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The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is recognizing alumnus Matthew Desmond as Distinguished Alumnus, on April 7, 2016. Desmond graduated from ASU with two B.S. degrees (Communication and Justice Studies), in 2002. He graduated with Honors and completed his honors thesis under the direction of Professor Sarah Amira de la Garza from the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication, while also working with Professors John Johnson and David Altheide in the Department of Justice Studies. Desmond also received an M.S. (2004) and Ph.D. (2010) from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He was a Junior Fellow at the Society of Fellows at Harvard University (2010–2013), before joining the faculty of Harvard’s Department of Sociology and Committee on Degrees in Social Studies in 2012.
His early work in ethnography with these professors laid the groundwork for his future work as a social scientist and ethnographer revealing the impact of eviction on the lives of the urban poor. His work further examines the role evictions play in perpetuating racial and economic inequality. In his investigations of the low-income rental market and eviction in privately owned housing in Milwaukee, Desmond argues persuasively that eviction is a cause, rather than merely a symptom, of poverty. He will address these issues from his book, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, in a public address on April 7 at ASU, as well as sign books after his talk.
He was recently interviewed by Phoenix NPR station KJZZ for the show, “Here and Now,” on March 30, and his interview can be heard on the KJZZ site.
There will be two opportunities for students to meet with Professor Desmond. A few seats are still available at a lunch for undergraduate students on April 7 from 12:00-1:15 pm. Graduate students are invited to a discussion with him from 1:30-2:45pm. RSVPs are required. Both events are free, but space is limited—so students are encouraged to reserve their space as soon as possible for both either event.
The Hugh Downs School is grateful to CLAS, the Justice Studies Department, Barrett: The Honors College, and The Vice President for Educational Outreach and Student Affairs for the support that has made this celebration possible. More information on Professor Desmond, who received a MacArthur Genius Award in fall of 2015.