Past Event

In the Shadow of the Ivory Tower: How Universities Are Plundering Our Cities

October 7, 2021
6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
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IRAAS Conversations
"In the Shadow of the Ivory Tower: How Universities Are Plundering Our Cities"
author, Davarian L. BaldwinTrinity College
discussant, Mabel O. WilsonColumbia University


Cosponsor: Department of History -Columbia University
Cosponsor: Institute for Comparative Literature & Society - Columbia University

Davarian L. Baldwin is the Paul E. Raether Distinguished Professor of American Studies and Founding Director of the Smart Cities Research Lab at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. He is the author of In the Shadow of the Ivory Tower: How Universities are Plundering Our Cities, Chicago’s New Negroes: Modernity, the Great Migration, and Black Urban Life, and co-editor (with Minkah Makalani) of the essay collection, Escape From New York: The New Negro Renaissance beyond Harlem. Baldwin is currently at work on the book Land of Darkness: Chicago and the Making of Race in Modern America (Oxford University Press).
In addition to teaching and writing, Baldwin sits on the Editorial Boards for the Journal of Urban History, the Journal of African American History, the American Studies Journal, and Black Perspectives. Baldwin is also co-editor of the Urban Life, Landscape, and Policy book series for Temple University Press and serves as a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians. His commentaries have been featured in numerous outlets from NBC News, PBS, and The History Channel to USAToday, the Washington Post and TIME.

Mabel O. Wilson (’91 M.Arch) is the Nancy and George Rupp Professor of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, a Professor in African American and African Diasporic Studies, and the Director of the Institute for Research in African American Studies (IRAAS) at Columbia University. At GSAPP she co-directs the Global Africa Lab.

Wilson joined the faculty of Columbia in 2007 and she has held fulltime and visiting appointments at UC Berkeley, California College of the Arts, Princeton University, Ohio State University and the University of Kentucky. She is trained in Architecture and American Studies, two fields that inform her scholarship, curatorial projects, art works and design projects. Through her transdisciplinary practice Studio &, Wilson makes visible and legible the ways that anti-black racism shapes the built environment along with the ways that blackness creates spaces of imagination, refusal and desire. Her research investigates space, politics and cultural memory in black America; race and modern architecture; new technologies and the social production of space; and visual culture in contemporary art, media and film.

Wilson’s practice Studio & has been a competition finalist for several important cultural institutions including lower Manhattan’s African Burial Ground Memorial and the Smithsonian’s National Museum for African American History and Culture (with Diller Scofidio + Renfro). For her most recent design collaboration, she is member of the architectural team designing the Memorial to Enslaved African American Laborers at the University of Virginia (opening Spring 2020). Exhibitions of her work have been featured at the Venice Biennale, Art Institute of Chicago, Architekturmuseum der TU Mûnchen, Istanbul Design Biennale, Wexner Center for the Arts, the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum’s Triennial, the Storefront for Art and Architecture and SF Cameraworks. Wilson is a founding member of Who Builds Your Architecture? (WBYA?)—an advocacy project to educate the architectural profession about the problems of globalization and labor. In 2011 she was honored as a United States Artists Ford Fellow in Architecture and Design. She received the prestigious Arts and Letters Award. In 2019 from the American Academy of Arts and Letters for her work with Global Africa La (GAL), an innovative research initiative that explores the spatial topologies of the African continent and its diaspora. Wilson was also awarded in 2019 the Educator/Mentor honor from Architectural Record’s Women in Architecture Design Leadership Program.

Wilson has published two books Begin with the Past: Building the National Museum of African American History and Culture (2016) and Negro Building: Black Americans in the World of Fairs and Museums (University of California Press 2012). She is currently developing the manuscript for her third book Building Race and Nation: Slavery and Dispossessions Influence on American Civic Architecture and co-editing the first ever volume on Race and Modern Architecture (University of Pittsburgh Press 2020).

Wilson received her PhD. in American Studies (2007) from New York University.

This event will  take place virtually over Zoom. Registration is required.
The event will be closed captioned. This event will be recorded and available on our YouTube channel

Please email [email protected] to request any additional disability accommodations. Advance notice is necessary to arrange for some accessibility needs.