Author Meets Critics - Ted Rutland's Displacing Blackness: Planning, Power, and Race in Twentieth-Century Halifax

Type: Panel
Theme: Black Geographies
Sponsor Groups: Socialist and Critical Geography Specialty Group, Black Geographies Specialty Group, Urban Geography Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 3:20 PM / 5:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time)
Room: Napoleon D3, Sheraton 3rd Floor
Organizers: Ted Rutland, Jennifer Ridgley
Chairs: Jennifer Ridgley


Modern urban planning has long promised to improve the quality of human life. But how is human life defined? And what lies beyond this definition? These are the questions explored in Ted Rutland's new book, Displacing Blackness: Planning, Power, and Race in Twentieth-Century Halifax. This panel explores the book through a series of critical commentaries from geographers working on issues ranging from urban planning to Black geographies.

Displacing Blackness develops a unique critique of urban planning by focusing, not on its subservience to economic or political elites, but on its efforts to improve people’s lives. While focused on twentieth-century Halifax, the develops broad insights about the possibilities and limitations of modern planning. Drawing connections between the history of planning and emerging scholarship in Black Studies, the book positions anti-blackness at the heart of contemporary city-making. Moving through a series of important planning initiatives, from a social housing project concerned with the moral and physical health of working-class residents to a sustainability-focused regional plan, Displacing Blackness shows how race – specifically blackness – has defined the boundaries and guided urban planning, with grave consequences for the city’s Black residents.


Type Details Minutes
Discussant Rashad Shabazz Arizona State University 10
Discussant Libby Porter 10
Discussant LaToya Eaves Middle Tennessee State University 10
Discussant Zenzele Isoke 10
Discussant John Paul Catungal University of British Columbia 10
Panelist Ted Rutland Concordia University 10

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