Project

PhD, Geography and Urban Studies, Temple University

Program

ACLS Emerging Voices Fellowships

Department

Climate, Value, Technology Initiative

Work Affiliation

Harvard University

PhD Granting Institution

Temple University

Position Description

"The Urban-Agricultural City as a Historical Geography: A Case Study of Philadelphia"

This study examines the historical-geographic development of agriculture in Philadelphia in order to better understand the city’s contemporary urban agriculture movement. More specifically, the study provides historical context to the contemporary application of racial justice practices within urban farming initiatives in Philadelphia by uncovering and critically analyzing key aspects of the city’s history that have created agriculture-related injustice. Three methodological tools were used: archival historical analysis, secondary source historical analysis, and scholar-activist collaboration. The period of study centers around the settler-colonial period of Philadelphia’s history but spans from the era of Lenape territorial control to the consolidation of the modern city in 1854. Three historical-geographic antecedents to contemporary racial justice practices within urban agriculture were uncovered and examined through this research: the settler-colonial terra nullius myth, the patriarchalization of food and land systems, and the urban-rural plantation complex. The results of this study highlight the many layers of intersectional food and land injustice within which today’s iteration of agriculture in Philadelphia is embedded.