Teresa Irene Gonzales, "Building a Better Chicago: Race and Community Resistance to Urban Redevelopment" (NYU Press, 2021)

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Despite promises from politicians, nonprofits, and government agencies, Chicago's most disadvantaged neighborhoods remain plagued by poverty, failing schools, and gang activity. In Building a Better Chicago: Race and Community Resistance to Urban Redevelopment, Dr. Teresa Irene Gonzales shows us how, and why, these promises have gone unfulfilled, revealing tensions between neighborhood residents and the institutions that claim to represent them.

Focusing on Little Village, the largest Mexican immigrant community in the Midwest, and Greater Englewood, a predominantly Black neighborhood, Gonzales gives us an on-the-ground look at Chicago’s inner city. She shows us how philanthropists, nonprofits, and government agencies struggle for power and control—often against the interests of residents themselves—with the result of further marginalizing the communities of color they seek to help. But Gonzales also shows how these communities have advocated for themselves and demanded accountability from the politicians and agencies in their midst. Building a Better Chicago explores the many high-stakes battles taking place on the streets of Chicago, illuminating a more promising pathway to empowering communities of color in the twenty-first century.

Michael O. Johnston, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at William Penn University. His most recent research, “The Queen and Her Royal Court: A Content Analysis of Doing Gender at a Tulip Queen Pageant,” was published in Gender Issues Journal. He researches culture, social identity, placemaking, and media representations of social life at festivals and celebrations. He is currently working on a book titled Tug Cities: Community Media Representations of Place and Identity at a Tug of War Festival. This book is about the media representations of place and identity at an annual interstate tug of war festival where cities in two states across the Mississippi River from each other come together one week during the summer as rivals to duke it out on the rope. You can learn more about Dr. Johnston on his website, Google Scholar, following him on Twitter @ProfessorJohnst, or email him at johnstonmo@wmpenn.edu.

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