Urban Studies Spring Events

Urban Studies Spring Events 2014

Black Citymakers: How The Philadelphia Negro Changed Urban America

Thursday, April 17 at 5:00pm, Urban Studies, 29 Manning Walk

Marcus Hunter is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Yale University where he also holds a courtesy appointment in African American Studies, and is a faculty affiliate of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies and LGBT Studies.  Having received his PhD in 2011 from Northwestern University in sociology, Professor Hunter is generally interested in urban race relations, sexuality, politics, gender, history and change with a special focus on urban black Americans. His book, Black Citymakers: How the Philadelphia Negro Changed Urban America (Oxford University Press) revisits the Black Seventh Ward neighborhood immortalized in W.E.B. DuBois’s The Philadelphia Negro. Through the dual lens of political agency and critical historical events, Black Citymakers follows the transformation of the neighborhood from predominantly black at the beginning of the 20th century into a largely white upper middle class and commercial neighborhood by the century’s conclusion. His research has benefited from grants from the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, and the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. In addition, Hunter’s research and commentary on urban black life and inequality has been featured in the journals the Du Bois Review, City & Community, Sexuality Research & Social Policy and the New York Times.


Demolition, Dispossession, and Resistance: Toward a Comparative Understanding of Evictions in India’s Globalizing Cities

with discussant Matthew Desmond (Harvard University)

Thursday, March 11 at 5-6p.m., Maxcy Hall, Zimmer Lounge

Development pressures associated with global integration and national growth imperatives have resulted in demolition drives and clearance campaigns in cities and peri-urban areas across the Indian subcontinent. Some episodes of development-induced displacement, including the demolitions associated with Delhi’s 2010 Commonwealth Games and those carried out in Mumbai in late 2004 as part of its government’s efforts to “make Mumbai a world-class city,” have attracted international media attention and inquiries from the UN Commission on Human Rights. Yet while India’s major metros appear to be under similar pressures to clear low-value, non-conforming uses like slums, pavement colonies, and informal vendor markets, to make way for higher value, and increasingly high-profile developments, both the manner in which local governments are carrying out the demolitions and the legal and political recourse available to evicted residents appears to vary between (and even within) cities. Comparing resident evictions in both the central cities and the urbanizing peripheries of three of India’s largest and most dynamic cities -- Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengalaru -- this paper demonstrates the unevenness of both the use of demolition drives to carry out new development imperatives and ways in which residents are responding to the threats of displacement. Counter to political statements about the price of development, as well as dominant theoretical perspectives on “accumulation by dispossession,” the analysis reveals that development pressures account for only a portion of the recent evictions in these cities. Locally specific social and political dynamics, including religious and ethnic conflict, political patronage, and the density and activities of civil society organizations, interact and intersect with pressures for economic development to produce and uneven and inconsistent landscape of evictions across urban India.

Liza Weinstein is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Northeastern University and a faculty affiliate of Northeastern Law School's Program on Human Rights in the Global Economy. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 2009. Her research focuses on cities and globalization, urban political economy, the politics of informality, and state-civil society relations, with a regional focus on India. She is the author of "The Durable Slum: Dharavi and the Right to Stay Put in Globalizing Mumbai," University of Minnesota Press, 2014, which examines the Indian state’s changing response to residential informality in the context of economic globalization. Her research has also appeared in Politics & Society, City & Community, the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, and Studies in Comparative International Development. Her current research is a comparative and historical study of forced evictions and housing rights activism in post-independence urban India, focusing on both the legal and political context of housing insecurity.

Related publications:
- “The Durable Slum: Dharavi and the Right to Stay Put in Globalizing Mumbai,” University of Minnesota Press (Globalization and Community Series), 2014.
- “Demolition and Dispossession: Toward an Understanding of State Violence in Millennial Mumbai,” Studies in Comparative International Development, Special Issue on Cities, Violence and Development in the Global South, 48(3): 285-307, 2013.
- “Democracy in the Globalizing Indian City: Engagements of Political Society and the State in Globalizing Mumbai,” Politics & Society, 37(3): 397-427, 2009.
- “The Changing Right to the City: Urban Renewal and Housing Rights in Globalizing Shanghai and Mumbai,” with Xuefei Ren, City & Community, 8(4): 407-432, 2009.

Matthew Desmond is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Social Studies at Harvard University.  After receiving his Ph.D. in 2010 from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, he joined the Harvard Society of Fellows as a Junior Fellow.  Desmond is the author of three books: On the Fireline: Living and Dying with Wildland Firefighters (2007), Racial Domination, Racial Progress: The Sociology of Race in America (with Mustafa Emirbayer, 2009), and The Racial Order (with Mustafa Emirbayer, forthcoming).  He has written essays on educational inequality, dangerous work, political ideology, race and social theory, and the inner-city housing market.  Most recently, he has published on eviction and the low-income rental market, network-based survival strategies among the urban poor, and the consequences of new crime control policies on inner-city women in the American Journal of Sociology and American Sociological Review.  He is the principal investigator of the Milwaukee Area Renters Study, an original survey of tenants in Milwaukee’s low-income private housing sector.  He is currently writing a book on the causes, dynamics, and consequences of eviction.

His articles on evictions listed below can be downloaded HERE.

Related publications:
-“Evicting Children”, with Weihua An, Richelle Winkler, and Thomas Ferriss, Social Forces 92, no. 1: 303-327, 2013.
-“Unpolicing the Urban Poor: Consequences of Third-Party Policing for Inner-City Women,” with Nicol Valdez, American Sociological Review 78: 117–141, 2013.
-“Eviction and the Reproduction of Urban Poverty,” American Journal of Sociology 118: 88-133, 2012.
-“Disposable Ties and the Urban Poor,” American Journal of Sociology 117: 1295-1335, 2012.


Employing a Thirdspace Perspective in Teaching and Research

Friday, March 14 at 12noon, Maxcy Hall, Zimmer Lounge

Stefano Bloch will advocate for the implementation of a thirdspace perspective in research and teaching as part of the Spatial Structures in the Social Sciences (S4) Colloquium. He will present a case study of the Belmont Tunnel and Toluca Yard near Downtown Los Angeles, highlighting Belmont’s usage as a subway terminus, a transgressive site for subcultural expression, and a contested location for high-end residential living.

Belmont Tunnel, 1922Belmont Tunnel, 1922  




Urban Studies Degree Days

Tuesday, March 18 at 5-7pm, Barus & Holley, 190

The Urban Studies Degree Day on March 18 will provide a glimpse into the many career possibilities that are possible after Brown with an Urban Studies concentration. A reception featuring Kabob & Curry will be offered after the panel discussion.

The alumni panel will include:
Christopher Cirillo '95, Executive Director at Lott Community Development Corporation, NYC
Jill Desimini '98, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design
Kristina Wiig '01, Head of Sales and Business Development at LogCheck, NYC

Contact: susannah_green@brown.com or sophie_soloway@brown.edu


Film screening of "The Square" (2013)

Thursday, February 20 at 6:30pm – Pembroke Hall, 003 (basement), 172 Meeting Street

Screening of the documentary The Square followed by a Q and A with Stefan Bloch and Mayssun Succarie (Cogut Center Fellows).  Mayssun Succarie was on the faculty of American University in Cairo during the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak.

The film documents the massive protests in Tahrir Square in Cairo from the perspective of pro-Democracy activists. Food will be provided.


The Street, the Row and the Hood: Place and the Production of Culture in Nashville TN

RESCHEDULED - Thursday, March 6th, 5-6p.m., Urban Studies, 29 Manning Walk

Richard Lloyd, Associate Professor of Sociology at Vanderbilt University. He is author of Neo-Bohemia: Art and Commerce in the Postindustrial City. He is currently completing a book about Music City, and has published recent work on cities in the Southern United States, residential high rises in Nashville, and the politics of new urban design. Lloyd serves on the board of City and Community and is a past consulting editor for the American Journal of Sociology and Culture editor for Contexts.

Nashville TN is today branded as Music City USA, owing to both its rich musical legacy and its robust contemporary music industry. Best known as the capital of country music, Nashville is home to major genre stars including pop crossover sensation Taylor Swift. Artists across genres also record in Nashville, including acts like the Black Keys, Robert Plant and Jack White; moreover, a robust “roots” or “Americana” scene draws on the local legacy while positioning itself in opposition to today’s country music mainstream. This paper examines the relationship between local place in Music City and the elaboration of musical production, examining three distinct Nashville districts: Broadway (the Street), organizing the downtown tourist district housing the historic Ryman Auditorium, the Arena, and the Country Music Hall of Fame; Music Row (the Row), the near West Side industry agglomeration of record labels, recording studios, performance rights organizations and music publishing houses; and East Nashville (the Hood), a neighborhood-in-transition associated with “alternative” musical expression and mobilizing a host of musical aspirants and lower level industry workers in its bars, cafes, home studios and backyard jams.  These in turn illuminate generalizable dimensions of the durable link between culture and urban place: Legacy, Industry and Scene.



Urban Studies Fall Events 2013

Being an Urbanist at Brown: An Urban Studies Open House

Tuesday, December 10th, 5-6:30p.m., Pembroke Hall, Room 305


Stefano Bloch, Visiting Professor, Urban Studies, and Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Cogut Center 
"Doing DIY Urbanism"


Kate Holguin '13, Project Associate, I-195 Redevelopment Commission
"Reclaiming Providence: Reimagining the I-195 Land"

Have you wondered what it means to study cities?  Are you interested in politics, architecture, design, sociology, history, economics, and social justice?  Come join Urban Studies Professor Stefano Bloch, alum Kate Holguin '13, current Urban Studies concentrators, and friends for a look into one of Brown's most interdisciplinary concentrations. We will hear from Professor Bloch about how he came to urban studies and from Kate about life in Providence after Urban Studies. Then, concentrators, professors, and interested friends will have the chance to mingle and eat. Current concentrators will have the chance to connect over their work as the semester draws to a close, and prospective concentrators will have the chance to ask questions and hear about life in the program. First years and sophomores are encouraged to attend; this event is open to all.  Kabob and Curry will be served!





Join us for an evening of entertainment at Brown's outdoor amphitheater.
All you need is a blanket!

September 12, 7:30-11pm
Outdoor theater at the Granoff Center (154 Angell Street)
(Indoors in case of rain)

DETROPIA (90 minutes) 2012
Detroit's story has encapsulated the iconic narrative of America over the last century the Great Migration of African Americans escaping Jim Crow; the rise of manufacturing and the middle class; the love affair with automobiles; the flowering of the American dream; and now . . . the collapse of the economy and the fading American mythos. With its vivid, painterly palette and haunting score, Detropia sculpts a dreamlike collage of a grand city teetering on the brink of dissolution.


MANHATTAN (96 minutes) 1979
Manhattan follows the misadventures of a middle-aged divorcee (Woody Allen) who falls in love first with a much younger woman, then with a cerebral writer (Diane Keaton) who is also his best friend's mistress.  It is both a seriocomic dissection of perpetually dissatisfied New Yorkers and an ode to the city itself, filmed in glorious black-and-white and set to a score of rhapsodic George Gershwin music.