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The Gentrification of the Mind: Witness to a Lost Imagination

by Sarah Schulman

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1461134,811 (4.1)1
In this gripping memoir of the AIDS years (1981-1996), Sarah Schulman recalls how much of the rebellious queer culture, cheap rents, and a vibrant downtown arts movement vanished almost overnight to be replaced by gay conservative spokespeople and mainstream consumerism. Schulman takes us back to her Lower East Side and brings it to life, filling these pages with vivid memories of her avant-garde queer friends and dramatically recreating the early years of the AIDS crisis as experienced by a political insider. Interweaving personal reminiscence with cogent analysis, Schulman details her experience as a witness to the loss of a generation's imagination and the consequences of that loss.… (more)

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This book is really vital and fascinating and forced me to reassess many of my assumptions about gentrification, it’s causes and manifestations. That said I also imagine if I met Schulman in person we might fight over many of her contentions in this book, not least her use of the word “gentrification” to encompass everything from the actual displacement of low income people, to the lack of mainstream interest in Kathy Acker, to the defanging of the feminist movement. I am not sure I think it is useful to theorize gentrification in this way — you risk diluting the meaning and losing sight of those most vulnerable to displacement.

I think it is a flawed book but also powerful and important and I am grateful to have grappled with it !! ( )
  EllenRebecca | Mar 21, 2020 |
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