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Kate Wolf and Eric Newman speak with writer and historian Davarian L. Baldwin, the Paul E. Raether Distinguished Professor of American Studies and founding director of the Smart Cities Lab at Trinity College. His newest book is In The Shadow of the Ivory Tower: How Universities Are Plundering Our Cities, an exploration of the often uneasy relationship between universities and the cities they inhabit. The book draws on numerous examples, such as Yale, Columbia, NYU, the University of Chicago, and even Trinity College, to show the impact schools have on their surrounding neighborhoods. Often enough, these universities are drivers of inequality, displacement, and gentrification. In an era of post-industrialization, universities have replaced factories to become the largest employers in their cities, with tax-exempt status to boot, giving them an undue amount of power, while their focus remains on self-enrichment.

Also, Susan Bernofsky, author of Clairvoyant of the Small, a book length study of the the life and work of Robert Walser, recommends Kate Zambreno’s To Write as if Already Dead, which is itself a study of the work of author and artist Hervé Guibert, who died from AIDS in his early 30s.