Ours to Lose: When Squatters Become Homeowners

The Lower East Side in the 1980s and ’90s was home to a revolutionary, radical squatting movement that blended urban homesteading and European-style squatting in a way never before seen in the United States. Amy Starecheski’s book Ours to Lose tells the story of that movement through oral histories and personal experiences. This community of diverse Lower East Side squatters occupied abandoned city-owned buildings in the 1980s, fought to keep them for decades, and eventually undertook a long, complicated process to convert their illegal occupancy into legal cooperative ownership. Some of these buildings, built in the 1890s, were rescued from disrepair and demolition and are now an important part of the architectural and cultural fabric of the community. In this multimedia event, Starecheski uses oral histories to explore the complicated relationships involved in homesteading and squatting on the Lower East Side and throughout American history. After the talk, purchase Ours to Lose and have your copy signed by the author.

Amy Starecheski is co-director of the Oral History Master of Arts program at Columbia University. She received a PhD in cultural anthropology from the CUNY Graduate Center, where she was a Public Humanities Fellow. In 2016 she was awarded the “Will the Next Margaret Mead Please Stand Up?” Prize for public anthropological writing.

Thursday, February 2, 2017
6:30 pm

Loisaida Center, Inc., 710 East 9th Street