Graduate Students

  • Portrait (head shot photo)
  • Samantha Bowden Akbari
  • Email:
  • Research Interests: urban public policy, community development, public space/memory, cultural landscapes, decolonial/social movements, political economy of difference
  • Advisor: Robert W. Lake
  • Degree: Ph.D.



My dissertation is a case study of New Orleans and the Crescent City’s experience with the "Take ‘Em Down" movement addressing both "symbols and systems" of racial, economic, and gender inequality. I'm working to unpack the relationship of these “monument wars” to broader relational-placemaking practices and struggles for more equitable urban life. 

In 2016, I completed my master’s degree analyzing the public policy of cities hosting “mega-events“ as a neoliberal urban accumulation strategy at the University of South Florida.

Previous Degrees:

  • M.A., Political Science-Policy Analysis, University of South Florida
  • B.A., Geography and International Relations, University of South Florida


  • Bosman, M.M., & Bowden, S.L. (Forthcoming, 2020). “Mega-Events as Neoliberal Urban Accumulation Strategy." In Bosman, M. Martin, Riverfront Gentrification and the Making of a Revanchist City: New Military Urbanism, Racial Neoliberalism and the New Jim Crow in Tampa, Florida. New York and London: Verso.
  • McFarland, S., Bowden, S.L., and Bosman, M.M. (2019). “Take ‘Em Down Hillsborough!”: Race, space, and the 2017 Struggle Over Confederate Iconography in Neoliberal Tampa.” Southeastern Geographer.
  • Bowden, S.L. (2019). “Occupy: Prehistories and Continuities." In H. Vanden, G. Prevost, and P. Funke, eds., The New Global Politics: Global Social Movements in the Twenty-First Century. London: Routledge.

Under Review:

  • Bowden, S.L., McFarland, S., and Bosman, M.M. “Engendered in Stone: The Intersection of Race and Gender in Erecting and Removing Confederate Monuments." Under review as part of the special edition in ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, edited by Reuben Rose-Redwood.

Other Publications:

  • “The Myth of ‘Post-racial’ America: Color-blind Racism in the Push to Repeal Affirmative Action in Higher Education.” Published in The Village Voice and UCal’s Must-Read Sunday Reading List, 2014.


  • University and Louis Bevier Dissertation Completion Fellowship (2020–2021)
  • Graduate Research Excellence Award, RU Geography Department (Spring 2020)
  • Pre-Dissertation Fieldwork Improvement Grant, Rutgers (Summer 2018)
  • Teaching Assistantship, Rutgers (2017–2019)
  • Dean's Excellence Fellowship, Rutgers (2016–2017, 2019–2020)
  • Graduate Assistant Fellowship, USF (2015–2016)
  • Department of Government and International Studies Conference Grant, USF (Spring 2015)
  • Conference Presentation Travel Grant, USF (Spring 2015)
  • "Research That Matters!" Grant Finalist, USF (Fall 2014)
  • The Washington Center Fellowship, State Legislature Award, USF (Summer 2012)
  • Southwest Airlines, The Washington Center Flight Sponsorship, USF (Summer 2012)
  • Florida Bright Futures Gold Scholarship (2006–2007)

2021 cohort names

2021 Cohort of Rutgers Geography Graduate Students