This is the archive site for the pedagogical exercise OBAltimore.
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This project was initiated for a presentation at the 2009 American Anthropological Association Meetings in Philadelphia.
Abstract of the Presentation (Created March 2009):
The election of President Obama has created the conditions for a variety of engagements of race in the United States. Utilizing methods from both visual and urban anthropology, I will present ethnographic video vignettes that will show how race is being engaged by urban residents in Baltimore in the context of Obama’s election. I will focus on two particular places in Baltimore City, both racialized in particular ways, to explore the perspectives of urban residents on racial identity at this moment in US history. These two communities are both recognized and residents self identify as being part of a ‘white working class community’ and ‘an historic black community’ respectively. Both communities are also undergoing processes of gentrification and reactions to this phenomenon are often seen through a racial lens. While not reinforcing a dichotomous approach to race, research explores how reactions to questions by urban residents in these particular places share many commonalities once considered in the context of various socioeconomic conditions. These questions engage collaborators on the question of a ‘post-racial’ society as well as personal identity shifts or reinforced perspectives. A larger context considers the utilization of visual anthropology to provide an immediacy to considerations of racial identity for ethnographic research.