The Center for Urban Research and Education (CURE) will continue its spring season on Friday, April 14th, with a presentation called “Listening to the Voices of the Homeless in Public Policy Debates” by Dr. Joshua D. Philips, an instructor at Pennsylvania State University–Brandywine.   

A half-century after the “War on Poverty” of Lyndon Johnson, poverty rates remain unchanged. Scholars have advanced polarized theories about the causes of poverty, as politicians have debated how (or if) to fund welfare programs. Yet little research has been conducted where the poor are provided a platform to speak on their own behalf. While it is important to understand how economic systems affect the homeless, it is equally important to learn about the day-to-day realities faced by those who rely on public policies for survival. Over the course of 10 years, Dr. Phillips has worked with numerous homeless communities, including communities in Camden, NJ, central Michigan, and southern Illinois. Drawing on the author’s experience working in homeless communities, this research presents some of the stories of loss, abuse, addiction, and marginalization through interviews, observations, and ethnographic research.

Dr. Phillips’ scholarly interests are in rhetoric, narrative, and intercultural communication with specific focus on issues of homelessness, poverty, welfare, race, and sexual violence. His new book, Homeless: Narratives from the Streets, recounts stories of homelessness in an effort to improve public policy.  In 2010, he published his first book 1,800 Miles: Striving to End Sexual Violence, One Step at a Time. His recent publications include “Trial by Social Media: How Misleading Media and Ideological Protests led to Disastrous Results in the State of Florida v. George Zimmerman,” “LeBron James as Cybercolonized Spectacle: A Critical Race Reading of Whiteness in Sport,” “Dancing as Voice: The Rize of Krumping and Clowning as Black Vernacular Rhetoric,” “Black Women and Gender Violence: Lil’ Wayne’s ‘How to Love’ as Progressive Hip Hop,” and “Crystal Mangum as Hypervisble Object and Invisible Subject: Black Feminist Thought, Sexual Violence, and the Pedagogical Repercussions of The Duke Lacrosse Rape Case.”

All are welcome to this free event, which begins at 12:15 p.m. in the Armitage Hall Faculty Lounge.