New & Noteworthy Items

Wright/Vaz & Shih/Newman awarded Urban Studies Foundation Awards


Two teams including Rutgers Geography Graduate Faculty have been awarded Seminar Awards from the Urban Studies Foundation to carry out international seminars in the next two years. 


Dr. Priscilla Vaz, who joins Rutgers Geography as an Assistant Professor in Fall 2021, and Dr. Willie Wright, Assistant Professor, along with Dr. Renato Emerson dos Santos from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, received their award to support a two-part seminar series to be hosted at Rutgers and Rio de Janeiro on the theme of "Global Black Geographies: Racial Capitalism and Black Urban Experiences."

This two-part seminar series brings Black Geographies into Urban Studies while simultaneously strengthening the global network of researchers and activists interested in Black geographies studies and activist interventions against the racialized power dynamics that perpetuates devaluation, expropriation, and marginalization of Black lives and majority-Black places. It highlights the need for urban theorists to foreground Black Studies epistemologies in their work, and in so doing, to also draw on the important contributions of social movement participants in our collective knowledge production.

The international seminars will take place in academic and grassroots spaces both in Brazil and the United States. It will make space for a multiplicity of modes of interaction and knowledge production including series conversation circles, round tables, film screenings, artistic presentations, and field visits to places of Black historical importance, such as Centro Cultural Pequena África and Museu da Maré, and some activities will be hosted in favelas in Rio de Janeiro that stand out for their histories and long traditions of urban struggles and community activism in different fields.


Professors Mi Shih and Kathe Newman, in the Bloustein School and members of the Rutgers Geography Graduate Faculty, won support for their seminar "Negotiating Social Futures: the politics of land development and value capture during and after the Covid-19 pandemic." Through two conferences in fall 2021 and fall 2022, Shih and Newman will bring leading urbanists together to ask three questions: First, how does value capture work? Does COVID-19 re-embed value in land development with social futures? By juxtaposing a set of dissimilar cases as a method of comparison, we plan to unravel how capture techniques are assembled and mobilized. We will also examine whether, and, if so, how, COVID-19 disrupts or restructures present land development discourses and practices. Second, how should the politics of land development and the city’s social futures be aligned? As the outcomes of value capture are always molded through the politics of public-private dynamics, we are particularly interested in the possibility of capturing value differently such that it is re-embedded with the social. Third, where is the place of the public in defining, negotiating, and anchoring captured value? A key target of our research inquiry is the conditions under which the public thrives or stagnates in value capture. See the full conference abstract here.

Congratulations to both teams, and stay tuned for conference details in the coming months.