Panel: Teaching Detroit – At the kickoff event of the 2016-2017 series, “Teaching Detroit,” panelists discussed their different approaches to the challenge of teaching Detroit: how they bring Detroit into their classrooms, how Detroit shapes their pedagogy, and how they introduce and contextualize Detroit as a case in relation to other urban spaces and train young minds to grapple with Detroit. The event was moderated by Angela Dillard, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education and the Earl Lewis Collegiate Professor of Afroamerican and African Studies and in the Residential College at the University of Michigan. Panelists included Stephen Ward, Faculty Director of the Semester in Detroit program and Associate Professor in the Residential College and the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies; Ren Farley, Dudley Duncan Professor Emeritus of Sociology and a research scientist at the Population Studies Center; and Carolyn Loh, Associate Professor of Urban Studies and Planning at Wayne State University. This talk was co-sponsored by the Center for Engaged Academic Learning and the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching.

October 21, 2016 4:30PM

Betty Ford Classroom, 1110 Weill Hall // Ford School of Public Policy

Lecture Video

Lecture: Chocolate Cities and the Lives and Experiences of Black Detroiters with Marcus Hunter – At this event, Marcus Hunter, an Associate Professor of Sociology and African American Studies and a faculty affiliate at the Ralph Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA, presented research from his work on the varying experiences and politics of urban Black Americans across the United States since 1900. Sharing insights from his forthcoming book, Chocolate Cities (Summer 2017, with Dr. Zandria F. Robinson, Rhodes College), Hunter highlighted the ways Detroit shaped the lives and experiences of Black residents and explored social facts about Black American life gleaned from the experiences and politics of urban Black Americans. This talk was co-sponsored by the Department of Sociology and the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies.

November 10, 2016 4:15PM

East Conference Room // Rackham Building

Lecture Audio

Book Launch: Beautiful Wasteland: The Rise of Detroit as America’s Postindustrial Frontier with Rebecca Kinney Our third talk of the year celebrated the release of Rebecca Kinney’s – Assistant Professor in the Department of Popular Culture and School of Cultural and Critical Studies, Bowling Green University – new book, Beautiful Wasteland: The Rise of Detroit as America’s Postindustrial Frontier (2016). Kinney introduced the book and gave a brief overview of how she examines the use of racialized mythology in Detroit’s past, present, and future. Following Kinney’s remarks, panelists Aaron Foley—editor of BLAC Detroit Magazine, “chief storyteller” in the Detroit mayor’s office, and author of How to Live in Detroit Without Being a Jackass—and Stephen Ward—Faculty Director of the Semester in Detroit program and Associate Professor in the Residential College and the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies—joined Kinney in a discussion about the book and the questions it raises for research and for the people of Detroit. Copies of the book were available for purchase.

December 9, 2016 4:15PM

West Conference Room // Rackham Building

Lecture Audio

Lecture: Post Post-It – To launch our Winter lecture series, Anya Sirota, Assistant Professor of Architecture at Taubman College, discussed how Detroit shapes her architecture practice. Sirota serves as the principal architect at Akoaki, a Detroit-based art and architecture firm with an established reputation for original projects that materialize utopian ambitions in complex urban scenarios. In her teaching and practice, Sirota focuses on the relationship between architecture and contemporary cultural production, implementing community-based design practices and critically re-evaluating how architecture can sustain heritage and participate in public discourse. The lecture, “Post Post-It,” focused on community-based design and architecture in Detroit, particularly in ONE Mile in the North End, and her multiple collective avant-garde productions in the city. 

January 27, 2017 4:15PM

West Conference Room // Rackham Building

Lecture Audio

Lecture: The Urban Land Question: Thinking with Detroit – In this talk, Sara Safransky, Assistant Professor of Human and Organizational Development at Vanderbilt University and longtime Detroit School Series community member, shared insights from two forthcoming book projects, arguing that urban land questions need to be placed firmly on the scholarly and political agenda in the United States. Drawing on fieldwork in Detroit, Safransky examined tensions around the 150,000 parcels of land characterized as “vacant” and “abandoned.” Combining ethnographic research with insights from property theory, critical race studies, postcolonial theory, and knowledge produced by activists in Detroit, Safransky argued for a historical diagnostic of urban land questions.

February 17, 2017 at 4:15 pm

Western Conference Room // Rackham Building

Book Launch: Detroit Hustle: A Memoir of Love, Life and Home  with Amy Haimerl Amy Haimerl, author of Detroit Hustle: A Memoir of Love, Life and Home and professor of journalism at Michigan State University, offered a personal perspective on the experience of moving to the Motor City and rehabbing a dilapidated historic home. Her talk, like her book, used the theme of home renovation to examine privilege, gentrification, naiveté, and the realities of ‘being White in Detroit.’ Haimerl offered reflections on the privilege that accompanies newcomers trying to be part of the city’s community and discussed how she approached writing about Detroit while navigating her newcomer identity. The book was available for sale after the talk.

March 16, 2017 at 4:15 pm

Wolverine Room // Michigan Union

Book Launch: Disciplinary Approaches to the Study of Detroit To close our series, we convened a panel discussion by doctoral students engaged in Detroit research. Margaret Dewar, Professor of Urban and Regional Planning, moderated the conversation, which focused on the ways in which different disciplines approach and study declining cities, with an emphasis on the different types of knowledge disciplines produce through their approach to studying Detroit. Panelists included Patrick Cooper-McCann (PhD Candidate, Urban and Regional Planning; University of Michigan), whose dissertation focuses on the emergence and decline of parks and recreational services in Detroit between 1805 and 2015; Sharon Cornelissen (PhD Candidate, Sociology; Princeton University), an ethnographer who studies the challenges to inclusive neighborhood revitalization and the process of moving opportunity to poor residents in poor neighborhoods; Jessica Lowen (PhD Candidate, Anthropology; University of Michigan), whose research focuses on faith-based outreach intervention in the sex industry and the Christian anti-trafficking movement in the state of Michigan; and AJ Rice (PhD Candidate, African and African American Studies; Michigan State University), whose dissertation examines the political economy of black education in Detroit with a focus on emergency financial management of the school district and its implications for residents’ ability to influence the quality of education

April 7, 2017 at 4:15 pm

Betty Ford Classroom, 1110 Weill Hall // Ford School of Public Policy