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Poverty, by America Roundtable: A Conversation with Matthew Desmond

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Matthew Desmond

In his new book the Pulitzer Prize–winning author Matthew Desmond reimagines the American debate on poverty, making an original and ambitious argument about why it persists here: because too many of us benefit from it.

We are thrilled to be collaborating with the Journal of American Studies again, to offer a virtual event with Dr Desmond, consisting of a presentation on Poverty, by America, followed by a JAS roundtable discussion with Associate Editors Nicole Gipson, Ahmed Honeini, and a few JAS contributors. There will also be an opportunity for audience questions!

About the book:

The United States, the richest country on earth, has more poverty than any other advanced democracy. Why? Why does this land of plenty allow one in every eight of its children to go without basic necessities, permit scores of its citizens to live and die on the streets, and authorize its corporations to pay poverty wages?

In this landmark book, acclaimed sociologist Matthew Desmond draws on history, research, and original reporting to show how affluent Americans knowingly and unknowingly keep poor people poor. 

Elegantly written and fiercely argued, this compassionate book gives us new ways of thinking about a morally urgent problem. It also helps us imagine solutions. Desmond builds a startlingly original and ambitious case for ending poverty. He calls on us all to become poverty abolitionists, engaged in a politics of collective belonging to usher in a new age of shared prosperity and, at last, true freedom.

About our author:

Matthew Desmond is the Maurice P. During Professor of Sociology at Princeton University and the founding director of the Eviction Lab. His last book, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award, among others. The recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, Desmond is also a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine.

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