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Michigan-Mellon Colloquia: Conversation 1 of 2

November 1, 2016 at 12:30 pm - 3:00 pm

Michigan-Mellon Colloquia: Conversation 1 of 2

Colloquium 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. Lunch 12:30 p.m. – 1 p.m

Michigan-Mellon Project
The Michigan-Mellon Project on Egalitarianism and the Metropolis, a 4-year academic and research initiative focused on architecture, urbanism and humanities research in Detroit, Mexico City DF and Rio de Janeiro, is made possible by a $1.3 million grant from the A. W. Mellon Foundation. The Mellon Foundation’s Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities is a new initiative in the Higher Education and Scholarship in the Humanities program interested in establishing multidisciplinary research programs that can generate new insights into changing urban conditions. The project allows the particularity of design practices to inform and be informed by broader questions of social justice, social movements and transformative creative arts movements –  both historically and contemporaneously.

Michigan-Mellon Colloquia this fall are two hours in length and will address the following questions:

  • What do contemporary conceptions of justice demand of us as academics, activists and cultural workers?
  • What aspects of conventional city-making (planning, architectural and urban design, landscape design, private and public investment, etc.) are ripe for re-invention, overturning, or reconsideration in light of how lived experiences of the urban poor and others are falling short of our expectations?  
  • What role does racial, ethnic, gender, sexuality, and nation of origin play in attempting to construct a more egalitarian city in Rio de Janeiro, Mexico City and/or Detroit?


Kristie Dotson, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Michigan State University
Austin McCoy, Michigan-Mellon Humanities Fellow
Suzanne Lettieri, Michigan-Mellon Design Fellow

To join, please RSVP to Kate Grandfield, 734.615.5260, grandk@umich.edu

The second conversation will be held on Wednesday, December 7, 2016.


Kristie Dotson

Kristie Dotson received her M.A. and Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Memphis. She also received a M.A. from the University of Illinois at Chicago in Literature and a B.A. in African American Studies and English Literature from Coe College. Professor Dotson researches in epistemology, feminist philosophy (particularly Black feminism and feminist epistemology), and critical philosophy of race at Michigan State University. Dotson holds appointments in both the Department of Philosophy and the African American and African Studies Program at MSU and has given lectures domestically and abroad including the Keynote Address at Workshop on Analyzing Social Wrongs: Social Criticism and Analytic Philosophy in Vienna, Austria. Dotson’s essays have been published widely in Social Epistemology: A Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Policy, and Diogenes: Journal of the International Council for Philosophy and Humanistic Studies among others. Her published works include: “Conceptualizing Epistemic Oppression, “Black Feminist Me: Answering the Question ‘Who Do I Think I Am,’” and “Making Sense: The Multistability of Oppression and the Importance of Intersectionality.”

Austin McCoy

Austin McCoy is a historian whose research explores the relationship between transformations in political economy and the evolution of city- and state-based social movements. McCoy earned his PhD in History from the University of Michigan and is currently serving as the Michigan/Mellon Humanities Fellow at Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. His dissertation, “No Radical Hangover: Progressive Responses to Economic Crises in the Midwest, 1967-1988,” analyzes activists’ responses to plant closings and urban fiscal crises in the Midwest during the 1970s and 1980s. Austin recently published a historiographical essay on twentieth century labor history in the journal, Social History. He has presented papers at various national conferences including the Organization for American Historians, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, and the North American Labor History Conference.

Suzanne Lettieri

Suzanne Lettieri is the co-principle of JeLe, an independent design and research practice.  Lettieri received a master of architecture degree from Cornell and also holds a bachelor of fine arts, with a focus in interior design. For two years she served as a Visiting Critic at Cornell University and has worked at several architecture offices, including OMA, CODA, and Biber Architects. As project leader, she was involved with the design and construction of CODA’s Party Wall at MoMA PS1 (2013) and worked on the team at Biber Architects, under the leadership of the James Beard Foundation, for the USA Pavilion for the 2015 Milan World Expo. At OMA, she was part of the team for the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec. She is currently serving as the Michigan/Mellon Design Fellow at Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. JeLe’s work has appeared in exhibitions in New York City, Boston and at Cornell with articles published in the journal Project, Cornell Journal of Architecture and accepted by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture.


November 1, 2016
12:30 pm - 3:00 pm