Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Gentrification of the Mind: Witness to a Lost Imagination” as Want to Read:
The Gentrification of the Mind: Witness to a Lost Imagination
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Gentrification of the Mind: Witness to a Lost Imagination

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  346 ratings  ·  49 reviews
In this gripping memoir of the AIDS years (1981–1996), Sarah Schulman recalls how much of the rebellious queer culture, cheap rents, and a vibrant downtown arts movement vanished almost overnight to be replaced by gay conservative spokespeople and mainstream consumerism. Schulman takes us back to her Lower East Side and brings it to life, filling these pages with vivid mem ...more
Hardcover, 179 pages
Published February 6th 2012 by University of California Press (first published January 1st 2012)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Gentrification of the Mind, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Gentrification of the Mind

Captive Genders by Nat SmithNormal Life by Dean SpadeAgainst Equality by Ryan ConradQueering Anarchism by C.B. DaringAgainst Equality by Ryan Conrad
Queering Anarchism
20th out of 56 books — 25 voters
Girl Walks into a Bar . . . by Rachel DratchPrison Pit, Vol. 4 by Johnny RyanBewilderment by David FerryThe Wisdom of Psychopaths by Kevin DuttonWhat Happened to Sophie Wilder by Christopher R. Beha
Overlooked Books of 2012
19th out of 20 books — 2 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,422)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Jul 14, 2013 Elaine rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2013
There are times during this book when I wanted to throttle Schulman - some of her political analysis is facile and even knee-jerk, and she endows swathes of the population with a host of characteristics that she condemns as "gentrified", by which she sometimes means just traits that she doesn't like.

But there were also times when I felt like standing up in my train seat and cheering her on, because this book is saying in its cacophonous, slightly obnoxious way many true and heartbreaking things
I've been waiting for this book for years, and take a look at this incredible paragraph:

"The deaths of these 81,542 New Yorkers, who were despised and abandoned, who did not have rights or representation, who died because of the neglect of their government and families, has been ignored. This gaping hole of silence has been filled by the deaths of 2,752 people murdered by outside forces. The disallowed grief of 20 years of AIDS deaths was replaced by ritualized and institutionalized mourning of
not three stars like "it was okay", three stars like "love-hate". I really want people to read this so we can talk about it, it's pretty short, come on

really into her fundamental thesis that it's productive to compare the erasure of marginalised (in this case, queer) histories to the erasure of marginalised neighbourhoods through gentrification — often literally, as in the case of the process of gentrification in new york being sped up by the aids-related deaths of queers in rent-controlled apar
I've always thought of Sarah Schulman as a hero for her work as an AIDS activist and Gay Libber, so I had high expectations for this book. I was not disappointed.

I know of nobody else who's so carefully analyzed the horrific consequences of gentrification and excessive social stratification on both culture and the individual human psyche. (Hint: people with gentrified minds tend to become boring conformists and/or social climbing snobs who identify with the ruling class, don't know understand h
It's really easy for me to read books that I find comfortable. Books that make me happy, or soothe me, or amuse me. But I know that the books that upset me, or make me uncomfortable, or leave me awake in the middle of the night are frequently the ones that I really need to read.

I've been someone who has celebrated gentrified GLBTQ victories, and not even realized the ways in which they can be problematic. I'm a middle class cisgendered white girl who sometimes can't even see the structures of my
Jessica Silk
I agree with others who said this is an important book. Two parts I would like to share/save for myself:

"It's never going to change," a wealthy, white, male, MFA-trained playwright told me about the exclusion of women playwrights from the American theater. "And if you try, people will say you are difficult."
On the other hand, Audre Lorde--Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet--told me, "That you can't fight City Hall, is a rumor being spread by City Hall."

"Be we currently live with a stupefying
Ammi Emergency
This is one of the most important books I've read in years. I read it in a day and have talked about its thesis every day since. So vital, so life giving, and exceptionally gorgeously written on a prose level too.
I read this in February and thought it was quite something. So powerful and captured my attention all the way through. Sad, bracing, and a critical work that helped me to understand individual and societal struggles of the 1980s as well as those of today. A crucial study that does not shy away from the truth.
Fr. River
January 10, The Gentrification of the Mind: Witness to a Lost Imagination by Sarah Sculman--4th Day of Guantanamo Fast

Sarah Schulman writes of gentrification ans says that it is homogenity--a means of making everything the same, without diversity--which protects people from the pain of life, it keeps them from seeing the pain around them. She quotes Sara Ahmed: "Happiness for some involves persecution for others; it is not that this happiness produces a social wrong, but it might even be depende
I think I love this woman.

While her ideals are very clear throughout the book, I share them and they are very important to community and human happiness. She cleverly reveals the connections between gentrification and private life, and tells it like it is regarding gay marriage. Gentrification serves as relief from gentrification - as consolation for lack of community, individuals withdrawn into their own private families and careers. She mentions the pervasive self-help mantra of "just accept t
Jason Gordon
Sarah Schulman's book discusses the connection between the gentrification of cities and the gentrification of ideas. In the process of actual gentrification one population is not merely displaced or replaced by another, but a homogenized population is substituted for a diverse one. The gentrification of ideas undergoes a similar process. Diverse ideas are replaced by homogenized ones that reflect dominant attitudes and perceptions held by the powerful -- in effect 'alienating people from a concr ...more
How do I rate this book? Do I take away because I disagree with the author on many points, even if I understand and respect her anger and perspective? Do I give it 5 stars because it gave me so much to think (and talk) about? I have such conflicted feelings about this book. There are so many important messages, but there are just as many problematic messages. Perhaps more.

The strength and the weakness of this book is often how self-centered it is. The passion that drives Schulman's conviction a
This is a really important, personal, thought-provoking book. I'm interested in the conversations this book could and should create. I do have some critiques; most importantly, I think Schulman fails to adequately address the depth and power of white supremacy in the process of gentrification. Instead she seems to equate the intention of white queers moving into neighborhoods that are predominately communities of color as either "good" (if you're a working white queer artist looking for variety) ...more
The first half of this book is the best, most essential, everyone should read. About AIDS and gentrification, how they worked together to devastate communities. And about how the successes of gentrification have damaged our ability to imagine or produce social change. The second half is more about art and gentrification and that is basically less interesting to me, but she still says really smart and insightful things.
Michael Buitron
I saw Sarah speak on the topic of familial homophobia at a conference in Los Angeles, and I was so moved by her insights, I wanted to read some of her work.

The book is a novel hybrid of an academic, sociological analysis of the confluence of the gentrification of Manhattan and the tremendous loss of the city's creative class during the 80's and how the tragic depopulation from AIDS helped speed up the overpriced Disneyfication we're left with today. She manages to broaden the definition of gent
An amazing book - so glad it was recommended to me by someone I recently met. I must have wanted to read a book like this and just didn't know it had been written. It has helped me put so much in perspective re: the AIDS crisis, what it did to our culture and how exactly it changed society's landscape. There is very little in the book about the disease itself. The focus is on how the epidemic is largely seen as something that happened in the past - when it has not gone away and won't go away for ...more
Charles Rice-Gonzalez
Urgent, wonderful and a must-read. With Gentrification of the Mind Sarah Schulman continues to be a contemporary voice for our society and culture that builds on our past and offers options for a vibrant future. This book will open your mind. I've read it three times which is as many times as I've her previous book Ties That Bind: Familial Homophobia. She continues to raise the bar for writers and delivers a powerful experience to readers.
Since the author chose not to do extensive research the argument is conjecture, and despite being incredibly compelling conjecture it does not, for this reason, cut it for me as an endeavor that needs to take up an entire book (its point could have been communicated as effectively in an article). Also, I found the focus on a specific activist-community that the author was/is a part of to be somewhat self-indulgent as the book is not meant to be a memoir but is rather supposed to be an idea book, ...more
This is an important book, if only because it addresses the AIDS crisis head-on, arguing for its place as an American experience. By approaching an era of tragedy through personal memory and individual interviews, Schulman asserts her thesis without the distancing that often occurs in academic texts; I found her "personal academic memoir" approach to be effective whether or not you swallow her argument for the over-arching impact of gentrification (which I found to be rather convincing, though I ...more
This book is just so amazing. It is rightfully angry, and it is shameless in its presentation of the argument around what gentrification has done to homogenise society. But Sarah schulman is spot on in her observations, and right to raise the concerns she does. As a feminist, I absolutely recognised her description of supremacy ideology and thanks to her extraordinary writing was well able to imagine how that had impacted on gays and lesbians, especially during and post the AIDS crisis.
This book is incredibly important both as a record of some of the unrecorded (and erased) costs of the AIDS crisis and as a reminder to younger activists. This is not academic writing, with distance and tact. This is spelled-out and clear-spoken. It will make you angry. It will make you cry.
Katie Brennan
Schulman's main argument seems to be that we physically and intellectually inhabit a graveyard that is rendered invisible by gentrification. We do not know ourselves because we are ignorant of those who came before us - "it leaves the replaced without context and the replacers with a distorted sense of self." Her most elaborated example of this is the East Village/Lower East Side, and the relationship of gentrification - of both physical space and of the mind - to queer communities and the AIDS ...more
This reading awakaned a desire to research pre-Aids literature, performance art of the late 80w, and ACT-UP. She is a bit Larry Kramer-like in her approach, and does make herself seem grandiose at times, but her comments on education need to be said. Kudos.
This is the most important book I've ever read.
Stephen Jenkins
In Schulman's elegantly written book she talks about how gentrification has worked in her lifetime especially in regards to the gay and art and communities. This is a brilliant book which gives the reader a glance into a strong mind. She restores some of the lost history and memory of the dead with clarity. This book has changed the way I think about authenticity and falsity. Schulman moves from actual neighborhood gentrification to examine gentrification of creating (Chapter 4), of gay politics ...more
Samantha Waxman
The Gentrification of the Mind made me profoundly uncomfortable—but that’s exactly the point.

There have been so many articles about gentrification in the news (especially here in DC—in New York it’s already a fait accompli), and many, many books, articles, etc. about the AIDS crisis (though fewer as individuals with HIV are living longer, receiving better medical care, etc.). But here Schulman has strung those two tales together in a heartbreaking, truthtelling way that exposes some of the reall
i read the other reviews here on goodreads and mostly agree. there were points where i was happy to think about an issue in a totally new light and other moments where i really wish i'd been spared the author's asides that were really unnecessary to her argument and ultimately turn off readers. (last night a friend told me she started the book and couldn't finish because she was so fed up with the author's off the cuff opinions about how rural places are not a place where new ideas can flourish ...more
Peter Landau
The most disturbing revelation reading this important book is that the enemy is me. I'm the child of privileged New Yorkers who were part of the "white flight" in the ’70s, a sudden severing at a young age that caused an unrealistic attachment to the city that brought me back on my own to stake a claim in my youth and unintentionally partake in the gentrification of the ’80s which has gutted New York City of its creative capital and finds it today a homogeneous mall of senseless consumerism.

this book is phenomenally important. that's basically all i can say. it is a shimmering, shining work of brilliance. everyone needs to read it--but probably the only people who actually are invested enough to care are: queers, white politically aware folx who have lived in communities of color, writers, activists. but pretty much everyone on my friendslist is in at least one of those categories, right?
a lot of reviewers seem to be sharing their favorite quotes from this book in their reviews. he
As a longtime New Orleans resident who has watched & continues to feel the impact of profound demographic shifts in my own community resulting in part from a disaster, Schulman's skillful contextualizing of the issue of inner-city gentrification & post-catastrophic impact on communities resonated profoundly with me. I think this a really excellent book to read for anyone struggling to articulate the many feelings that come with watching their immediate community be displaced, or whom has ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 47 48 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Queer (In)Justice: The Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States
  • Against Equality: Queer Critiques of Gay Marriage
  • Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness, and Liberation
  • Close to the Knives: A Memoir of Disintegration
  • Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?: Flaming Challenges to Masculinity, Objectification, and the Desire to Conform
  • Nevada
  • Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex
  • The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities
  • Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme
  • Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics and the Limits of Law
  • Fire in the Belly: The Life and Times of David Wojnarowicz
  • How Poetry Saved My Life: A Hustler's Memoir
  • The Cancer Journals
  • Depression: A Public Feeling
  • The Queer Art of Failure
  • Memoir of a Race Traitor
  • Times Square Red, Times Square Blue (Sexual Cultures)
  • Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics
Sarah Schulman is a longtime AIDS and queer activist, and a cofounder of the MIX Festival and the ACT UP Oral History Project. She is a playwright and the author of seventeen books, including the novels The Mere Future, Shimmer, Rat Bohemia, After Delores, and People in Trouble, as well as nonfiction works such as The Gentrification of the Mind: Witness to a Lost Imagination, My American History: ...more
More about Sarah Schulman...
Rat Bohemia Girls, Visions and Everything: A Novel After Delores Empathy People in Trouble

Share This Book