As funded by the Taft Memorial Fund
Dr. James H Cone (November 2016)
Adam Kahane (May 2016)
Cincinnati Preschool Promise (November 2015)
Dr. Cornel West (May 2015)
Nicolas Kristof (November 2014)
Glennon Doyle Melton (May 2014)
Building an Ethical Economy (2010*)
Radical Abundance: A Theology of Sustainability (2009*)
Religion & Violence: The Roots of Conflict (2008*)
God’s Unfinished Future: Why It Matters Now (2007*)
Anatomy of Reconciliation: Violence to Healing (2006*)
Dr. Ronald F. Ferguson (2004)
Dr. Cornel West & The Rev. Susan K. Smith (2002)
The Honorable Donna E. Shalala (1999)
The Rev. Dr. Peter J. Gomes (1998)
Jonathan Kozol (1996)
Anna Quindlen (1995)
Dr. C. Everett Koop (1994)
The Rt. Rev. & Rt. Honorable George Carey (1992)
Rabbi Edwin Friedman (1992)
Thomas Friedman (1991)
Bishop Desmond Tutu (1990)
Rabbi Michael Berenbaum (1989)
U.S. House of Representative Barbara Jordan (1988)
Social Justice Advocate • Urban Ethnographer
Speaking on his best selling book,
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City
Monday, May 15, 7:00 pm.
The event is free but tickets are required. Click here to reserve your ticket.
Parking is conveniently located at Queen City Square Garage, directly across the street from the cathedral’s Fourth Street entrance, for a $5 fee.
About Matthew Desmond
Matthew Desmond is the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences and co-director of the Justice and Poverty Project. After receiving his Ph.D. in 2010 from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, he joined the Harvard Society of Fellows as a Junior Fellow. His primary teaching and research interests include urban sociology, poverty, race and ethnicity, organizations and work, social theory, and ethnography.
Desmond is the author of four books: On the Fireline: Living and Dying with Wildland Firefighters (2007), Race in America (with Mustafa Emirbayer, 2015), The Racial Order (with Mustafa Emirbayer, 2015), and Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City (2016). He also is the editor of the inaugural issue of RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences, Volumes 1 & 2: Severe Deprivation in America (2015).
Desmond has written essays on educational inequality, dangerous work, political ideology, race and social theory, and the inner-city housing market. Recently, he has published on the prevalence and consequences of eviction and the low-income rental market, network-based survival strategies among the urban poor, and the consequences of new crime control policies on inner-city women in the American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, Social Forces, and Demography.
The principal investigator of the Milwaukee Area Renters Study, an original survey of tenants in Milwaukee’s low-income private housing sector, Desmond’s work has been supported by the Ford, Russell Sage, and National Science Foundations, and his writing has appeared in the New York Times and Chicago Tribune.
His New York Times bestselling book Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City draws on years of embedded fieldwork and painstakingly gathered data. Evicted won the National Books Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction, the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction, and the Barnes & Noble’s Discover New Writers Award, and is a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Current Interest. It was named one of the Top Books of 2016 by nearly three dozen outlets, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Entertainment Weekly, Kirkus, The Boston Globe, and The Wall Street Journal. Including it on her personal best-of-the-year list, Jennifer Senior of the New York Times also called it 2016’s most “unignorable” book: “Nothing else this year came close.”
This landmark work of scholarship and reportage takes us into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to tell the story of eight families on the edge. Arleen is a single mother trying to raise her two sons on the $20 a month she has left after paying for their rundown apartment. Scott is a gentle nurse consumed by a heroin addiction. Lamar, a man with no legs and a neighborhood full of boys to look after, tries to work his way out of debt. Vanetta participates in a botched stickup after her hours are cut. All are spending almost everything they have on rent, and all have fallen behind.
The fates of these families are in the hands of two landlords: Sherrena Tarver, a former schoolteacher turned inner-city entrepreneur, and Tobin Charney, who runs one of the worst trailer parks in Milwaukee. They loathe some of their tenants and are fond of others, but as Sherrena puts it, “Love don’t pay the bills.” She moves to evict Arleen and her boys a few days before Christmas.
Endorsements of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City
“Desmond is an academic who teaches at Harvard—a sociologist or, you could say, an ethnographer. But I would like to claim him as a journalist too, and one who… has set a new standard for reporting on poverty.”—Barbara Ehrenreich, author on Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America
“After reading Evicted, you’ll realize you cannot have a serious conversation about poverty without talking about housing. You will also have the mad urge to press it into the hands of every elected official you meet. The book is that good, and it’s that unignorable. Nothing else this year came close.”— The New York Times
“Evicted…[is a] wrenching and revelatory investigation of urban poverty in the United States.”— The Nation
“Desmond…delivers a gripping, novelistic narrative…This stunning, remarkable book—a scholar’s 21st-century How the Other Half Lives—demands a wide audience.”— Kirkus (starred review)
“Matthew Desmond tells stories of people at their most vulnerable.”— Jesmyn Ward, author of Men We Reaped and Salvage the Bones
“Thank you, Matthew Desmond. Thank you for writing about destitution in America with astonishing specificity yet without voyeurism or judgment. Thank you for showing it is possible to compose spare, beautiful prose about a complicated policy problem. Thank you for giving flesh and life to our squabbles over inequality, so easily consigned to quintiles and zero-sum percentages.”— Washington Post
“Evicted is astonishing—a masterpiece of writing and research that fills a tremendous gap in our understanding of poverty. Taking us into some of America’s poorest neighborhoods, Desmond illustrates how eviction leads to a cascade of events, often triggered by something as simple as a child throwing a snowball at a car, that can trap families in a cycle of poverty for years. Beautiful, harrowing, and deeply human, Evicted is a must read for anyone who cares about social justice in this country. I loved it.”—Rebecca Skloot
Even in the most desolate areas of American cities, evictions used to be rare. But today, most poor renting families are spending more than half of their income on housing, and eviction has become ordinary, especially for single mothers. In vivid, intimate prose, Desmond provides a ground-level view of one of the most urgent issues facing America today. As we see families forced into shelters, squalid apartments, or more dangerous neighborhoods, we bear witness to the human cost of America’s vast inequality—and to people’s determination and intelligence in the face of hardship. As Jacob Blumgart of Slate writes, “Desmond’s book manages to be a deeply moral work, a successful nonfiction narrative, and a sweeping academic survey—all while bringing new research to his academic field and to the public’s attention.”
Desmond is John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences and co-director of the Justice and Poverty Project at Harvard University. His primary teaching and research interests include urban sociology, poverty, race and ethnicity, organizations and work, social theory, and ethnography. In 2015, Desmond was awarded his MacArthur genius grant for “revealing the impact of eviction on the lives of the urban poor and its role in perpetuating racial and economic inequality.”
A former member of the Harvard Society of Fellows, Desmond is also the author of the award-winning book On the Fireline, the coauthor of two books on race, and the editor of a collection of studies on severe deprivation in America. He has written essays on educational inequality, dangerous work, political ideology, race and social theory, and the inner-city housing market. The principal investigator of the Milwaukee Area Renters Study, an original survey of tenants in Milwaukee’s low-income private housing sector, Desmond has been supported by the Ford, Russell Sage, and National Science Foundations. His writing has appeared in The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune.
About The Taft Lecture Series
Funded by The Charles P. and Eleanor Taft Memorial Fund
Charles P. Taft’s community leadership integrated sacred and civic values. As mayor of Cincinnati, city council member, 40-year warden of Christ Church, co-founder of the World Council of Churches, and son of President William Howard Taft, he devoted his life to public service. To honor and keep alive the memory of Charlie Taft and of his loving and community-serving wife Eleanor, the vestry of Chris Church Cathedral has chosen to use a gift from the Taft family for an annual event or activity which Charlie and Eleanor Taft would have supported.