April 26, 2017 - mh9868a
Reflection on Gentrification Presentation
This afternoon I attended a series of presentations about gentrification in DC. The first presentation was Joseph Marcus’s movie about the gentrification of the area of DC east of the Anacostia River. Historically, Anacostia has been a primarily black community. However, recently the city officials decided to build a massive bridge across the river to better connect East DC with the rest of the city. With this bridge the city officials also wanted to build a recreational building with a surrounding park and aquatics center. As great as this plan may sound, these new attributes will attract a slew of white people to the area. Thus, much to the outrage of the current life-long residents of the area, the gentrification process of whites taking over Anacostia will begin. This movie was very interesting because it highlighted a lot of the ideas we learned in class. For example, the Marcus’s movie talked about the rhetoric of Anacostia now and how gentrification could change that rhetoric. Overall, his insights into the rhetoric of cities re-enforced what we learned in class about rhetoric from City of Rhetoric.
The second presentation was on the fallout of bluegrass music in DC. This one was particularly interesting because it was connected to AU’s radio station, WAMU. First, Kip Lornell, the presenter, explained the history of bluegrass music in DC. In particular, he discussed WAMU’s investment in playing bluegrass music. If I remember correctly, he said that WAMU played bluegrass music for around forty hours a week well into the 1990s. However, Lornell explained that the interest in bluegrass diminished when NPR took over WAMU. Apparently, listeners were more interested in hearing the news. Then, eventually by the early 2000s WAMU’s playing of bluegrass wore off entirely. Ultimately, the presenter blamed this shift in radio interest on gentrification. The population of listeners who enjoyed bluegrass music were pushed out by those who enjoyed news radio. Personally, I thought this was a very interesting example of gentrification because I certainly never would have thought of that term in such a way. Lornell’s presentation definitely helped me gain a broader perspective on gentrification. Also, the way he organized his argument was very helpful for me because it gave me a great example of a well organized argument.
The final presentation, given by Lindsay Zoladz, also gave a musical application to gentrification. Zoladz argued that punk music was raised in DC, but eventually was pushed out of the city and into suburbs like Arlington. First, she provided background on the punk music movement in DC. Then, she explained how the punk scene moved to the suburbs because new waves of music in DC took over punk’s popularity which forced the punk scene to the suburbs. Overall, Zoladz’s application of gentrification was rather interesting and further enhanced my understanding of the topic.
Finally, I found the part of the event I went to very helpful and relevant to the topics we learned in class. I am very glad I went because I really think the event deepened my understanding of the complexity of gentrification.