Knowledge from the Margins Conference

Optional post-conference Green Tour of Lansing and Detroit on Thursday August 20, 2015

The Green Tour will return participants from the lofty heights of theory, and the guarded prescriptions of policy-relevance to the daily grit of work in social justice and sustainability. Having learned about the many cooperative, participatory and reflexive research projects being performed by scholars, activists and policy professionals to address structural inequities between dominant and marginalized peoples and institutions, conference participants will enjoy seeing other such projects in action. Policy scholar Robert Reich (2013) attributes the degradation of Detroit’s urban core, including its municipal services, to severe income inequality and the flight of the wealthy to surrounding suburbs. The loss of the tax-base (and along with it, streetlights and police officers) and the increase of abandoned buildings meant that crime could gain a stronger foothold (Reich 2013). People who remain within the bankrupt city are generally poor and commonly African-American. Despite the overwhelming problems, some activists remain hopeful. Through their eyes, we will gain insight into the localist, urban sustainability and environmental justice initiatives in Lansing and Detroit. These activists have created systems for producing their own knowledges, harnessed science through projects such as Data Driven Detroit and criticized science and technology that has been in the service of powerful interests. The tour will conclude with lunch at an employee-owned restaurant called “Colors” that serves locally sourced food in Detroit (Anon n.d.; Sands 2012) before returning participants to East Lansing.