Matthew Desmond’s Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City
Please plan on reading Desmond’s book before you come to campus in August. It will serve as a cornerstone to a series of activities in Autumn Term and events throughout the academic year centered on the theme of “Sense of Home.”
Matthew Desmond is a sociologist and urban ethnographer whose book follows the plight of eight poor families from Milwaukee, some black and some white, all of whom struggle with the constant threat or devastating aftermath of eviction. The real strength of Desmond’s book, however, lies not just in his detailed analysis of the problem of eviction, but in the lyrical, nuanced and often heartbreaking way he describes the experiences of those men, women and children who suffer because of it. His characters are far more than mere objects of pity; they are remarkably resilient, if sometimes also flawed, human beings. If Desmond’s book is a call to conscience—and it is—it also is a call to action. The author believes the problems he describes are eminently fixable, even if the solutions themselves are not necessarily simple or easy.
Evicted was recently awarded the prestigious 2017 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction, and it was a finalist for the 2016 Kirkus Prize. The book was also named as one of the Top 10 Books of 2016 by The New York Times Book Review and additionally made The Washington Post 10 Best Books of 2016, NPR Best Books of 2016, Publisher’s Weekly Top 20 Books of 2016, and the Boston Globe’s Best Books of 2016 lists.
We are also pleased to announce that Matthew Desmond—who is professor of sociology at Princeton University, the director of the Justice and Poverty Project, and a 2015 MacArthur “Genius” Grant winner—has agreed to be Eckerd’s Class of 1968 Distinguished Visiting Scholar and sit for a moderated question-and-answer session with first-year students in early October 2017.
Matthew Desmond, winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for “Evicted,” is an American sociologist and urban ethnographer. He is currently professor of sociology at Princeton University and co-director of the Justice and Poverty Project. The author of several books, including the award-winning book “On the Fireline,” Desmond was awarded a MacArthur “Genius” grant in 2015 for his work on poverty in America.
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