Image Credit: Maya Sapienza


The Archive of Urban Futures (“the Archive”) is a collaborative project with Moms 4 Housing, generously supported by a grant from the Mellon Foundation’s Humanities in Place program. The Archive focuses on questions of history, value, the right to place, and memory and erasure in Oakland, California. The Archive will take the form of a database of material about Oakland and visions of and for its future over time, as well as related activities including community-based workshops, institutes, and art/exhibitions.

The Archive is an effort to anticipate possibility by assembling histories of Oakland that are not reducible to its already well-documented experiences of racialized inequality and dispossession, while at the same time we recognize the ways that racism is always and already a productive enterprise. Or, as Saidiya Hartman (2008) writes, “to imagine what cannot be verified…to reckon with the precarious lives which are visible only in the moment of their disappearance” (p. 12). Engaging historically displaced, dispossessed, and disenfranchised urban communities as interpreters and investigators disrupts what counts as knowledge and allows for an expansive reading of archival data into alternative historical narratives – surmising not only what happened in the past, but also what could have been.
Brandi T. Summers, Ph.D.
headshot images by Bethanie Hines
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