Grace’s work explores the meaning of place and community amongst Charismatic and other devout Catholic communities in the United States, primarily in southeastern Michigan and southwestern Florida. She is interested in how these communities and spaces are dreamed, constructed, and lived through placemaking, economic and legal systems, and imaginaries of nostalgic and utopic space. Her work focuses on the history of Catholic intentional community since the Charismatic Renewal Movement of the 1970s into the present with the building of a privately owned town centered around a Catholic University and promoting Catholic values and lifestyle. She is interested in what it means to be a moral citizen as an individual that co-interacts with these privatized spaces and the legal system at large and the processes of developing social organization and infrastructure to manifest vision into material space.
This summer I began research that is part of a larger project that seeks to explore the ongoing relationship between protest and “conventional” political participation in Black politics. The broader project explores our reference point for arguing that electoral politics is conventional politics and asserts that for Black people, protest is conventional politics. American studies funding provided me with the opportunity to spend a month in Chicago working with the Black Youth Project to field several surveys of political participation with an oversampling of Black and Latino youth. While in Chicago, I conducted interviews with activists and organizers at Black Youth Project100 and continued interviews when I returned to New York City. Over the course of the summer, I was able to interview activists from Chicago, New York City and Miami. To supplement my interview findings, I also use the micro-blogging platform Twitter to analyze the ways that organizations involved in the Movement for Black Lives policy table discuss electoral politics through the online advocacy collective of Black Twitter. In the first stage, I hand coded a random sample of 1,129 tweets from the Twitter accounts of the Black Lives Matter Movement, Dream Defenders, Black Youth Project 100, Color of Change and Million Hoodies. I will present my preliminary findings at the Ford Foundation Conference on September 23, 2016. In future research for this project, I will continue to explore aspects that differentiate the Black Lives Matter Movement from past Black Liberation movements and how this movement and political moment is activating the collective consciousness of young Black people.