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Coffee Hour

Minnesota Geographer

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For a half century, the Department of Geography has hosted Coffee
Hour, the longest-running speaker series at the University of Minnesota and among Geography Departments in the United States.

On Friday afternoons, Geography students and faculty, other colleagues from throughout the University, and visitors gather to hear the speaker, exchange ideas, and enjoy a snack with colleagues.

Fridays at 3:30pm (Coffee and Cookies at 3:15)
John S. Adams Community Room
445 Blegen Hall, unless noted otherwise

Coffee Hour Schedule – Spring 2015

Jan 23 – no Coffee Hour

Jan 30 – John Archer, Dept of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature, U of M

Feb 6 – Carissa Shively-Slotterback, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, U of M

Feb 13 – Dan Griffin, Dept of Geography, Environment and Society, U of M

Feb 20 – Jon Commers, Metropolitan Council

Feb 27 – Ed Goetz, Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, U of M

Mar 6 – Graduate student research presentations

Mar 13 – no Coffee Hour – Friday before Spring Break

Mar 20 – no Coffee Hour – Spring Break

Mar 27 – Ali Ahmida, Dept of Political Science, University of New England

Apr 3 – George Henderson, Dept of Geography, Environment and Society, U of M

Apr 10 – Jean Langford, Dept of Anthropology, U of M

Apr 17 – Fraser Hart, Dept of Geography, Environment and Society, U of M

Apr 24 – no Coffee Hour – AAG Annual Meeting, Chicago

May 1 – Brown Day – Sarah Elwood, Dept of Geography, Univ of Washington

Title: “The Poor are Us”: Middle class poverty politics in Buenos Aires and Seattle

Abstract: This paper explores middle class poverty politics in Seattle and Buenos Aires in a period of recovery from deep neoliberal economic crisis, drawing from collaborative research by an interdisciplinary and international research team (Santiago Canevaro, Sarah Elwood, Victoria Lawson, Nicolás Viotti). We read the two cases in relation to one another to examine what sorts of class subjects emerge in the US – typically theorized as remaining deeply entrenched in neoliberal governance, and Argentina – often conceptualized as post-neoliberal.  Specifically, we investigate the poverty politics of middle class residents engaged in anti- or pro-poor activism against homeless encampments or squatter settlements in urban neighborhoods. Rooted in relational poverty theory, we conceptualize these forms of activism as relational practices through which class subjectivities are reiterated or challenged through interactions across class lines.  Our comparative analysis examines:  i) how middle class actors frame their differences or alliances with poorer residents and ii) how these framings of middle class selves and poorer others are expressed in poverty politics and cross-class antagonisms or alliances. We find that while poverty is a key site for the making of middle class actors as individualized, aspirational, normative subjects in both countries, the poverty politics of middle class actors are not a foregone conclusion. Cross class alliances do arise, pointing towards the potential for alternative readings of class difference.