ARC Seminar: Emily Raboteau: Endurance: A Novel: Gentrification and its Effects in Washington Heights
Borrowing its title from this summer's probing popular NPR series, "There Goes the Neighborhood," my seminar presentation will illuminate the human, socioeconomic, political, and cultural effects of the process of gentrification. While that podcast focused on areas in Brooklyn, my multi-media presentation will focus on income inequality in the neighborhood of Washington Heights, where my novel, Endurance, is set. I will present photography slides to convey how the neighborhood, with its store closures, real estate development, and shifting demographics, is swiftly changing. I will also read briefly from my novel, which explores the lived experiences and relationships of characters in the neighborhood as they struggle to retain their homes. My talk will center on the central questions of the novel itself (as articulated in my proposal) without being doctrinaire about the answers.
Emily Raboteau is a novelist, memoirist, essayist and professor of creative writing at the City College of New York. She is the author of two books; The Professor's Daughter (Henry Holt, 2005), and Searching for Zion: The Quest for Home in the African Diaspora, (Grove/Atlantic, 2013) winner of a 2014 American Book Award and a finalist for a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. Her recent essay on the Know Your Rights! murals of New York City was included in the landmark NYT bestselling anthology, The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race (Scribner, 2016). Other writing of hers about race, identity, social justice, and photography has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Guardian, The Washington Post, VQR, Salon, Orion, Transition, and elsewhere. Her next novel, Endurance, explores the intersecting lives and problems of the residents of a gentrifying Upper Manhattan apartment building, as seen through the eyes of the building's live-in superintendent.