Paul Mullins is a historical archaeologist who studies the intersection of materiality and the color line, focusing on the relationship between racism, consumption, and urban displacement. He is the author of Race and Affluence: An Archaeology of African America and Consumer Culture; Glazed America: A History of the Doughnut; and The Archaeology of Consumer Culture. Mullins’ research has focused on urban displacement in Indianapolis, examining how a century-old, predominately African-American community was displaced and is now reconstructing its history. His scholarship has included archaeological excavations, documentary research, and oral history in Ransom Place, Flanner House Homes, the present-day IUPUI campus, and postwar African-American suburbs. The research on the history of the IUPUI campus has produced an oral history collection, The Price of Progress: IUPUI, the Color Line, and Urban Displacement, which was co-edited with community partner Glenn White. The book illuminates the legacy of urban renewal and the erasure of African-American life in the near-Westside.
During 2016-2017, Mullins, along with his Anthropology Department colleague Susan Hyatt, were named the inaugural Charles R. Bantz Chancellor’s Community Fellows. Their project, “Invisible Indianapolis: Race, Heritage and Community Memory in the Circle City,” examines the history and material culture in a series of Indianapolis neighborhoods that are currently effaced, ignored, or misrepresented in public discourse. The goal of the project is to use ethnographic interviews and documentary research to illuminate how otherwise “invisible” neighborhoods provide powerful insights into challenging the histories of the class, cultural, religious and racial inequalities that continue to shape our city.
Dr. Mullins work on the history and material culture of Indianapolis neighborhoods is another example of how IUPUI faculty are TRANSLATING RESEARCH INTO PRACTICE.