Graduate Colloquium: "At the Intersection of Identity and Finance: Redefining Value and Subjectivities through the Lens of Affordable Homeownership"

Tuesday, April 23, 2013 - 9:30am
Meyerson G-12

Please join us for the next Urban Studies Graduate Student colloquium, with coffee, croissants and conversation on Tuesday March 19, 9:30-11am, in the Office of the Institute of Urban Research, Meyerson Hall G-12. The series provides a way for graduate students who are or have been a part of the Urban Studies Certificate program to come together to share their work.

Author: Jill Siegel, Anthropology

Discussant: Judith Goode, Professor of Anthropology, Temple University

In this paper, I examine conceptions of property relations among low-income urban people of color as they transition to homeownership in housing cooperatives, as well as the role of the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB), an organization in New York City that assists renters in their transformation into cooperative homeowners.  Using a specific limited equity cooperative (LEC) as a case study, located in the Harlem/Washington Heights area, a historically African-American neighborhood that is experiencing gentrification as well as an influx of Latino immigrants, I investigate how residents negotiate their new roles as collective owners, not renters. I also explore how these new economic and financial practices shape subjectivities and socialities, in two domains of identity: the renter/owner/co-op owner and race/ethnicity/class/gender. I argue for the inextricable (and mutually constitutive) links between the valuations of property and the valuations of people. Through the benefit of two years of ethnographic analysis, I give several examples of how the co-op’s residents’ experiences in a housing environment whose value is partially screened from the speculative housing market can reveal new insights into housing and the capitalist urban processes.