July 1, 2016

City Steward: Joseph Richard DeLeon



Research Cluster | Place-Making

Department | Screen Arts and Cultures

Subfields | digital media studies, documentary studies

Honors & Affiliations | Rackham Merit Fellow, Digital Studies Workshop co-coordinator

Origin Cities | Lansing, Michigan; Leslie, Michigan

Research Key Words | built environment; media/art activism; documentary film; underground press


Research Statement | 

I research the histories and cultures of media activism in the post-industrial city, focusing primarily on Detroit since the 1960s. I am motivated to address historically the problematic depiction of Detroit’s blight that has emerged within the photographic genre of “ruin porn.” I engage with the effects of capitalism on the built environment of Detroit and local responses to urban blight across a range of media texts and platforms. I seek to answer questions concerning global capitalism’s effects on cities, ecologies, and communities of color in the United States.

Steward Statement | 

I am interested in the Detroit City Study project in order to foster public-facing scholarship across disciplines at the University of Michigan and among communities in Detroit. Detroit harbors untold histories that can contribute to increased awareness of the Midwest’s role in discussions on underground film, smart cities, and the link between Detroit and national narratives of decline and resurgence.