Spatial Temporalities: The Future-Pasts of Black Dispossession

Lecture by Brandi Thompson Summers, Assistant Professor, Geography and Global Metropolitan Studies, University of California, Berkeley How do you map no place? There is an intimacy between Blackness and placelessness that shows up today, in Oakland, CA, as homelessness. In this talk, Dr. Summers draws on the speculative to highlight a long history of restrictive and devastating policy passed and promoted by local governments and developers. She tells the story of West Oakland, in particular, as a testing ground for speculative urbanism–an urbanism based not in speculators’ profit or the spectacles of a city’s self-branding, but in the utopian and dystopian possibilities that unfold in an ongoing (implicitly and explicitly racialized) housing emergency. Ultimately, she considers Black homelessness in West Oakland as occurring in a collapsed or simultaneous, para-science-fictional or afrosurreal time, in which complexes of events that seem mappable along a past-present-future axis are in fact all happening at once.

Name of Organization
Columbia GSAPP
Event City and Country
New York, United States of America
Event Date