BGSU News: Kinney book looks at Detroit through lens of popular culture

Bowling Green State University News

Kinney_Beautiful coverDetroit, once a mecca for those looking for a good job and a better life, is now seen by some as what Dr. Rebecca J. Kinney calls a “beautiful wasteland.” A wasteland because of the perception of its postindustrial devastation, and beautiful because of its potential to rise like a phoenix from its ashes to reclaim its place among the country’s great cities. But who will this gleaming new city be for?

Kinney’s book, “Beautiful Wasteland: The Rise of Detroit as America’s Postindustrial Frontier,” published this fall by University of Minnesota Press, concerns how the stories we tell of Detroit’s past, present and future reveal our ongoing investment in white privilege.

According to Kinney, a Bowling Green State University faculty member in the School of Cultural and Critical Studies who analyzes popular culture as a way to understand racial formation and urban space, this “new Detroit” is a highly racialized version that looks much like the gentrified neighborhoods of New York’s Brooklyn and Lower East Side and San Francisco’s Mission District: mainly white and increasingly upscale.

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