Winter 2020 DEI SPOTLIGHT
Name: Robert Pfaff
Preferred Pronoun: He/Him/His
Affiliation/Title: PhD Candidate
Degree(s): Bachelor of History; Master of History; PhD in Urban and Regional Planning, Candidate 2021
Home Country: United States
Language(s) Spoken: English (native), French, Spanish
Gender Identity: Male
Racial Identity/Ethnicity: Caucasian
Other Identities: Gay, Motorcyclist, Hiker, Athlete, Educator, Ally
Favorite food: Sushi.
Favorite book and why: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values, by Robert M. Pirsig (1974) illuminates structures of knowing, and how to live in a world of technology we do not understand.
Favorite thing to do when not at TC: Travel National Parks by motorcycle, backcountry hiking, exploring coffee shops in Detroit, or attending music festivals.
DEI Contribution/Highlight: I am in my third year as co-coordinator of the Detroit School. In this role, I help curate an interdisciplinary invited speaker series that explores how declining cities like Detroit impact urban policy. I also am the former president of the Planning + Architecture Research Group (PARG) which sought to bridge disciplinary divides between Urban Planners and Architects within the college, and increase doctoral student representation in the administration.
Why is diversity, equity, and inclusion important to you? In my research, I am primarily concerned with the historical processes that segregated the built environment. My goal is to become an educator that contributes to the dismantling of systems of oppression and segregation through awareness and teaching, which necessitates listening to, and learning from, diverse voices and experiences.