City-Cité Examines Discrimination and Inequity in the Modern Metropolis

Scholars from the University of Chicago’s Urban Network and their colleagues from France and other U.S. institutions will take a comparative look at arts, activity, race, and policy in two contrasting nations. 

Titled “City/Cité: A Transatlantic Exchange,” the event will meet Tuesday, Nov. 3 at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Wednesday, Nov. 4, at the University of Chicago. The event, sponsored by Cultural Services of the French Embassy, UChicago, and UIC, is free and open to the public. To register, visit 

The Nov. 4 program will take place in the lobby of UChicago’s School of Social Service Administration, 969 E. 60th Street. Participants include five professors affiliated with the UChicago Urban Network, an intellectual hub for faculty, students, policymakers, and others interested in the university’s urban research.

Delivering the day’s keynote address starting at 8:45 a.m. will be Mary Pattillo, professor of sociology at Northwestern University, who will discuss “The Future of Black Metropolis.”

The morning panel discussion will focus on “Police-Community Relations in Transatlantic Perspective. The longstanding tense relations between policy and disadvantaged communities has only recently emerged as a critical social problem receiving broad attention in the news media and among policymakers in the United States and France. The panel will draw upon the perspectives of academics, advocates, policymakers, and practitioners from the U.S. and France.

The first panel discussion of the afternoon will be devoted to “Arts & Culture: Art and Community Engagement/Youth Programs in the Arts.” This session will explore programs and projects that engage urban youth—especially teenagers, in arts and cultural activities that build skills in creative expression, critical thinking, and empowerment. These include an urban arts community center that teaches entrepreneurship through the arts, and a theater program that engages diverse teens in producing high-quality performances based on their real-life experiences.

The day’s last panel discussion will cover “Racial Discrimination and Anti-Discrimination in the United States and France.” This panel will explore how discrimination manifests itself across different segments of minority communities, the changing governmental roles both in reinforcing and undermining regimes of racial inequality in both countries, and the diverse strategies that have developed in the 21st century to combat new and old forms of racial domination.