Aoki Center/HistoryDepartment Collaboration - The Free People of Color Lecture Series: Chloe Thurston "Race, Economic Discrimination, and the Politics Homeownership Expansion"

Aoki Center/HistoryDepartment Collaboration - The Free People of Color Lecture Series: Chloe Thurston, Assistant Professor of Political Science; Faculty Fellow, Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern "Race, Economic Discrimination, and the Politics Homeownership Expansion" A marker of social and economic inclusion, Americans have long been encouraged to view homeownership as “privately owned and privately earned,” neglecting the substantial role of federal policy interventions that have enabled citizens to obtain mortgages on affordable terms. This talk, based on a recently published book, examines how civil rights advocates came to recognize and then contest the role of the state in constraining Black Americans’ freedom to fully participate in the housing market on equal terms as white Americans during two periods: first, in the aftermath of the creation of the Federal Housing Administration, and second, in the 1960s as the push for inclusion into homeownership traveled down the income scale. By making legible the role of the government (rather than an unencumbered free market) in shaping the contours of the housing market, civil rights actors challenged the economic and political basis of their constituents’ exclusion. Chloe Thurston is assistant professor of political science and faculty fellow at the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University. Her work focuses on American political development, political economy, and the politics of public policy, with a particular interest in how politics shapes ascriptive market inequality and is currently completing a book (joint with Emily Zackin) that examines the rise and retrenchment of American debt relief. Her work has been published in the Journal of Public Policy, Perspectives on Politics, and Studies in American Political Development, among other venues, and her 2018 book At the Boundaries of Homeownership was the recipient of the APSA Politics and History Section’s J. David Greenstone Award. In 2019-2020 she was a member of the School of Social Sciences at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. The Free People of Color Lecture Series is hosted by the Aoki Center at King Hall and the UC Davis Department of History to explore the rights of people of color in the United States following the Civil War and inquire how that history continues to shape our thinking today. The Series will bring leading scholars from around the country to answer such questions as: What does freedom mean in the absence of chattel slavery? Which rights adhere to all free people, and which rights functioned more as privileges belonging to a narrow few? How did the establishment of birthright national citizenship transform the legal rights both of citizens and of so-called aliens? These questions were sharply contested before, during, and after the Civil War, in the battles over Chinese and Irish immigration on both Atlantic and Pacific coasts, in struggles over Native American sovereignty and belonging, in debates over the rights of married and single women, in laws over apprenticeship for minors, in statutes that segregated races by place and privileges and rights, and in the reform of prisons and jails across the country. This UC Davis Humanities Institute Transcollege Research Cluster will provide opportunities for students and faculty in law and history to collaborate on scholarship and to exchange ideas that will enrich their work.