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James Fraser

Associate Professor, Community Development and Action, Community Research and Action, Department of Human and Organizational Development

Research: My areas of specialty include urban and environmental geography. In particular, his work focuses on urban restructuring and governance, housing and neighborhood redevelopment, human dimensions of environmental change, and social justice. His current book project, A People’s Guide to Nashville, is currently in preparation for the University of California Press, and his second book entitled Social Mix and the City: The plight for justice is in preparation for the University of Toronto Press. His newest effort, tentatively titled, The Making of the Precarious City, examines the ways in which urban development and city building create conditions of housing precarity for many groups and how coalitions have formed to demand housing as a human right. In addition to these projects I serve as a co-principle investigator on a National Science Foundation project examining climate change adaptation measures for rice paddy farmers in the dry zone of Sri Lanka, and has a multi-city study on gentrification in the U.S.

Teaching: I teach a range of courses on urban and environmental geography, as well as urban studies from an interdisciplinary perspective. Recent courses have included: Social Justice and the City; Gentrification and Uneven Development; Community Development and Urban Policy; Urban Geography and Planning; and, Environmental Geography and the City. In addition, I regularly teach Understanding Organizations, a core course for majors in HOD which focuses on work organizations throughout the twentieth century and social justice.

Service:  I serve as the Chair of the HOD Curriculum Committee, as well as on the Peabody College Curriculum Committee. I also serve on the Steering Committee for American Studies and as an affiliated faculty member of the Institute for energy & the Environment. At the University level, I serve on the Honor’s Council.

Community Engagement: I am a member of several organizations in the broader Nashville community including: Board Member, Open Table Nashville; Former Board Chair, Urban Green Lab; Member, Cayce Place Advisory Group at the Metropolitan Development Housing Agency; Member, A Voice (for the reduction of poverty); Consultant, Neighborhood Resource Center and Nashville Organized for Action and Hope; and serve various local governmental agencies around issues or urban development and housing. In addition, I am a member of the Association of American Geographers and the Urban Affairs Association.  

Courses Taught

  • HOD 2100: Understanding Organizations
  • American Studies 8000: Social Justice and the City