Disturbing the Gentrified City: The Racial/Spatial Politics of Nuisance and Joy in Oakland


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This dissertation examines the routine regulation of music, dance, and nightlife in Oakland, California as arenas for the making of racialized dispositions and dispossessions. The city is one of the most rapidly growing and contentious sites of urban redevelopment in the United States. These struggles have centered on the use of nuisance control and policing to silence spaces of joy, such as nightclubs and festivals, in the city’s communities of color. In so doing, they have been read as the spillover of gentrification from San Francisco. Using two years of archival and ethnographic fieldwork, however, this research argues that the governance of nuisance and joy is not simply an effect of neoliberal economics, but rather a means of enacting raced, classed, and gendered norms of citizenship and forms of dispossession long central to liberal urban governance in racial capitalism.