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Property, race, and the carceral state: Policing Milwaukee’s Housing Crisis; Friday Coffee Hour

October 9, 2017

Please join us this Friday October 13th for our Departmental Coffee Hour. Our speaker this week is Anne Bonds, Associate Professor of Geography from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Refreshments begin at 3:15, Dr.  Bond's talk at 3:30. 

ABSTRACT: In the summer of 1967 uprisings over racism, housing discrimination, and police brutality surged across U.S. cities, prompting a decidedly carceral shift in the regulation of urban poverty (e.g. Camp, 2016; Hinton, 2016).  Drawing from this context, in this talk, I focus on property, particularly residential property, as an essential race-making institution and consider its connections to the carceral state. Situating property within theories of racial capitalism and critical carceral studies, I examine struggles over segregation and housing in Milwaukee to demonstrate how carceral solutions became the answer to the city’s racialized housing crisis.  While the role of residential property in consolidating white suburban political and economic power and in insolating and marginalizing poor communities of color is well documented, Milwaukee’s socialist political tradition distinctly contoured anti-Black racism and the city’s (in)ability to support integrated public housing.  My analysis challenges contemporary theories of urban marginality and eviction that situate housing dynamics and social welfare as somehow separate from, rather than enmeshed within, the workings of the neoliberal carceral state.