City Scripts in the Field: What We're Working on

Credit: Florian Deckers

Is the Spirit of East Harlem Fading?

The Spirit of East Harlem, originally created by Hank Prussing in 1978 and refurbished by Manny Vega in 1998, depicts people of different ages of the mainly Latin American neighborhood in their everyday life in East Harlem. The fading of the mural due to the exposure to sunlight can also be read in a symbolical sense as processes of gentrification gradually force more and more people to leave the neighborhood due to rising rents and living costs. In his dissertation project Raising Ethnic Voices, Florian Deckers investigates contemporary approaches of LatinX artists and activists in New York City and Los Angeles.

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.