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SSI Brown Bag: "Disorder at the Border: The Dynamics of Diversity and Segregation in Early-Twentieth Century Los Angeles"
Presented by:
• Philip Ethington, Ph.D., USC Van Hunnick History Department
and the Spatial Sciences Institute
• Ruben Pallol, Ph.D., University Complutense of Madrid, History
and Geography

Los Angeles is known for both high levels of segregation and diversity. This is an investigation of the historical and spatial dynamics between segregation and diversity in the global migrations of the early twentieth century. We conducted an intensive individual-level geographic analysis of the 1930 US Census at multiple scales, with a focus on three case studies: “Eastside,” Watts, and Maywood, all predominantly working-class neighborhoods in the 1920s and 30s, each with different structural and race-ethnic characteristics.

Using a global approach, we find reaffirming the overall strength of racial segregation. However, examining the borders of these segregated spaces, we find fractal patterns of diversity. Zooming in even closer, examining single streets and households, we find evidence of defiance of the strictures of white supremacy, with sometimes extreme examples of multi-racial and multi-national communities.

Using a critical approach to the data classified by authorities, we hope to reveal diversity within homogeneity and show how the inhabitants of highly diverse central cities defied and resisted the racist project of segregation.

Feb 28, 2023 12:30 PM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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