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Thursday, March 17 • 9:15am - 10:40am
TH9.15.17 Organizing Community Development:“Expertise” & Power in Participatory Research (ACTIVIST SCHOLARSHIP)

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This colloquy will engage in critical dialogues on how researchers engage in and train for participatory research focused on issues of community development and what the impacts are for the researchers and the communities involved. What insights do participatory approaches highlight in the current landscape of community organizing and development? What practices emerge for junior scholars and training programs on community-based work? How does such work ultimately impact the communities themselves, and how do academics navigate these tensions? In this colloquy sponsored by both UAA and URBAN, panelists will highlight innovative methodologies and approaches and emerging insights and lessons. Engaging in reflexivity on their respective projects, panelists will discuss their experiences in the context of specific research projects on gentrification and the financialization of real estate, community development, and housing, and encourage discussion with those in the audience. Through the colloquy, we will unpack “activist” scholarship by deliberating how we might address conflicting goals and interests in the communities we work with. Rachel Brahinsky and Leigh Graham will reflect on their experiences directing, teaching and mentoring in graduate programs that prioritize community-engaged research, especially regarding tensions on how to structure programs and design research that serve community needs amidst academic constraints, and regarding conflicting logics and pressures on community engagement within the academy. Emily Rosenman will focus her remarks on the professionalization of mainstream community development networks, the resulting kinds of research most sanctioned and funded by these networks, and how scholars might better engage the sorts of more “activist” stakeholders and research sidelined by such networks. Ben Teresa will discuss how community organizations in New York City use innovative research methods that in the process of producing new knowledge also counter hegemonic real estate investment narratives and practices, and how researchers, policy makers, and other activists engage with these research tools.


Leigh Graham, John Jay College, CUNY

John Jay College of Criminal Justice
avatar for Rachel Brahinsky, University of San Francisco

Rachel Brahinsky, University of San Francisco

Assistant Professor, Urban Affairs, University of San Francisco

Emily Rosenman

University of British Columbia

Benjamin Teresa

The Graduate Center of the City University of New York


Benjamin Teresa

The Graduate Center of the City University of New York

Thursday March 17, 2016 9:15am - 10:40am PDT
Aqua Salon E