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Detroit School Series: Disciplinary Approaches to the Study of Detroit

April 7, 2017 at 4:30 pm

Detroit School Series – Winter 2017: Disciplinary Approaches to the Study of Detroit

At the final event of the 2016-2017 series, four doctoral candidates will discuss how their respective disciplines–Urban Planning, Sociology, Anthropology, and African and African American Studies–approach research on Detroit and cities like it. Drawing on their own experience as researchers in Detroit, the panelists will explore how and why their disciplines produce different types of knowledge through their engagement with Detroit – including theoretical and methodological differences – and what we can learn from these approaches separately and in conversation with one another.

The event will be moderated by Margi Dewar, Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Michigan. Panelists will include 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.

The Detroit School series seeks to stimulate an interdisciplinary conversation on how research on Detroit—a city often seen as an extreme outlier of decline—can produce knowledge that is original and relevant to urban studies globally. This year, we are considering two guiding questions: “What topics can’t we understand without grappling with Detroit?” and “What must we know in order to understand Detroit itself?”


Last semester we hosted a panel discussion of distinguished faculty on what it means to teach Detroit, heard Marcus Hunter (UCLA) discuss his book Chocolate Cities, and enjoyed a discussion on the role of racialized mythology in Detroit’s past, present, and future with Rebecca Kinney (Bowling Green State University). You can learn more about these events and hear recordings of the discussion on our website http://www.umich.edu/~detsch/



April 7, 2017
4:30 pm