Aging apartment buildings and small, single-family homes throughout the heart of Indianapolis appear inconsequential to many on the outside looking in – strangers who seldom calculate the intrusion of interstate highways, urban renewal and gentrification that displaced not only people but their culture and lifestyles.
“Invisible Indianapolis: Race, Heritage and Community Memory in the Circle City,” is the fascinating theme of a project launched by Drs. Paul Mullins and Susan Hyatt to research and link compelling stories of past neighborhood histories of class, culture, religion, and racial inequity.
This intriguing quest to preserve and recall neighborhood history has earned the anthropology professors from the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI the 2016 Charles R. Bantz Chancellor’s Community Fellowship Award. “Their project will examine the history and material culture of local neighborhoods that currently are effaced, ignored or misrepresented in public discourse,” says Mullins. Both Mullins and Hyatt have also received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Civic Engagement, an award presented annually to IUPUI faculty who exemplify the highest standards of civic engagement.
Invisible Indianapolis builds on a foundation of ethnographic, archival, and archaeological field work conducted by Mullins and Hyatt over the past 16 years. In fact, they represent a veritable ‘dream team’ for such work. Both Mullins and Hyatt have longstanding research and teaching partnerships with community organizations - including the Concord Neighborhood Center, Ransom Place, Etz Chaim Sephardic Congregation, the Lockefield and Grandview Civic organizations, and the Babe Denny Neighborhood Organization. They will synthesize their research – scattered among several neighborhoods – into a single narrative of community change.