Black Lives and Spatial Matters is a call to reconsider the epistemic violence that is committed when scholars, policymakers, and the general public continue to frame Black precarity as just another racial, cultural, or ethnic conflict that can be solved solely through legal, political, or economic means. Jodi Rios argues that the historical and material production of blackness-as-risk is foundational to the historical and material construction of our society and certainly foundational to the construction and experience of metropolitan space. She also considers how an ethics of lived blackness—living fully and visibly in the face of forces intended to dehumanize and erase—can create a powerful counter point to blackness-as-risk. Using a transdisciplinary methodology, Black Lives and Spatial Matters studies cultural, institutional, and spatial politics of race in North St. Louis County, Missouri, as a set of practices that are intimately connected to each other and to global histories of race and race-making. As such, the book adds important insight into the racialization of metropolitan space and people in the United States. The arguments presented in this book draw from fifteen years of engaged research in North St. Louis County and rely on multiple disciplinary perspectives and local knowledge in order to study relationships between interconnected practices and phenomena.
"In Black Lives and Spatial Matters, Jodi Rios intends to understand and acknowledge the scope of antiblackness while attending to the possibility that antiblackness has no scope, can’t be counted, and won’t be mapped as it howls and blows like the wind of a nonlocal abstraction. Then, the suburbs of St. Louis are everywhere. Then, Rios’s extraordinary work—in it’s careful and rigorous refusal of discipline—bears a general application in all its resonant specificities, which show not only what but also how black life survives."
“Black Lives and Spatial Matters is essential reading for scholars and students across disciplinary boundaries and research interests. Additionally, this monograph should be required for all elected officials and policy makers as this text is relevant to the lived experiences of residents of localized geographies whether these spaces are labeled urban, suburban, or terrain in between.”
—Aimee Meredith Cox
“Jodi Rios presents an empirically rich and theoretically astute analysis of the causes and consequences of the Ferguson uprising. This astoundingly original and generative book establishes a new standard of excellence for the study of race, place, and power.”
Cornell University Press, August 15, 2020