• Virtual Author Talk: Diverging Spaces for Deviants with Dr. Akira Drake Rodriguez - April 6 @ 7:00 PM CST

Virtual Author Talk: Diverging Spaces for Deviants with Dr. Akira Drake Rodriguez - April 6 @ 7:00 PM CST

Join us as we examine the intersection of Black feminist politics and public housing with author Dr. Akira Drake Rodriguez and Josie Pickens!


When: Wednesday, April 6 at 7:00 PM CST

Where: Virtual via Crowdcast.

How:  Register on this page or head over to register on Crowdcast directly using this link.  If you register using our website (with or without purchasing the book) and not Crowdcast, you will register a Crowdcast watch link at least 24 hours before the start of the event.

We hope you can join us!


This book explores the often-overlooked positive role of public housing in facilitating social movements and activism. Taking a political, social, and spatial perspective, the author offers Atlanta as a case study. Akira Drake Rodriguez shows that the decline in support for public housing, often touted as a positive (neoliberal) development, has negative consequences for social justice and nascent activism, especially among Black women. Urban revitalization policies target public housing residents by demolishing public housing towers and dispersing poor (Black) residents into new, deconcentrated spaces in the city via housing choice vouchers and other housing-based tools of economic and urban development.

Diverging Space for Deviants establishes alternative functions for public housing developments that would necessitate their existence in any city. In addition to providing affordable housing for low-income residents—a necessity as wealth inequality in cities increases—public housing developments function as a necessary political space in the city, one of the last remaining frontiers for citizens to engage in inclusive political activity and make claims on the changing face of the state.


AKIRA DRAKE RODRIGUEZ is an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Weitzman School of Design. She received her PhD from the Edward J. Bloustein School of Urban Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University.  She has a MPA from the Fels Institute at the University of Pennsylvania and a BS in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.  Her husband Ruben and her son Jack keep her laughing in their home in Philadelphia.


Josie Pickens is a womanist and abolitionist professor, organizer, writer and thought leader. In addition to speaking and writing about topics that focus on the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality, Josie is also the program director for upEND Movement, which is an organization committed to abolishing the the child welfare system. Connect with Josie and follow her musings on Twitter and Instagram at @jonubian.

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