Archaeologies of Disinvestment and Displacement: Documenting Detroit’s Foreclosure Crisis

Author(s): Kaeleigh Herstad

Year: 2018


The City of Detroit boasts "the largest and most transparent" demolition program in the US, having demolished approximately 12,000 structures in under 3 years. While the city is best known for its decaying industrial sites, the majority of Detroit’s vacant structures are residential: recently occupied homes, schools, churches, and businesses.This presentation focuses on the production and destruction of these more ordinary ‘ruins,’ examining the political and historical processes that create postindustrial neighborhood blight and the ‘culture of clearance’ (Ammon 2016) that drives its fast-paced removal. I draw on ethnographic and archaeological research with community groups and residents who are facing or who have faced foreclosure and/or eviction to discuss how contemporary archaeologists can document postindustrial landscapes of displacement and contribute to ongoing local discussions about the legacies of racism and inequality that shape Detroit’s present-day redevelopment. 

Cite this Record

Archaeologies of Disinvestment and Displacement: Documenting Detroit’s Foreclosure Crisis. Kaeleigh Herstad. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, New Orleans, Louisiana. 2018 ( tDAR id: 441665)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 839