Conference will examine issues of race and real estate

Issues related to race and home ownership will be examined at the "Race and Real Estate" conference scheduled for Thursday through Saturday, March 5-7, in various locations on campus. The event is free and open to the public, but advance registration is required.

Conference panels will explore the topics of homes, neighborhoods, public space and money. The event will feature scholars from diverse fields including architecture, business, history, law and sociology, as well as professionals working in the areas of development, design and sustainability. The event has been organized by the Center for African American Studies and Program in Law and Public Affairs (LAPA).

"Events like the conference on race and real estate offer members of the community an opportunity to interact with scholars whose work explores the various ways we think about race," said Valerie Smith, director of the Center for African American Studies and the Woodrow Wilson Professor of Literature."Through symposia and conferences of this type, the Center for African American Studies contributes to an evolving national dialogue about the complex nature of race and social justice in the United States and around the world."

The conference will begin at 4:30 p.m. March 5, in 101 Friend Center, with welcoming remarks and a screening of the documentary "Home" about the struggle of a Newark, N.J., family to own a home. The screening will be followed by a discussion with the film's director, Jeffrey Togman, associate professor of political science at Seton Hall University, as well as Regina Austin, the William A. Schnader Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and Mary Abernathy and Sheree Farmer, two women featured in the documentary.

Discussions will continue March 6 in Robertson Hall with panels titled "Homes" at 9 a.m., "Neighborhoods" at 11 a.m. and "Public Space" at 2:30 p.m. The panels will be followed at 4:30 p.m. with the keynote lecture "House Proud" by Patricia Williams, the James L. Dohr Professor of Law at Columbia Law School and a columnist for The Nation.

The event will conclude March 7 in 16 Robertson Hall with a panel titled "Money" at 9 a.m. and a roundtable discussion about the future of urban housing issues at 10:45 a.m.

To register to attend the conference and to view a complete list of events, please visit the conference website.

"The American dream has long been associated with owning one's own home," said Kim Scheppele, director of LAPA and the Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Public Affairs and Sociology and the University Center for Human Values. "Yet, the history of home ownership in the U.S. is filled with markers of race: restrictive covenants, neighborhood 'redlining', residential segregation and others. By looking at race and real estate together, we can learn more about each."

Speakers expected at the event include: Craig Barton, associate professor of urban design and director of the Urban Studies Program at the University of Virginia School of Architecture; Carlton Brown, a Princeton class of 1973 graduate and chief operating officer of the sustainable real estate development company Full Spectrum of New York; Mitchell Duneier, professor of sociology at Princeton; Patricia Fernandez-Kelly, senior lecturer in sociology at Princeton; K. Ian Grandison, University Professor of American Studies and Landscape Architecture at the University of Virginia; George Hawkins, a Princeton class of 1983 graduate and director of the District of Columbia Department of the Environment; Monique King-Viehland, executive director of Capital City Redevelopment Corporation; Douglas Massey, the Henry G. Bryant Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton; and Georgette Chapman Phillips, the David B. Ford Professor of Real Estate, professor of legal studies and law, and Vice Dean of the Wharton Undergraduate Division at the University of Pennsylvania.

J.G. Petrucci Co., Inc. (JGPCO), a development and design-build organization based in Asbury N.J., is sponsoring the conference.

"We are pleased to sponsor this conference, which will afford scholars and subject matter experts the opportunity to come together and explore the critical issues of race and real estate in a unique, multi-disciplinary framework," said James G. Petrucci, president of JGPCO.

Members of the media interested in attending the conference must contact Jennifer Loessy in the Center for African American Studies no later than 10 a.m. Wednesday, March 4, by e-mailing or calling (609) 258-3216.