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Women and Economic Security: Changing Policy and Practice

May 14-17, 2014

The purpose of this meeting is to develop a multi-sector, interdisciplinary approach to identifying and combating barriers that women living in poverty face as they seek economic security and mobility. This meeting will occur in conjunction with work to be done through a three-year Ford Foundation grant (2013-2015) received by the Center for the Education of Women. The conference will also serve as the annual meeting of the National Council for Research on Women.

Through keynote presentations, concurrent sessions, panel discussions, small group discussions, posters, artistic displays and performances, and contributions from women living in poverty, this meeting will position the University as a higher education leader in addressing barriers that women face as they seek to lift themselves out of poverty.

This Michigan Meeting will provide an unprecedented opportunity for cross-fertilization between state-focused efforts to address the issue of women’s economic security and the perspectives of national thought-leaders on this topic. By bringing together experts from around the nation, the meeting will present applicable research and best practices and provide multiple opportunities to examine and begin to address the public policy issues that affect women’s economic security and mobility.

Through this meeting, organizers will build on the expertise of academic researchers, the knowledge and policy development of advocates and activists, the experience and programs of social service agencies, government entities, businesses, and the lived experiences of women themselves, in order to identify model programs that assist and define policy solutions to this seemingly intractable social issue. Additionally, this meeting offers the opportunity to host experts from across the nation, to collaborate with practitioners and policy makers on possible practice and policy changes that could increase women’s economic security and mobility.

Contact: Gloria Thomas

Learning from Detroit: Turbulent Urbanism in the 21st Century

May 30-31, 2014

Shrinking cities are often mistakenly portrayed as places of inexorable decline. There is no question that residents in cities like Detroit face many challenges in the aftermath of six decades of disinvestment, population loss, and service cutbacks. But not everything is gloomy, and Detroit is not alone. Although decline may have reached especially acute levels in Detroit, similar processes have occurred – and continue to occur – in other metropolitan areas around the world. The post-industrial landscape and social conditions in Detroit are thus exemplary of persistent patterns of decay and abandonment occurring in as many as one in six cities globally. No adequate social or economic theories exist to comprehend or grapple with these processes of decline. Yet, as the number of distressed cities continues to rise, the ethical importance of making these spaces livable is also rising – as is the array of innovative, grassroots strategies emerging to address, mitigate, and re-invigorate these distinctive urban spaces.

This Michigan Meeting will bring the many vexing question related to distressed urbanism to the table in an interdisciplinary scholarly debate and policy discussion. What can scholars around the world learn from Detroit that can inform a theoretical, but also a practical, understanding of the turbulent post-industrial urbanism of the late 20th and early 21st centuries? Conversely, how does the experience of abandonment and decline elsewhere in North America, Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America help us understands the historically specific dynamics of abandonment and decline in Detroit? Decline in other cities emerged from different starting points and followed distinct trajectories, but the resulting physical environments and social stresses are remarkably similar. By focusing on Detroit as a paradigmatic example of ongoing global processes of urban decline, the aim is to begin developing a theoretical foundation and scholarly agenda for understanding the growing number of cities facing both the acute distress that accompanies the dismantling of once-thriving industrial metropolises and the pressing need to reinvent themselves in an uncertain future.

The three-day event will open with a day-long tour of Detroit followed by a two-day series of intensive panels and roundtable discussions.

Contact: Angela Dillard