Bridget Kelly is a third year PhD student of International Urban History who researches Black suburbanization in postbellum American cities. In her dissertation, Bridget conducts a comparative study of three suburban neighborhoods located in Tennessee, Missouri, and Georgia, built for Black American settlement in the final decade of the nineteenth century. By comparing the evolution, experiences, and different outcomes of Orange Mound, Meacham Park, and Johnsontown, she hopes to uncover the brutal reality of American liberalism, or what she calls the “materiality of belonging,” a condition that requires the ownership, possession, and later relinquishment of property in exchange for a semblance of political membership, an experience all too common with Black neighborhoods in American cities.
Bridget’s first article, “The Materiality of Belonging: Black Property Claims During the Civil War” was awarded a Publication Accelerator Grant from the Institute of Humane Studies and is forthcoming. Bridget is also working on a chapter about the undemocratic use of TIF funds to “redevelop” Black neighborhoods. The chapter will appear in a volume titled, “Applying Public Choice Theory to Public Policy,” published by Rowman and Littlefield.
Bridget’s broader intellectual interests include urbanization, American Indian studies, and race and gender in the city.