I’m Claire Cahen (she/ her/ hers), an Assistant Professor of Urban Affairs and Planning at Virginia Tech. My research interests center on austerity, urban disinvestment, and environmental degradation; public sector labor movement decline and revitalization, and the articulation of race and class in public institutions such as housing and schools. I am currently extending work from my dissertation, which I defended in April 2022, and which examined how parents, students, and teachers negotiated cuts to public education in Newark. More broadly, it asked: in the post-recession conjuncture, how was austerity normalized and how was it contested?
I came to this research question after pursuing a number of related scholarly and professional endeavors. These include serving as: a research associate in the Housing Environments Research Group, a Teaching and Learning Center Fellow at CUNY, the largest urban public higher education system in the country, and working as a member of a number of labor organizations and social justice union caucuses in New Jersey and New York.
I have taught interdisciplinary courses in urban planning, geography, and environmental studies, including an introductory urban studies course at City College (CUNY), a graduate seminar in research methods, and another graduate seminar on race, place, and inequality. I am also affiliated with The Racial Imaginary Institute, where I have been participating in a seminar “on nationalism and the fragility and possibility of ‘we'”. I was also a Gittell Graduate Student Fellow, and a recipient of the Urban Affairs Association’s 2019 Travel Scholarship (UAA).
Reach out at ccahen at vt.edu.