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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