles

Camille Z. Charles is Walter H. and Leonore C. Annenberg Professor in the Social Sciences in the Departments of Sociology and Africana Studies, and in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research interests are in the areas of racial inequality, racial identity, racial attitudes, intergroup relations, residential segregation, and higher education.

Professor Charles currently serves as Chair of the Department of Africana Studies, and as Interim Director of the Center for Africana Studies. In addition to these roles, she is also Faculty Co-Director of Penn First Plus, the University’s initiative to support first-generation, low-income Penn students. And, since 2006 she has served as Director of the Center for Africana Studies Summer Institute for Pre-Freshmen.

She is author of Won’t You Be My Neighbor: Race, Class and Residence in Los Angeles, which explores explanations for persisting residential segregation by race, and co-author of The Source of the River: The Social Origins of Freshmen at America’s Selective Colleges and Universities and Taming the River: Negotiating the Academic, Financial, and Social Currents in Selective Colleges and Universities, each based research from The National Longitudinal Survey of Freshmen (NLSF), an effort to understand racial differences in the experience of elite higher education in the United States. Most recently, she is co-author of the forthcoming book, Young, Gifted, and Diverse: Origins of the New Black Elite, which employs a mixed-methods approach and an intersectional framework to explore the varied and multiple dimensions of diversity among Black students in elite higher education. Professor Charles earned her Ph.D. in at the University of California, Los Angeles in 1996.

December 8 CURE Seminar with Dr. Yoonhwan Park

Comparison of urban problems between Korea and the United States through quantitative data analysis

Thursday, December 8
12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.
Alumni House Conference Room (Hybrid via Zoom)
Lunch will be served
Open to the public



South Korean cities face many of the same problems that American cities have experienced in the past.  The problems of increasing heterogeneity in urban composition, poverty and inequality between classes, gentrification, transportation, and housing are challenges that cities in both countries need to solve. South Korea faces additional challenges with excessive concentration of people and economic power in the Seoul Metro and extremely low fertility rates. Without balanced national development to address these issues, Korea’s national competitiveness is likely to decline. 


November 10 CURE Seminar Series with Nikil Saval

The Whole-Home Repair Program

Thursday, November 10
12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.
Alumni House Conference Room (Hybrid via Zoom)
Lunch will be served
Open to the public



Creating equitable and just communities and maintaining safe and healthy homes are two sides of the same coin. Hundreds of thousands of homes across Pennsylvania have moderate to severe physical inadequacies, including leaky roofs or windows, inadequate wiring, unreliable heat, or the lack of a flushing toilet. This deferred maintenance endangers the health of the home’s residents, including through exposure to mold, lead, and extreme temperatures in the winter and summer. The climate crisis, causing Pennsylvania to become increasingly hotter and wetter, exacerbates the deterioration of our homes by exposing them to conditions they were never intended to withstand, simultaneously burdening residents with crushing utility bills. 

The Whole-Home Repairs Program—introduced by Senator Saval this past March and signed into law in July—establishes a one-stop shop for home repairs and weatherization while building out local workforces and adding new family-sustaining jobs in a growing field. This program is the first of its kind in the nation, making it so that Pennsylvanians can stay warm, safe, and dry in homes they can afford.    

This program reinforces the adage that “the most affordable home is the one you already have.” It also speaks to the belief in the preservation community that preserving a home is about more than saving a building and keeping its occupants healthy; it is about preserving cultural memory and the character of neighborhoods and cities. 

The Whole-Home Repairs Program won because of bipartisan support in both chambers of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, champions at all levels of government, and grassroots support from practitioners, advocates, community organizations, and residents across the state, revealing that rural and urban communities alike are engaged in a shared struggle against the detrimental effects of blight, abandonment, vacancy, and displacement, and the accompanying community-wide harms that this cycle triggers. 

About Nikil Saval: 

Senator Nikil Saval represents the First Senate District in the Pennsylvania legislature, where he serves as Democratic Chair of the Senate’s Urban Affairs & Housing Committee. Saval’s legislative work is focused on addressing Pennsylvania’s ongoing housing, mass incarceration, wage, and climate crises, while simultaneously pushing for structural change. His office led the creation of the Whole-Home Repairs Program, which establishes a one-stop shop for home repairs and weatherization, and which was adopted by the legislature in July.   

Saval has written extensively for The New York Times and The New Yorker and served as co-editor of literary journal n+1 (he remains on its board). He is the author of Cubed: A Secret History of the Workplace (Doubleday, 2014).

September 15 CURE Seminar Series with Sarah DeGiorgis

Fall 2022 Cure Seminar Series - Upcoming seminars

Housing Policies and Home:  Tenant Experiences in Public Housing

Thursday, September 15
12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.
Campus Center, West Conference Room (also live-streamed on Zoom)
Lunch will be served
Open to the public


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.


April 7 CURE Seminar Series: The Paradox of Urban Revitalization by Howard Gillette

April 7 CURE Seminar Series: The Paradox of Urban Revitalization by Howard Gillette

View this seminar recording below:


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 Revitalization assesses 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.