New book, Detroit Remains, released by Dr. Ryzewski

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Cover of Detroit RemainsDr. Krysta Ryzewski, Chair of the Anthropology Department, recently released the book Detroit Remains: Archaeology and Community Histories of Six Legendary Places with the University of Alabama Press. In the process of detailing the histories of six legendary sites around the city, Dr. Ryzewski highlights the ground-breaking contributions that Wayne State anthropology students made to researching Detroit’s archaeological heritage and public history over the past decade.

Detroit Remains is the first historical archaeology book focused on Detroit and one of the few to foreground the archaeology of the Great Migration era (ca. 1915– 1970). The book is organized around narratives about six case studies of legendary Detroit institutions—Little Harry speakeasy, the Ransom Gillis house, the Blue Bird Inn, Gordon Park, the Grande Ballroom, and the Halleck Street log cabin. In presenting the history of each site Dr. Ryzewski uses archaeological evidence as an entry point to trace the contours of the city’s underrepresented communities and their relationship to local currents of entrepreneurship and social justice. The sites are used as a basis for examining how power is and has been exercised in Detroit’s communities over the past century: how it was stripped from the city’s twentieth- and twenty-first-century residents, but also how they acquired alternative sources of agency by establishing creative and illicit economies.

Throughout this book, connections run deep between archaeology, heritage, politics, historic preservation, community-based research, and storytelling. Detroit Remains demonstrates how the city’s past, present, and future lie not in ruins but in the tangible archaeological traces of the everyday lives of Detroiters and their legacies.

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