Jovan Scott Lewis is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Geography at the University of California, Berkeley and the author of Scammer’s Yard: The Crime of Black Repair in Jamaica and Violent Utopia: Dispossession and Black Restoration in Tulsa. He is an economic anthropologist and geographer concerned with the questions of racial capitalism, underdevelopment, and radical terms of repair in the Caribbean and US. He studies Black people's lived experience of racial capitalism and underdevelopment in Jamaica and Tulsa, OK. concerned with the question of reparations as a means of understanding the historical constitution, but also the future of Blackness as a lived experience and political project. Through analyses of injury, violence, repair, debt, and a critique of community, his work advances radical and productive reparative frameworks. He is currently working on his third book that serves as an explicit examination of these themes.
In 2021, Dr. Lewis was appointed by California Governor Gavin Newsom to serve on the state's Reparations Taskforce. He is also the founder and director of Berkeley Black Geographies.
Brandi Thompson Summers is an Associate Professor of Geography at the University of California, Berkeley. She is also affiliated with the Center for Science, Technology, Medicine & Society (CSTMS), the Center for Race & Gender (CRG), Network for a New Political Economy, Global Metropolitan Studies (GMS), and the Arts Research Center (ARC). Her research examines the relationship between and function of race, space, urban infrastructure, and architecture. She has published several articles and essays that analyze the relationship between race, power, aesthetics, and urbanization that appear in both academic and popular publications, including the New York Times, Boston Globe, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research (IJURR), Urban Geography, Public Books, and The Funambulist. She is a member of the Editorial Collectives of City: Analysis of Urban Change, Theory, Action and ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographers, and is on the editorial board of Urban Geography, City & Community, cultural geographies, Environment & Planning F, and AAG Review of Books.
Dr. Summers is the author of Black in Place: The Spatial Aesthetics of Race in a Post-Chocolate City (University of North Carolina Press), which explores how aesthetics and race converge to locate or map blackness in Washington, D.C. In it, she demonstrates the way that competing notions of blackness structure efforts to raise capital and develop land in the gentrifying city.
Her current book project is an interdisciplinary study that examines the complex ways in which uses of space and placemaking practices inform productions of knowledge and power. The project engages research by examining representations and experiences of space, place, and landscape in Oakland, CA. across historical contexts.
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