Yannick Coenders’ historical work focuses on race, urban space, and colonialism.
His research agenda interrogates how race persists and continues to shape the social life of populations on both sides of the Atlantic, despite the global decline of institutions that brought it into being, such as European colonialism, slavery, and de jure segregation. Coenders’ collaborative research has been published in Antipode, Public Culture, and the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.
His current project, Dispersal, poses a question crucial to contemporary urban race governance. Why did Western cities shift from their colonial tradition of concentrating non-white populations to an embrace of residential dispersal in the latter half of the twentieth century? Based on extensive archival research in Birmingham (UK) and Rotterdam (NL), it challenges the mainstream conception that Western cities embraced dispersal to confront racism. Instead, it shows that elites adopted these policies to appease white constituencies, to assimilate non-white populations, and to undermine anti-racist resistance.