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Annual lecture to bring housing, poverty expert to ASU

Alum Matthew Desmond will discuss new book at John P. Frank Memorial Lecture


portrait of Matthew Desmond

ASU justice studies alumnus and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Matthew Desmond will speak about his latest work on poverty at the ASU John P. Frank Memorial Lecture on March 25. Courtesy photo

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March 07, 2024

Arizona State University’s School of Social Transformation will welcome housing and poverty expert Matthew Desmond back to his alma mater this month for the 25th annual John P. Frank Memorial Lecture.

Desmond, an ASU justice studies alumnus, will discuss his new book “Poverty, by America” at 6 p.m. Monday, March 25, at the Herberger Theater Center in downtown Phoenix.

“John P. Frank’s legacy of leveraging law as a tool to pursue justice — and changing the law when it perpetuates injustice — is central to the research and teaching that our faculty engage in within justice and social inquiry and across the School of Social Transformation,” said Madelaine Adelman, professor and director of the John P. Frank Memorial Lecture series. “This year, we focus our attention on the pernicious role that policy plays in producing and reproducing poverty, and discuss how we can fight back collectively by using policy to address such structural inequalities.”

25th annual John P. Frank Memorial Lecture with Matthew Desmond

When: 6 p.m. Monday, March 25

Where: Herberger Theater Center, 222 E. Monroe St., Phoenix; and via livestream.

Admission: Free and open to the public. Register here.

Desmond is the Maurice P. During Professor of Sociology at Princeton University, where he is the founder and principal investigator of the Eviction Lab. His award-winning book, "Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City" (2016), won the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Critics Circle Award, Carnegie Medal and PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction. "Evicted" combines years of embedded fieldwork with painstakingly gathered data and transforms our understanding of inequity and economic exploitation in America.

He is a former member of the Harvard Society of Fellows, and his research focuses on poverty, city life, housing insecurity, public policy, racial inequality and ethnography in America. During his visit to Phoenix, he will meet with city leaders to share insights on creating housing and economic justice.

“The city of Phoenix is excited to partner with ASU to bring Matthew Desmond to Phoenix in March. His work on poverty and housing instability highlights the challenges faced by our residents. His engagement will provide more understanding of these complex issues and influence policymaking and service delivery, inspiring staff to continue to make meaningful connections within our community,” said Jeff Barton, Phoenix city manager.

The John P. Frank Memorial Lecture series, which focuses on pressing justice issues of our time, honors John P. Frank's lifelong commitment to justice, scholarship and law. Frank (1917–2002) is recognized as part of the team that argued the landmark Miranda v. Arizona case before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1966. The case established the Miranda warning that requires police to inform suspects of their right to legal counsel.

In addition to the city of Phoenix, the School of Social Transformation also partnered with the Center for Work and Democracy, The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions at ASU to bring awareness to the 25th annual John P. Frank Memorial Lecture.

“We are proud to continue to support the School of Social Transformation’s John P. Frank Memorial Lecture series to help educate the next generation of socially engaged and globally aware citizens, and I look forward to hearing from Professor Matthew Desmond, who is also an example to our students of what you can achieve with a degree in justice studies,” said Patrick Kenney, dean of The College and executive vice provost of ASU.

The public event will be held March 25 at the Herberger Theater Center in downtown Phoenix. Venue doors will open at 5:30 p.m., and the event will be live-streamed on ASU Live.

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