Balliger’s current research focuses on the City of Oakland, particularly on arts, culture, and racial politics in the context of urban restructuring. She draws on fifteen years personal experience in a mixed-use West Oakland neighborhood, along with street-level ethnography and interviews. The tumultuous 21st century in Oakland includes a peak for homicides in 2006, the “Great Recession” and foreclosure crisis, the Occupy Movement, controversial police shootings, redevelopment and arts-led revitalization, and gentrification. Balliger has presented her research at several conferences and she is currently completing three articles and a book manuscript. She has been invited to participate in a conference on urban precarity at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Germany in 2019. Her articles focus on artists and gentrification debates, municipal abandonment, and the multiple ways in which community and public art projects affect neighborhoods. She has also published a review of “The Force,” a film on the Oakland police.
“Good Cop / Bad City: Oakland Police on Screen in ‘The Force,’” Reimagine: Race, Poverty, and the Environment, http://www.reimaginerpe.org/23/balliger-Good-Cop-Bad-City-Oakland-Police, Dec. 2, 2017.
“Painting Over Precarity: Entanglements of Community Public Art with Dispossession, Gentrification, and Urban Governance in West Oakland, CA,” American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, San Jose, CA, Nov. 15, 2018.
“Murals in Contested Urban Space: Appropriating Symbols of Community for Gentrification and Urban Governance in West Oakland, CA,” Association for the Study of the Arts of The Present (ASAP/9), Oct. 26-28, 2017, Oakland, CA, (Developed and Chaired this Panel)
“Between Autonomy and Abandonment: Exposed Life in a Containment Zone in Oakland, CA” American Ethnological Society Annual Conference, April 1, 2017, Stanford University
“Artists, Redevelopment, and Gentrification in Oakland, CA,” American Association of Geographers Annual Conference, San Francisco, April 1, 2016. Panel title: “The ‘Other’ Side of the Bay: Contested Geographies of Oakland.”
“‘Hella’ Contradictions: Artists, Urban Redevelopment, and Gentrification in 21st Century Oakland,” Lecture at San Francisco Art Institute, April 3, 2015.
“Oaklandish!: Hipster Arts and Urban Development in Oakland, California,” Urban Affairs Association Annual Meeting, San Francisco, April 2013. (I organized an all-SFAI panel “The Arts and Culture in Bay Area Development Discourse and Practice”)
“Occupy Oakland and the Eruption of the Social: Conflict and Policing at the Boundaries of Neoliberal Citizenship,” American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, San Francisco, Nov. 2012