An exploration of the physical frontiers that define race in America


Note: the resources presented here are peer-reviewed, academic sources that helped guide the overall direction and content of this website. The sources for particular pages or blog posts will be contained within the pages/posts themselves. They will be in either hyperlink or parenthetical citation form within the body of the text.


Calmore, John O. “Racialized Space and the Culture of Segregation:” Hewing a Stone of Hope from a Mountain of Despair”.” University of Pennsylvania Law Review 143.5 (1995): 1233-1273.

This article addresses the historical foundation of the ‘racialization of space’, offering a brief history of the pre-civil-rights era variant of imposed segregation and discussing its legacy in the post-civil-rights era. The paper then presents grass-roots level programs and self-prescribed efforts among members of segmented communities as the key to disbanding spatially segregated communities. It presents this argument with a particular focus on African-American communities.

Cheng, Wendy Hsin. Episodes in the Life of a Place: Regional Racial Formation in Los Angeles’s San Gabriel Valley. Diss. University of Southern California, 2009.

This article explores the development of four cities in the West San Gabriel Valley of Southern California, which became known as ‘suburban Chinatown’ during the 80s and 90s. The paper explores how this area was shaped by, and ultimately produced, racialized relationships to property and space.

Ciotti, Paul. Money and school performance: Lessons from the Kansas City desegregation experiment. Cato Institute, 1998.

This article chronicles Kansas City’s attempt to desegregate school districts and improve the performance of minority students using a ‘cost-is-no-object’ plan in 1985. Though the article’s focus differs from that of my topic, it offers some unique insights on physical segregation in Kansas City, and subsequent efforts to reach a level of integration.

Dyble, Louise Nelson. “Revolt Against Sprawl Transportation and the Origins of the Marin County Growth-Control Regime.” Journal of Urban History 34.1 (2007): 38-66.

This article uses a popular protest in Marin County to stop highway development in 1966 as a launching point for discussion on Marin’s unique propensity for preserving farmland, agriculture, and permanent open space. This article provides useful background on Marin’s overall culture and lends a historical basis to some of the county’s laws and ordinances.

Forsyth, Ann, and Katherine Crewe. “A typology of comprehensive designed communities since the Second World War.” Landscape Journal 28.1 (2009): 56-78.

This article discusses and classifies various designed communities/districts on the basis of their social, ecological, economic, political, and aesthetic character. This paper provides useful insight on the types of designed/comprehensive communities that have been creates (primarily since WWII), while also offering an intellectual framework for evaluating designed communities.

Harris, Dianne. “Race, space, and the destabilization of practice.” Landscape Journal 26.1 (2007): 1-9.

This article presents an academic overview to the notions of the built form of the environment and the construction of race/minoritization in the United States. It identifies several key terms in this field, points to central themes of research in this area, and suggests areas of further research for scholars to pursue.

Hårsman, Björn, and John M. Quigley. “The spatial segregation of ethnic and demographic groups: comparative evidence from Stockholm and San Francisco.” Journal of Urban Economics 37.1 (1995): 1-16.

This article presents a comparison between the San Francisco Bay Area and Stockholm, Sweden on the basis of the spatial segregation of ethnic and demographic groups. In its analysis, the paper finds that spatial segregation is typically unrelated to the often-cited ‘economic factors’ that we assume to underlie such segregation.

Lipsitz, George. American Studies in a Moment of Danger. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2001. Print.

This book examines the changing American landscape in the age of globalization, and how forces of globalization affect our ‘national knowledge’. The book seeks to determine how the globalization of culture and commerce in particular will impact the fields of American and Ethnic studies.

Lipsitz, George. How Racism Takes Place. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2011. Print.

This book explores how racism continues to operate in the post-civil-rights era United States. Chapters from this book that are particularly useful key in on social relationships between various ethnic groups in the context of space. This book also sheds light on the types of societal changes that must be pursued to eliminate the role of race in “skewing opportunities and life chances”.

Lipsitz, George. The Possessive Investment in Whiteness. Revised and expanded. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2006. Print.

This book examines the idea that the advantages afforded by white privilege are embedded in various parts of American society, and that they exclude minority groups from ever attaining those advantages. The book’s chapters on economic restructuring and deindustrialization are particularly compelling in the context of race and space.

Lipsitz, George. “The Racialization of Space and the Spatialization of Race Theorizing the Hidden Architecture of Landscape.” Landscape Journal 26.1 (2007): 10-23.

This article, which inspired me to pursue my research topic, offers a comprehensive exploration of two interrelated concepts: the ‘racialization of space’ and the ‘spatialization of race’. One argues that our conception of space is indelibly marked by our perception of race – leading to inherent inequities for people of color. The other argues that non-normative communities create an environment that is predicated on a more communal notion, relatively, of spatiality.

Massey, Douglas S., and Eric Fong. “Segregation and neighborhood quality: Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians in the San Francisco metropolitan area.” Social Forces 69.1 (1990): 15-32.

This article explores the ability of three different ethnic groups, African-Americans, Latinos, and Asian-Americans, to develop unique spacial identities within the city of San Francisco. The article also examines the ability of each of these groups to leverage education and income to achieve desirable neighborhood outcomes.

Paperson, La. “The postcolonial ghetto: Seeing her shape and his hand.”Berkeley Review of Education 1.1 (2010).

This article examines post-colonial conceptions of race and identify within the context of the community of East Oakland. In particular, it examines behavior at a high school within the community, and uses that study to draw conclusions on the remnants of colonial thought in the post-colonial U.S.

Selmi, Michael. “Race in the City: The Triumph of Diversity and the Loss of Integration.” JL & Pol. 22 (2006): 49.

This article discusses the quality of urban school systems and patterns of residential segregation in U.S. cities from the 1990s to the 2000s. The paper argues that, while U.S. cities have undergone many changes over the period of time in question, the quality of urban school systems and instances of residential segregation (often on the basis of race) have remained prevalent.

Silva, Eduardo. Racism Without Racists: Color-blind racism and the persistence of racial inequality in the United States. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006. Print.

This book examines the notions of ‘color-blind’ racism and racial inequality by presenting typical story lines and actual testimonies that involve these concepts. The book seeks to explore the dynamics that underlie certain types of racial story lines.