George Lipsitz, "Decorating the Way to Other Worlds: Why Race and Space Matter Now"

Pembroke Hall 305, 172 Meeting Street

In CSREA's inaugural Third Rail Series Lecture, George Lipsitz described how in the wake of imposed austerity and state organized abandonment of communities of color, urban activists and artists are building capacity for popular democracy through site specific interventions organized around art-based community making. From the son jarocho music of the west coast Fandango movement to the social sculpture of Project Row Houses in Houston, from the installation art honoring low wage undocumented workers in Los Angeles to story circles of Students at the Center in the ninth ward in New Orleans, people are working together to imbue the world with a greater potential for justice through democratic deliberation and decision making and through shared creativity and mutual accountability. These projects interrupt old habits, trigger fresh perceptions, contest expert knowledge, oppose centralized power and provoke new aspirations. Through surprise and disguise and improvisation and inversion they discover rich value in undervalued practices, places and people and hone a collective commitment to decorating the way to other worlds.

George Lipsitz is a professor in the Department of Black Studies and Department of Sociology at University of California, Santa Barbara. Professor Lipsitz is the author of many important books on race, racism, culture and US history including: The Fierce Urgency of Now: Improvisation, Rights and the Ethics of Co-Creation, How Racism Takes Place, Midnight at the Barrelhouse: The Johnny Otis Story, and The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: How White People Profit from Identity Politics.

Presented by CSREA, the U.S. Latino Studies Fund, and the Department of Africana Studies.