Based on research in Tulsa, Oklahoma, from 2014 to 2020, Violent Utopia assesses the processes of racial-geographic incorporation and exclusion to show how violent anti-Black social order qualifies Blackness in the United States. By analyzing the history of Black Tulsa across three conjunctures, the paper illustrates the intimacies of violence and Black freedom and progress. To do so, it examines the early efforts of post-emancipation freedom that began with Black settlement in Indian Territory, the Jim Crow violence of the 1921 race riot, and the lingering and structuring effects of violence over the following century.
Jovan Scott Lewis is assistant professor of geography at the University of California, Berkeley, where he co-leads the Economic Disparities research cluster. His research is concerned with the articulations of racialized poverty, examined through questions of racial capitalism, underdevelopment, and radical terms of repair. He is the author of Scammer’s Yard: The Crime of Black Repair in Jamaica and is currently working on a second monograph which traces the consequences of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre.
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