Changing the Narrative: Humanities Approaches to Houselessness: A Roundtable



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In this roundtable, participants discuss how the humanities can help us engage with questions related to houselessness, for example by learning about the historical context of current situations, using storytelling to bring awareness of why individuals experience homelessness, and using imagination to develop solutions.

Biographical Information

Maude Hines is Associate Professor of English at PSU, and Affiliate Faculty in Black Studies and Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies. She is a founding member of the Homelessness Research & Action Collaborative, where she heads up the strand devoted to "Changing Narratives, Creating Action."

Kanani Cortez is the editorial producer at Street Roots, a weekly street newspaper. At Street Roots, she designs the newspaper, manages digital content and other fun things. Kanani formerly worked on OPB's talk show "Think Out Loud" and enjoys learning more about Portland and her community through journalism and storytelling.

Dr. Kacy McKinney is a faculty member in the Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning and Affiliated Faculty in Comics Studies. She is a feminist critical geographer, and a comic artist and illustrator. She served on the Board of Directors of Sisters of the Road - a non-profit organization working to create systemic change to end poverty and homelessness - from 2018 to 2021. Her current research Changing the Narrative uses focuses on student experiences of homelessness and housing instability through comics.

Todd Ferry is a Senior Research Associate and Faculty Fellow at the Center for Public Interest Design (CPID) within the Portland State University School of Architecture. His work investigates how alternative architecture typologies can support traditionally underserved communities through radically participatory processes, and his primary focus areas include Housing and Homelessness, Mobile Placemaking/Mobile Urbanism, and Innovative Approaches to Sustainable Design. Todd is a registered architect and a co-founder of PSU’s Homelessness Research and Action Collaborative (HRAC) where he leads the center’s alternative shelter initiatives.

Dr. Marisa Zapata is an Associate Professor of Land-Use Planning at Portland State University and Director of PSU's Homelessness Research & Action Collaborative. As an educator, scholar, and planner, Dr. Zapata is committed to achieving spatially - based social justice by preparing planners to act in the face of the uncertain and inequitable futures we face. She believes ho we use land reflects our social and cultural values.


Homeless persons -- United States, Social justice -- Portland (Or.), Homelessness -- Portland (Or.), Literature, History, Social change, Urban poor -- Housing -- United States

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Changing the Narrative: Humanities Approaches to Houselessness: A Roundtable