Keenaga-Yamahtta Taylor to visit Penn State as part of Sawyer Seminar Series

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, assistant professor of African-American studies at Princeton University, will deliver a lecture titled “’Unsophisticated Buyers’: Homeownership and the End of the Urban Crisis in the 1970s,” in 10 Sparks Building at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 15. The lecture is free and open to the public.

At the end of the 1960s, the federal government officially ended its long history of excluding African Americans from policies designed to encourage homeownership. In the wake of urban uprising and in response to growing Black income, federal officials partnered with private institutions connected to the real estate industry to promote homeownership in cities across the country. These new policies did not constitute “big government"; instead, they opened a new era of “partnership” between capital and the state in the provision of low-income housing.

This new-at-the-time approach to resolving the longstanding issue of the dearth of safe urban housing raised critical questions about market-based solutions in resolving issues rooted in economic and racial inequality. Taylor’s talk explores those questions and addresses whether public-private partnerships are a viable solution to housing issues in the United States.

Taylor’s writing and scholarship engage issues of contemporary Black politics, the history of Black social movements and Black radicalism, and issues concerning public policy, race and racial inequality. Taylor’s writing has been published in New York Times, The Guardian, Los Angeles Times, Boston Review, The New Republic, Al Jazeera America, Jacobin, In These Times, New Politics, Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture and Society, The International Socialist Review, and beyond. She is also author of the award-winning book, “From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation” (Haymarket Books, 2016) and has a book forthcoming titled “Race For Profit: Black Housing and the Urban Crisis of the 1970s” (University of North Carolina Press).

Taylor received her doctorate in African-American studies at Northwestern University in 2013.

Taylor’s lecture is the latest offering in the Penn State Department of African American Studies’ Racial Disposability and Cultures of Resistance Sawyer Seminar Series. The series, funded largely through a grant provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, seeks to identify and examine ways that marginalized racial subjects in the Americas disrupt the logic of disposability creatively, politically and intellectually using practices of organized resistance and an everyday politics of refusal.  dditional information about “Racial Disposability” can be found on the series website or by contacting Cynthia Young, associate professor and head of the Department of African American Studies, at

Taylor’s visit is co-sponsored by the Population Research Institute and the Penn State Department of History.

Media Contacts: 

William Hessert

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College of the Liberal Arts

Last Updated March 02, 2018