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The Gentrification of the Mind by Sarah Schulman

The Gentrification of the Mind by Sarah Schulman


The Gentrification of the Mind  - Witness to a Lost Imagination 


In this gripping memoir of the AIDS years (1981–1996), Sarah Schulman recalls how much of the rebellious queer culture, cheap rents, and a vibrant downtown arts movement vanished almost overnight to be replaced by gay conservative spokespeople and mainstream consumerism. Schulman takes us back to her Lower East Side and brings it to life, filling these pages with vivid memories of her avant-garde queer friends and dramatically recreating the early years of the AIDS crisis as experienced by a political insider. Interweaving personal reminiscence with cogent analysis, Schulman details her experience as a witness to the loss of a generation’s imagination and the consequences of that loss.




“Through a focus on the pulse of the queer community (of the 80s), it touches upon the individual condition (of today).” — Velvetpark


“To her [Schulman’s] mind, the undigested, unacknowledged trauma of AIDS has brought about a kind of cultural gentrification, a return to conservatism and conformity evident in everything from the decline of small presses to the shift of focus in the gay rights movement towards marriage equality. . . . The memory of this lost moment of accountability drives Schulman’s final, stirring call for degentrification, her dream of a time in which people realize not only that it’s healthier to live in complex, dynamic, mixed communities than uniform ones but also that happiness that depends on privilege and oppression cannot by any civilized terms be described as happiness at all.” — New Statesman


“A galvanizing account of the transformation, both external and mental, in New York City life.” — Los Angeles Review of Books


“A beautifully written screed . . . Schulman shines when she taps her deep knowledge of the AIDS movement—she was a key founder of ACT Up—and the New York art scene to honor those artists who are gone and forgotten. Her rage at the developers who swooped in like vultures to snap up AIDS victims’ apartments is righteous, and her pain at how little a younger generation knows about AIDS is palpable.” — Now Magazine


“A heartbreaking memoir and a get-off-your-ass polemic in one very slim volume.” — Slate


“The essence of what Schulman calls gentrification is to pretend that privilege and difference do not exist and that any attempt to remember that they do is mere ‘political correctness’ rather than facing up to the reality to who does what to whom. To forget these things, is to deceive ourselves—and Schulman’s harsh, bitter prose is a useful way of waking ourselves up.” — Times Literary Supplement


"Sarah Schulman, as always, hits the nail on the head. I can't imagine a more insightful probe into gentrification and its inhumane consequences. Everyone needs to read this book." — Martin Duberman

“Sarah Schulman's The Gentrification of the Mind is a bulwark against the collective loss of memory. AIDS, gentrification, the struggle for gay rights, the class war that has driven entire communities of artists, immigrants, and outsiders from the neighborhoods they created—all these things have been erased by the official culture. Schulman's book will make you rage and weep, and then—just maybe—organize.” — Luc Sante

"Hard-headed, sensitive, and informed, this book will make the confused world of urban redevelopment and gentrification make notably more sense. Schulman has a mind as clear as a bell in evening. You'll be glad you read it. I was." — Samuel R. Delany

  • Details

    Imprint: University of California Press

    Publication Date: 2 September 2013

    ISBN: 9780520280069

    Pages: 192

    Format: Paperback

Notice to European Customers

All European Customers: You may be required to pay a local import tax on or before delivery for parcels entering the EU. Please check your local import rules for purchases from the UK.


Germany and Republic of Ireland: Due to a high return rate of parcels, we are sadly no longer shipping to Germany and the Republic of Ireland. 

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