Interview w/ H. Jacob Carlson – 2020 Graduate Student Paper Award Winner

2021 Winter, Vol. 34, No.1 

H. Jacob Carlson, a postdoctoral scholar at the Population Studies and Training Center at Brown University, was the winner of the 2020 Graduate Student Paper Award. Jake’s innovative research agenda leverages the urban and political sociological traditions to address new questions about democracy, housing, and changing cities. We reached out to ask him to discuss his research, and we’re including his responses below. Thanks to Jake for participating in our interview series!

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Chair’s Message (Winter 2021)

Derek Hyra
American University
2021 Winter, Vol. 34, No.1 

Let me start by wishing everyone a happy, healthy, and productive New Year. 2020 was nothing short of a high speed train wreck. The pandemic and continued police brutality brought on immeasurable suffering and loss, exposing once again the dire consequences of systemic racial inequality. Communities of color have been disproportionally affected by this virus and police aggression. Now more than ever our sociologically-informed, community and urban research is greatly needed, and I implore you to position your work to help fuel social justice efforts aimed at ameliorating racial and spatial inequality.

On the social justice front, the CUSS Council has taken action. First, in November 2019, the Council unanimously approved important by-law amendments. This year you will asked to vote on changes that, if approved, would establish a new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee. The DEI Committee, under the direction of an elected chair, will undertake activities to understand and reduce racial/ethnic disparities that exist within our section. The establishment of a DEI Committee would demonstrate our section’s steadfast commitment to fairness. I ask that you vote in favor of this timely and needed by-law change.

Second, while we regretfully cannot meet in person in Chicago this summer, our Council has proposed four themed sessions intended to highlight scholarship on important contemporary urban issues. We will have online sessions on the global uprisings and the Black Lives Matter movement; the pandemic and its impact on cities; emerging urban politics and policies; and critical perspectives on injustice embedded in our urban sociology traditions. My hope is that our 2021 ASA sessions will facilitate meaningful discourses both within and beyond the academy. Be sure to submit a paper for one of these sessions by February 3.

Third, our section’s journal, City & Community (C&C), has made strategic changes intended to advance diversity and inclusion. Richard E. Ocejo, C&C’s new editor, has refreshed the journal’s editorial leadership to include new people and perspectives. Moreover, the journal will implement an exciting professional development program for young scholars. This new program will serve as a systematic support structure, along with our section’s annual meeting mentoring initiative, to advance the next generation of talented urban sociologists.

No question, the pandemic has seriously challenged and tested us emotionally, financially, and physically; sadly, we have lost family members, friends, and colleagues. While we will not be together in Chicago this year to comfort one another (or to celebrate our successes), we should take solace in knowing we are part of a special group that produces knowledge to challenge and change our society for the better. Rest assured, in 2022 in Los Angeles, we will be together and we will lecture, laugh, and libate. Until then stay healthy, motivated, and safe! And do not forget to renew your CUSS membership and nominate your colleagues (or yourself) for one of our annual awards!

2020 Lynd Award: Lessons Learned: A Perspective from Golden Pond

Barrett Lee
Pennsylvania State University
2021 Winter, Vol. 34, No.1 

Being named the 2020 recipient of the Robert and Helen Lynd Award for Lifetime Achievement has been both gratifying and humbling, given the distinguished honorees who preceded me. I was taken by surprise when Kevin Gotham (the Lynd committee chair) first passed along the news last spring. That initial reaction quickly gave way to an appreciation of the award as a collective rather than solo accomplishment. From my undergraduate days to the present, I’ve had the good fortune to learn from and work with many talented and inspiring students, mentors, colleagues, and collaborators.

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What to Expect at City & Community

Richard E. Ocejo
John Jay College and the Graduate Center, CUNY
2021 Winter, Vol. 34, No.1 

It is an absolute honor to be the next Editor-in-Chief at City & Community. The journal began publication around when I started graduate school, so there hasn’t been a time when I haven’t known of its existence. Whether from reading its pages, contributing as an author, or assigning its pieces in my courses, it has played an indispensable role in my career. And now getting to run City & Community at this stage in its history, build on the efforts of so many great Editors and scholars, and take it to another level is a dream come true.

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ASA Teaching Award Nominations Sought

From Leonard Nevarez:

As a member of the ASA Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award, I’m writing to encourage you to nominate a colleague or yourself for the 2021 award. Here’s the relevant info from the ASA Awards page:

The ASA Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award honors ASA members’ outstanding contributions to the teaching of undergraduate and/or graduate sociology. The award recognizes contributions that have made a significant impact on the manner in which sociology is taught at a regional, state, national, or international level.

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City & Community’s Urban Scholars Development Program

On January 1, 2021, City & Community will be launching its Urban Scholars Development Program, aimed at providing one-on-one mentorship for early-career urban scholars (graduate students, post-docs, recent graduates) to aid them in their scholarship. In doing so we are developing the next generation of urban researchers and expanding the urban literature.

Potential mentees may email the journal directly (cicojournal@gmail.com) to be considered for the program or may be offered the opportunity to participate by the Editor-in-Chief or a Deputy Editor upon submission to the journal. Mentees will get assigned a faculty mentor from the editorial board to help them with their work. Mentors will help shape the mentees’ work into a publishable manuscript and work with them at least until the first successful submission to a peer-reviewed journal. 

Scholars from underrepresented backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.
Eligibility criteria:
– Must have no prior sole-authored academic publications
– Must have an article-length manuscript

While the expectation is authors will submit their finished work to City & Community upon completing mentorship, they are not required to do so. (Note: going through the program is not a substitute for peer review.)

New Books

It’s a Setup: Fathering from the Social and Economic Margins

By Timothy Black and Sky Keyes

The expectation for fathers to be more involved with parenting their children and pitching in at home are higher than ever, yet broad social, political, and economic changes have made it more difficult for low-income men to be fathers. In It’s a Setup, Timothy Black and Sky Keyes ground a moving and intimate narrative in the political and economic circumstances that shape the lives of low-income fathers. Based on 138 life history interviews, they expose the contradiction that while the norms and expectations of father involvement have changed rapidly within a generation, labor force and state support for fathering on the margins has deteriorated. Tracking these life histories, they move us through the lived experiences of job precarity, welfare cuts, punitive child support courts, public housing neglect, and the criminalization of poverty to demonstrate that without transformative systemic change, individual determination is not enough. Fathers on the social and economic margins are setup to fail.

Airbnb, Short-Term Rentals and the Future of Housing

By Lily M. Hoffman, Barbara Schmitter Heisler

How do Airbnb and short-term rentals affect housing and communities? Locating the origins and success of Airbnb in the conditions wrought by the 2008 financial crisis, the authors bring together a diverse body of literature and construct case studies of cities in the US, Australia and Germany to examine the struggles of local authorities to protect their housing and neighborhoods from the increasing professionalization and commercialization of Airbnb.

The book argues that the most disruptive impact of Airbnb and short-term rentals has been on housing and neighborhoods in urban centers where housing markets are stressed. Despite its claims, Airbnb has revealed itself as platform capitalism, incentivizing speculation in residential housing. At the heart of this trajectory is its business model and control over access to data. In a first narrative, the authors discuss how Airbnb has institutionalized short-term rentals, consequently removing long-term rentals, contributing to rising rents and changing neighborhood milieus as visitors replace long-term residents. In a second narrative the authors trace the transformation of short-term rentals into a multibillion-dollar hybrid real estate sector promoting a variety of flexible tenure models. While these models provide more options for owners and investors, they have the potential to undermine housing security and exacerbate housing inequality.

While the overall effects have been similar across countries and cities, depending on housing systems, local response has varied from less restrictive in Australia to increasingly restrictive in the United States and most restrictive in Germany. Although Airbnb has made some concessions, it has not given any city the data needed to efficiently enforce regulations, making for costly externalities. Written in a clear and direct style, this volume will appeal to students and scholars in Urban Studies, Urban Planning, Housing and Tourism Studies.

CFP: Urban Processes Under Racial Capitalism

Urban Processes Under Racial Capitalism

Special Issue

City & Community

Guest Editors:

  • Prentiss A. Dantzler, Georgia State University
  • Junia Howell, University of Pittsburgh
  • Elizabeth Korver-Glenn, University of New Mexico

For over a century, urban sociologists have attempted to disentangle the role race and class play in shaping city spaces and urban lives. However, Black scholars have challenged this dichotomy, arguing race and class are mutually constituted forms of exploitation. In his pioneering book, Black Marxism, the late historian Cedric J. Robinson argues racism was fundamental to the feudal order of early capitalism and has remained foundational in all constructions of class. Seminal works like W.E.B. Du Bois’ (1935) Black Reconstruction and more recent books like Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor’s (2019) Race for Profit echo Robinson’s approach arguing economic value is derived from the racialization of labor and property. Yet, urban sociology has not fully explored how racial capitalism changes and reshapes our core theoretical approaches.

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CUSS 2021 Award Committees

CUSS Digest Banner

Below are our section’s 2021 award committee calls. Please note we have a new award this year, the Publicly-Engaged Scholar Award. I thank all of the award committee chairs and members for their willingness to serve as well as council member Jean Beaman for organizing these committees. You all are publishing great work and I am excited to see who gets recognized next year.

All submissions must be received by March 1, 2021 and award winners will be notified by June 30, 2021.

Best,

Derek Hyra

Section Chair

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2021 ASA Annual Meeting: Community and Urban Sociology Section (CUSS) Sessions

Submit your paper for the 2021 ASA Annual Meeting!

Racial Equity, Repair, and the Global Movement for Black Lives

Session Organizer/Chair: Monica Bell, Yale University

In the seven years since George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the murder of Trayvon Martin, activists and organizers have taken to the streets to build a global movement for Black lives, making demands of their cities and communities to dismantle racism in the criminal legal system and invest in structures that support Black futures. Most recently, the uprisings of 2020 have unfolded amidst the health inequities magnified by COVID-19, highlighted racialized police violence, and a global concern over anti-blackness. This session seeks paper submissions that broadly attend to the linkages between this global movement for Black lives and the ways it has been situated and experienced locally in cities, suburbs, and rural communities. Papers in this session may address questions about the range of demands that activists are making (from prison and police reform to abolition); the range of tactics used within the social movements; the influence of contemporary queer and intersectional organizing; coalition building with Latinx, indigenous, and immigrant social movements; and the continuously changing and colliding notions of the city’s racial landscapes in relationship to protest and racial discourse. 

Pandemic and the Modern Metropolis

Session Organizer/Chair: Neil Brenner, University of Chicago

The COVID19 pandemic has changed the structure and organization of urban life, globally. As cities grappled with whether and how to enforce new safety measures, from physical distancing to quarantine, urban sociologists have been attentive to questions about how social life is changing, and with what consequences. What unique impact has COVID19 had on urban places? And will urban life ever be the same? Papers in this session will answer questions about how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted social life and inequality in the city: from issues related to density and population; to housing and the looming eviction crisis; surveillance and social unrest; the use or misuse of public space; food and work (in)security, mobilities, and vulnerabilities; and the newly emerging (or disappearing) formations of urban community and social life.  

Community, Policy and the Politicization of Space 

Session Organizer/Chair: Claudia Lopez, California State University – Long Beach

In the summer of 2020, President Trump announced that he would send a “surge” of federal law enforcement officers to U.S. cities that he deemed to be riddled with disorder and lawlessness. He warned that nearby suburban enclaves could become overrun with crime if they supported the inclusion of, for example, low-income housing. These comments highlight ongoing questions about landscape hierarchies and spatial inequality as zoning and land-use regulations that continue to fuel racial/ethnic and economic disparities across multiple global contexts and scales. This session welcomes papers that investigate issues related to rural-urban-suburban divides; global migration, political segregation; and spatial conflict across regions.

A Critical Lens on Urban Sociology

Session Organizer/Chair: Orly Clerge, University of California, Davis

This session invites papers that broadly theorize about the origins and expansions of urban sociology as a discipline, and questions about who has benefited or lost. Papers may theorize or answer the following: What would decoloniality mean as an approach to urban sociology? How has urban sociology, as a tool, served the interests of white supremacy, patriarchy, empire, or capitalism? What is the composition of urban sociology’s “workforce,” and who earns credit and prestige? How can urban sociologists rethink curriculum, canon, epistemology, and method? What other origin stories in urban sociology remain concealed or obscured? What urban sociological approaches or schools of thought have caused harm for the communities they study? And within the field of urban sociology, what could it look like to redistribute resources or repair harm?  

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