Malo Hutson is an assistant professor in the department of city and regional planning at UC Berkeley.
Why do you teach?
I teach because of the incredible students here at Cal.
What are some ways students can get involved in the Oakland and Berkeley communities and experience East Bay culture?
The main way is through volunteering. Another opportunity is through the internships you take — think nonprofits, hospitals, etc. In order to get exposed to culture around here, go to museums and other centers in the city — there are various cultural events and centers outside of First Fridays. Ride your bikes, ride the bus, take BART. Students should go exploring here.
What are some of the research projects you and your students are involved in?
My work is the intersection of public/urban health and community development. I’ve been working in East Oakland and Richmond by working with city and county agencies, philanthropies (private sector) and nonprofits around issues to bring about political, social and economic change in underserved communities.
Through my graduate class, my community development studio course, we’ve been working with the nonprofit Youth UpRising that works with East Oakland youth to reduce violence, increase economic opportunity. In my broader research, I’m working on a book that’s looking at neighborhood change in NY, SF, Boston, and D.C. Documenting how people would like to stay in their neighborhoods as those neighborhoods change — think of what Spike Lee talked about in New York last week.
What do you think is the No. 1 urban studies/city planning issue right now that students should pay attention to?
The two big ones are climate change and economic inequality. Regarding the latter, when you address inequality, you’re able to address urban issues like education, housing, transportation. So much of our system is built around how much you make and where you live. It determines a lot.
Gabriel Milner is a visiting lecturer in the history department at UC Berkeley.
What is your primary objective when you walk into the classroom?
As an historian of the U.S., my primary objective when I walk into the classroom is to show that there isn’t one “American experience,” that ideas of citizenship and patriotism vary and can even be in conflict.
What is your favorite lecture to give?
It’s a tie between my lecture on the origins of civil rights, where I can discuss the debate between Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Du Bois, and my lecture on the art and popular culture of the New Deal.
Which do you prefer: research or teaching?
What book would you recommend students to read on the subject you focus on?
David Blight’s “Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory” is a clear-eyed look at how political figures, artists and intellectuals and everyday people forgot or denied the meaning of the Civil War to serve political or economic interests and how racism has been encoded in increasingly sophisticated ways into modern American society.
If you were not a professor, what would you be doing?
I’d be happy to work at a college radio station and play Can records all day.
Contact Noah Kulwin and Anya Schultz at [email protected]