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The Ethics and Data of Mapping Displacement: On the Work of the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project

Tue, Dec 3, 2019    1pm

In this talk, Erin McElroy will focus upon how the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project (AEMP) uses, compiles, and theorizes eviction data. The AEMP formed in the height of the San Francisco Bay Area’s “Tech Boom 2.0.” During this time, entanglements of technocapitalism, and real estate speculation brushed up against ongoing histories of racial dispossession, inciting heightened eviction rates. The AEMP emerged to provide analytics, media, and documentation that could be used by local housing justice organizations and activists in their fights against gentrification. Prioritizing producing knowledge with rather that for those most impacted by gentrification, the project has since grown in region, method, and scope, now maintaining new chapters in New York City and Los Angeles. In this talk, Erin will discuss some of the challenges that the AEMP has experienced as it continues to grow, particularly during a moment in which practices of producing eviction data and maps have become more mainstream, sometimes becoming entangled in data colonial praxes. In this moment, how can we keep eviction research tethered to local struggles, reflective of on-the-ground analytics?

Erin McElroy earned their doctoral degree in Feminist Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz, with a dissertation project entitled Unbecoming Silicon Valley: Techno Imaginaries and Materialities in Postsocialist Romania. This project analyzes the politics of space, race, technology, and displacement in Romania and Silicon Valley, as well as modes of resistance and deviance. Erin is also cofounder of the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, a counter-mapping and digital storytelling collective that documents dispossession and resistance struggles upon gentrifying landscapes, focusing upon the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, and New York City. Recently, Erin cofounded the new Radical Housing Journal, a peer-reviewed journal bringing together scholar-activist housing justice work transnationally. Currently, Erin is a postdoctoral researcher at NYU’s AI Now, and is in the midst of launching a new project that investigates the artificial intelligence behind property technology, looking to the enfolding of data and property regimes.

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