Race and Real Estate in the United States


This course examines the relationship between race, real estate, wealth, and poverty in the United States, with an emphasis on the period from the New Deal to the present.  We will learn about the instrumental role homeownership and residential location has played in shaping the educational options; job prospects, living expenses, health, quality of life, and wealth accumulation of Americans in the twentieth century, and how race became--and remains --a key determinant in the distribution of the homeownership's benefits in American society.  We will study the structure and mechanics of the American real estate industry, the historical and contemporary dynamics of housing markets in urban and suburban America, and the impact of governmental policies and programs on the American economy and built environment.  We will look at how the promise of perils of homeownership has shaped ideas of race and belonging, and informed the political ideologies and material interests, of both white and black Americans.  We will learn how and why real estate ownership, investment, and development came to play a critical role in the formation and endurance of racial segregation, and in the making of modern American capitalism.  And we will explore how legal challenges and political mobilizations against racial exclusion and economic exploitation in housing markets came to shape the modern black freedom movement as a whole.  As we do, we will acquire a deeper knowledge and understanding of how real estate shapes our lives and lies at the heart of many of the most vexing problems and pressing challenges facing America today.  

Corcoran Department of History
University of Virginia
Nau Hall - South Lawn
Charlottesville, VA 22904


(434) 924-7147
(434) 924-7891
M-F 8am to 4:30pm
Department Contacts