SEPTEMBER 15, 2017
Susan Clampet-Lundquist, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Saint Joseph’s University. Title: “If You Can Weather the Storm”: Urban Inequality and the Transition to Adulthood.”
Abstract: Adolescence and early adulthood is a time of defining what one is “about” – finding and claiming an identity. We know a lot about this process for middle-class youth, but not as much for young people that have grown up in some of the poorest neighborhoods in the U.S. This talk draws from the book, Coming of Age in the Other America, to discuss how neighborhoods matter, outline identity-making for a group of youth in Baltimore, and explore how we can use public policy to disrupt the cycle of neighborhood and family poverty.
OCTOBER 6, 2017
James DeFilippis, Associate Professor of Planning and Public Policy Development, E.J.Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University. Title: “On the Political Meanings of the Transformation of Property and Ownership in the United States”
Abstract: The last decade has seen significant growth in the numbers of, and interest in, forms of ownership that have been variously called, “solidarity economies” or “alternative economies” or “non-capitalist economies.” While there is a lot written about these efforts, there is relatively little that has explored the lived meanings for those involved in such endeavors. The paper will ask how participation in forms of ownership that are different from the norm in American society impacts the political understandings and meanings that are attached to those forms of ownership. In short, does being part of such a form of ownership have political meaning to participants? If so, what are the meanings and how can they be properly understood by those looking to these forms of ownership to be part of a larger socially transformative movement? Drawing on scores of interviews with community land trust (CLT) residents, staff and board members, foundation and government funders, and others, this paper will discuss and analyze the reality that for most of the participants in such endeavors, the political meanings are muted, under-explored, and often fairly minor. It is this contradiction; between the significance of the change in the ownership form and the relatively insignificant political meanings attached to that changed ownership that this paper will probe. It will do so in order to better understand the political potential and limitations of “solidarity economy” forms of ownership, and to realistically assess what can be expected of these forms by those who aspire to have a more just political economy.
NOVEMBER 17, 2017
Jesse Curtis, PhD candidate, Department of History, Temple University. Title: “A Mission Field Next Door: Evangelical Higher Education In the Era of White Flight”
In the 1960s and 1970s, white evangelicals looked warily at the American city. The fear, flight, and disinvestment of this period involved not only questions of race, class, and economy. Urban decline was also a religious phenomenon. In some urban neighborhoods, white evangelical congregations liquidated their properties and moved everything—churches, schools, homes—to the suburbs. Evangelical higher education followed this trend. Some white evangelical colleges moved from city centers to new suburban locations, while others that stayed in the city adopted a besieged mentality. In a moment of violence and political upheaval, many white evangelicals viewed the city as a threatening place.
But some white evangelicals believed the newfound visibility of urban problems and African American concerns required new approaches in evangelical higher education. While others fled the city, these white evangelicals would embrace it. In Philadelphia, Messiah College launched an urban satellite campus in an effort to engage the new realities the civil rights movement had wrought. This campus received significant publicity in evangelical circles as a potential model for other evangelical colleges to follow. Drawing on a theology of colorblindness, some white evangelicals sought to create Christian academic communities that transcended racial problems and healed the nation’s cities. The successes and failures of these efforts revealed an evangelicalism unable to resolve the thorny tensions at the intersection of religion, race, and urban higher education.
DECEMBER 15, 2017
Jason Romisher, MA candidate, Department of History, Simon Fraser University, British Columbia. Title: “Student Activism and the Black Liberation Movement in Lawnside, New Jersey”
Abstract: Lawnside, New Jersey, is a unique community because it is the only self-governing African American Borough in the State of New Jersey. This talk will first examine the early history of Lawnside and the regional, state, and federal political processes which impacted its growth and development. The second section will be an analysis of how Lawnside youth developed their own Black Power organization known as the Young Blacks who actively worked to improve the governance of the community and stressed the principles of non-violence and educational advancement. The third section of the talk will be an analysis of African American student activism at Haddon Heights High School. Jason Romisher’s research employs a wide array of primary sources that reveal how the Black Liberation Movement played out in an autonomous African American community.