Uncovering the Legacy of Poverty in America

In 2019, researchers began conducting immersive interviews in Appalachia, Texas, and seven southern states in an attempt to determine the causes of “place-based disadvantage.” Immersing themselves in these communities, pouring over centuries of local history, they traced the legacies of the deepest poverty in America—including inequalities shaping people’s health, livelihoods, and upward social mobility for families.

“In place after place,” they write, “we discovered astonishing stories about the industries that fueled the rise of our nation, the workers who sustained them, and the histories of human suffering they wrought.”

Kathryn Edin, William Church Osborn Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton University, and Timothy Nelson, lecturer in the Department of Sociology at Princeton, will present findings featured in their new book, The Injustice of Place: Uncovering the Legacy of Poverty in America.

Edin, one of the nation’s leading poverty researchers, has authored eight books and some 60 journal articles. Her book, $2 a Day: The Art of Living on Virtually Nothing in America, was met with wide critical acclaim and was included in The New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2015, cited as “essential reporting about the rise in destitute families.”

She is PI of the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, a trustee of the Russell Sage Foundation, was a founding member of the MacArthur Foundation-funded Network on Housing and Families with Young Children, and was a past member of the MacArthur Network on the Family and the Economy. In 2014, she was elected to both the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2019.

Nelson is the author of numerous articles on low-income fathers and is the co-author, with Edin, of the book, Doing the Best I Can: Fatherhood in the Inner City.

This talk will also feature Liv Mann, team ethnographer in Kentucky for the project. She is a fifth-year Ph.D. student in sociology and social policy at Princeton University. Her research focuses on violence and the reproduction of inequality.

This lecture is made possible through an endowment from the Arthur Sulzberger Family. Please join us for a reception immediately following the talk.

Click here for directions to the Sanford School. Visitor parking is available at the Science Drive visitor’s lot, a short walk from the Sanford School. The rate is $2 per hour.