Saturday, September 27, 2014

Introducing DC Public Housing Radio

I just started a new page, DC Public Housing Radio (you can see the tab above), as an attempt to document the vibrant musical life in DC public housing projects. I'm not tech savvy enough to make an online radio station, but I did make two YouTube playlists: "DC Public Housing Radio" or to the "DC Public Housing History." However, if anyone out their is already doing this kind of project or is planning to, let me know and I'll advertise what you are doing. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Be a Part of DC Historical Studies

The Annual Conference on DC Historical Studies is approaching, Nov. 20-23, 2014 at the Carnegie Library. The theme of this year's conference is "Making New Washingtons: Historical Consciousness in a Transforming City." The conference is always fascinating and so exciting. One particularly interesting event will be a roundtable on Marion Barry's new book:

Barry by the Book: A roundtable of authors who have examined Marion Barry's career
  • Jonathan I. Z. Agronsky, journalist, author of Marion Barry: The Politics of Race. 1991.
  • Jonetta Rose Barras, journalist, author of The Last of the Black Emperors: The Hollow Comeback of Marion Barry in the New Age of Black Leaders. 1998.
  • Steven Diner, University Professor, Professor of History, Rutgers University; author of “Washington, The Black Majority: Race and Politics in the Nation’s Capital,” in Snowbelt Cities: Metropolitan Politics in the Northeast and Midwest Since World War II. 1990.
  • Dana Flor, filmmaker, “The Nine Lives of Marion Barry.” 
  • Maurice Jackson, Associate Professor of History and African-American Studies, Georgetown University.
  • Harry Jaffe, journalist, co-author of Dream City: Race, Power, and the Decline of Washington, D.C. 1994.
  • Moderator: Derek Musgrove, Assistant Professor of History, UM Baltimore County; author of Rumor, Repression, and Racial Politics: How the Harassment of Black Elected Officials Shaped Post-Civil Rights America. 2012.

You can register now, so reserve your place at this exciting conference.

You can also take part in DC Historical Studies by volunteering at the conference. This is a great way to get to know the great organizers of the conference and to meet the many scholars involved with the conference.

Volunteers are needed to:
  • Prepare Conference packets and badges,
  • Register attendees and distribute packets and badges,
  • Host presenters, direct attendees,
  • Staff “Green Room” and Press Table,
  • Distribute and collect evaluation forms and any handouts,
  • Moderate sessions,
  • Assist and Time presenters, assure that room is prepared,
  • Work AVs (1), responsible for assuring that speakers have equipment and that they leave it there.
  • Support tour guides,
  • Man the “Movie Room”,
  • Attend one of 2 one-hour orientation sessions.
Contact: John O’Brien:

Looking forward to seeing you at the Annual Conference on DC Historical Studies!

Friday, September 12, 2014

DC Gentrification Video

Last week, I gave the annual presidential address to the DC Sociological Society about gentrification in DC. You can view a video of my address below. I start with a bit of history about the DC Sociological Society, which has its own connections to gentrification in DC. I then define gentrification, show some historical trends and maps, and discuss four myths/narratives about gentrification.

The fabulous discussion afterwards covered a wide range of topics, but there were two that I found particularly interesting.

First, we talked about looking beyond the economic motivations behind gentrification to its political motivations. What are the political motivations behind gentrification? How is DC as a whole threatened by gentrification? As discussed in the talk, one former resident of the Arthur Capper public housing project told me: “It [Arthur Capper] was part of the District of Columbia…like a finger or an arm in the body of the District of Columbia…You just cannot destroy a community and expect the city to thrive and survive.” His comment was surprising to me at the time. What is the nature of this District he is talking about? How is it being destroyed?

Second, we talked about renters. Many amazing community organizers in DC are working to increase low-income home ownership, especially through limited-equity cooperatives. I argued that we should also work to support renters, including by maintaining and expanding public housing, because about 41% of DC residents are renters and those in low-income jobs can barely afford to pay rent, let alone to buy a place. What would have to change in DC and nationwide to create a good environment for renters, especially low- and very-low-income renters? How might we create a positive "renter nation"?

Thanks to the DC Sociological Society, our host Mason's Sociology and Anthropology Department, and the audience for an amazing discussion.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Update on My Gentrification Talk Today

The DCSS Presidential Address will take place in Founders Hall, Room 310 (same building, different room) on Thursday, Sept. 4th:

Johanna Bockman, DCSS President, Mason sociologist, DC Blogger
“Sociology in DC, Sociology of DC: Studying Gentrification”
Thursday, September 4, 2014
6:30pm reception, 7:00pm address
Mason’s Arlington Campus at Virginia Square Metro station
Founders Hall, Room 310 (see map below)
Hosted by Mason’s Sociology and Anthropology Department

The event is free and open to the public.

More info:

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Reminder about My Talk on DC Gentrification this Thursday

The DC Sociological Society is kicking off the 2014-2015 year on Thursday, September 4th with the DCSS Presidential Address by me. I'll be talking about gentrification in DC. The event will happen at Mason's Arlington Campus, which is just a couple of blocks from the Virginia Square Metro (see map below, Orange/Silver lines) and has visitor parking underneath the building. The event is free and open to the public.
Johanna Bockman, DCSS President, Mason sociologist, DC Blogger
“Sociology in DC, Sociology of DC: Studying Gentrification”
Thursday, September 4, 2014
6:30pm reception, 7:00pm address
Founders Hall 716
Mason's Arlington Campus at Virginia Square Metro station
Hosted by Mason's Sociology and Anthropology Department
For more info:
My academic webpage:
My blog:
I hope to see you there!

Here's a map showing the parking and Metro locations: