2016-2017 Schedule

  • Panel: "Teaching Detroit" - Panelists will discuss their different approaches to teaching Detroit: how they bring Detroit into their classrooms, how Detroit shapes their pedagogy, and how they contextualize Detroit as a case in relation to other urban spaces and train young minds to grapple with Detroit. Panelists will include Stephen Ward, Ren Farley, Damani Partridge, and Carolyn Loh. Angela Dillard, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education and the Earl Lewis Collegiate Professor of Afroamerican and African Studies and in the Residential College, will moderate.

    October 21, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    Betty Ford Classroom, 1110 Weill Hall

    Lecture Video Coming Soon

  • Lecture: Marcus Hunter on "The Sociology of Urban Black America" - Marcus Hunter, Associate Professor of Sociology and African American Studies and a faculty affiliate at the Ralph Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA, will present his research on the varying experiences and politics of urban Black Americans across the United States since 1900, including insights from his forthcoming book with Zandria F. Robinson, Chocolate Cities.

    November 10, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    Rackham East Conference Room (4th floor)

    Lecture Audio

  • Book Launch: Rebecca J. Kinney's Beautiful Wasteland: The Rise of Detroit as America’s Postindustrial Frontier - Rebecca J. Kinney is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Popular Culture and School of Cultural and Critical Studies at Bowling Green. Kinney will introduce her new book, Beautiful Wasteland: The Rise of Detroit as America’s Postindustrial Frontier, which examines the use of racialized mythology in Detroit's past, present, and future. Then a panel of respondents will discuss the book and the new questions it raises for research.

    December 9, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    Rackham West Conference Room (4th floor)

    Lecture Audio

  • Lecture: "Post Post-It" by Anya Sirota - Anya Sirota is Assistant Professor of Architecture at Taubman College and the principal architect at Akoaki. A prolific innovator whose work spans film, print, performance, and architecture, Sirota is a driving force behind multiple collective avant-garde productions in Detroit, including the Detroit Culture Council, the One Mile Project and One Mile Zine, the Mothership, and the Oakland Urban Farm as well many other ongoing projects, temporary exhibits, and targeted actions aimed at sustaining community in the city. In her practice and her teaching, Sirota focuses on the relationship between architecture and contemporary cultural production, critically re-evaluating how architecture can sustain heritage and participate in public discourse.

    January 27, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    Rackham West Conference Room (4th floor)

    Lecture Audio

  • Lecture: Sara Safransky on "The Urban Land Question: Thinking with Detroit" - Sara Safransky, Assistant Professor of Human and Organizational Development at Vanderbilt University, will share insights from two forthcoming book projects. The first focuses on the racial and environmental politics involved in redeveloping Detroit, arguing that the city’s landscape has been shaped in profound ways by racial state building and struggles for Black self-determination. The second, Detroit: A People’s Atlas (expected out 2017), offers counter-narratives of Detroit’s past, present, and future from collected oral histories, interviews, critical essays, poems, and maps that document the voices and experiences of some of the many Detroiters sidelined in discussions of the city’s future.

    February 17, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    Rackham West Conference Room (4th floor)

  • Book Talk: Amy Haimerl's Detroit Hustle - Amy Haimerl, professor of journalism at Michigan State University, will discuss Detroit Hustle: A Memoir of Love, Life and Home, a book about her experience moving to the Motor City and rehabbing a dilapidated historic home. As reviewer Marsha Battle Philpot has written, Haimerl's book is about more than home renovation. It also "examines privilege, gentrification, naiveté, and the realities of ‘being White in Detroit,’ and being crystal clear on the privilege and often just plain foolishness that often entails, as folks try to become – or avoid – being part of the community that has been there all along." In her talk, Haimerl will discuss how she approached writing about Detroit while navigating her identity as a newcomer to the city. The book will be available for sale.

    March 16, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    Wolverine Room, Michigan Union

  • Panel: Disciplinary Approaches to the Study of Detroit - To close our series, we are convening a panel discussion of doctoral students engaged in Detroit research. The conversation - moderated by Margi Dewar, Professor of Urban and Regional Planning - will focus 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.

    April 7, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    Betty Ford Classroom, 1110 Weill Hall


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. We also hope to foster new collaborations among the hundreds of researchers—at the University of Michigan and around the world—who are studying Detroit and cities like it.

For our 2016-2017 series, we will pose twin questions to our workshop participants and lecturers: "What topics can’t we understand without grappling with Detroit?” and “What must we know in order to understand Detroit itself?”