From February 26th to March 1st 2015, the Eastern Sociological Society helds a fourday annual conference under the main theme “Crossing Borders” at the Millenium hotel Convention Center of New York, USA. The special focus of the 2015 meeting invited discussion of the social construction and social impacts of borders dividing individuals, groups, and nations. It challenges to explore how borders are created, how they can change, and the complex processes shaping whether, and how, they can be crossed – and with what consequences. This report is intended to provide a summary of what I have presented and how the grant helped to grow my experience as a young scholar and a sociologist.
Attending this conference in New York strengthened the academic connection related to my Ph.D. field research performed in Brooklyn (NYC) in 2011-2012. This paper session, in fact, gave me the opportunity to discuss some preliminary findings of my work that relates to gentrification, class, diversity in global cities. I have in fact presented a longitudinal study on the process of Brooklyn’s Park Slope super-gentrification which investigates the influences of housing-abandonment and resettlement processes on the types of institutions that emerged to represent different class interests. The panel, organized by Jackelyn Hwang (Harvard University) was aimed to discuss gentrification and public space, with cases from Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn and even Cartagena (Colombia). Around 30 participants in the audience attended the presentation, helping to make it a stimulating and enjoyable debate. Such debate really helped me a lot to reframe my conceptualization of spatial inequality before sending my paper for journal publication, and promoted my competences for further job opportunities. More importantly, all of these feedback from participants interested in the topic gave me crucial insights not only on my research questions but also on American cities that are similar but fundamentally different those in Europe.
The conference gave me also the opportunity to attend other two major meetings: a) the presidential session on “Loft Living: Twenty-five Years Later” organized by Nancy Foner, Hunter College and CUNY Graduate Center, with the enlightening discussion of Vera Zolberg, New School for Social Research; Harvey Moloch, New York University; and Japonica Brown-Saracino, Boston University of the celebrated Sharon Zukin’s masterpiece Loft Living and b) the “Spotlight on New York City: Gentrification in the City of Extremes”, an interesting discussion of gentrification in New York City presided by John Mollenkopf, City University of New York – Graduate Center, with Lance Freeman, Columbia University, discussing about “White Entry into Black Neighborhoods: Gentrification or Advent of an Integrationist Era?”
At the end of my presentation, I also had the opportunity to explain that my travel from Italy to USA has been totally supported by the RSA.