November 2021

Chris Katzenberg is currently reading Jennifer Jellison Holme and Kara S. Finnigans' Striving in Common: A Regional Equity Framework for Urban Schools (2018). The education scholars provide a rare perspective that thinks urban reform and education reform together: they argue that the causes behind so-called "failing schools" in American cities are often diagnosed too narrowly. In education policy, there has long been a focus on technical fixes within the education system. At the same time, urban studies work on inequality and segregation has rarely considered the role of urban schooling in any detail. Striving in Common grew out of the authors' Ford Foundation-funded research project on "Interdistrict School Integration" programs in American cities since the 1970s. Yet, the work ties this issue to deeper questions regarding the sources of urban (education) inequality and in how far interventions at the level of whole metropolitan regions may alleviate them. See Kara Finnigan present part of the work here.

Maria Sulimma is reading the collection Hipster Culture: Transnational and Intersectional Perspectives (Bloomsbury 2021) edited by Heike Steinhoff. From different disciplinary perspectives and with a wide array of case studies, the contributions explore the hipster as a changing cultural figure and hipster culture as a simultaneously global but also localized phenomenon with specific ties to the gentrified city. Oscillating between irony, self-deprecation, and cultural appropriation, hipster cultures are taken into focus in different sections (on spatiality, body politics, literary production, cultural politics, and intersectionality). The links between the cultural figure of the hipster and that of the gentrifier have inspired the joint lecture series organized by Heike and Maria (see events).

Our Past Reading
Prof. Dr. Josef Raab passed away on November 10, 2019 after a long battle against terminal illness. / © L. Raab

Thank you,

to our colleague, advisor, and mentor Josef Raab, who sadly passed away last weekend after a long and brave battle against terminal illness. Josef Raab was the chair of American Literary and Media Studies at the University of Duisburg-Essen. He paved the way for the discipline of Inter-American Studies, significantly shaping its core debates. As a champion and supporter of the Ruhr Center for American Studies, he was also a pivotal figure for the establishment of our City Scripts research group. Josef Raab was a fighter of the good fight, never shy of supporting his students and of positively endorsing as well as tackling his colleagues. He never eschewed an argument he believed in. While he had to take a step back from in-person participation in recent months due to his illness, he was with us in thought and during our research. We lose a professor and mentor, who has accompanied and supported some of us since our bachelor’s degree, a colleague, who challenged us in academic discussions, and most of all a sincere and warm human soul.

All that is left for us to say now is, thank you and safe travels.