What to Expect at City & Community

Richard E. Ocejo
John Jay College and the Graduate Center, CUNY

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.

All academic journals face the same challenge. They must establish and maintain core areas of interest to serve a distinct scholarly community while simultaneously trying to grow their authorship and readership by incorporating new ideas, approaches, and even topics into their pages. In other words, grow from the core or die on the vine. To this end, my overall aims for the journal are to strengthen the dialogue between urban sociology and other sociological literatures; diversify City & Community’s leadership, readership, and authorship; enhance the exposure of our subfield’s scholarly output; and make the journal an even more inclusive academic forum than it already is.         

In this brief post I’d like to let you all know about some new initiatives we’ll be implementing next year to further these goals. But first, a very special “thank you,” “tip of the hat,” and “round of applause” to Deirdre Oakley, who has edited the journal for the past three years. Whether through phone calls, emails, or texts, Deirdre has been incredible in supporting me during this editorial transition. The journal has had some wonderful achievements under her editorship, and through her guidance I hope to keep it going in the right direction. Congratulations to her on a job well done!

1) Development Program

City & Community has a reputation for being a welcoming place for graduate students and young scholars, and several editors in the past have informally helped these folks develop their work. I have formalized these efforts by starting a mentorship program. Mentors from the editorial board or CUSS membership will be assigned a mentee (and receive a small stipend for their efforts) to help them develop their scholarly work.

Here is the program’s official announcement and description:

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.)

Since making the announcement we have thus far had over two dozen inquiries from developing scholars looking to improve their work! If you would like to serve as a mentor, or have any questions, feel free to email me (cicojournal@gmail.com or rocejo@jjay.cuny.edu). And if you have know anyone who would benefit from such mentorship, please have them also get in touch!

2) Book review revamp:

In addition to traditional book reviews, the journal will also start reviewing non-English books in urban studies from around the world. These are titles our readers would likely miss otherwise. We will also start conducting podcast interviews with book authors (in collaboration with the New Books Network). Both of these initiatives should help us promote the journal and provide material to share through social media (see below).

Special thanks to Sofya Aptekar and Ervin Kosta, who are our next co-editors of book reviews and will be managing these initiatives. If you know any recently-published non-English books or bilingual urban scholars who may be interested in reviewing them, or if you’d be interested in interviewing book authors, please let Sofya (Sofya.Aptekar@slu.cuny.edu) and Ervin (kosta@hws.edu) know.

3) Website and Twitter:

As you may know, City & Community’s new publisher is SAGE, which also publishes every other ASA journal. Through them we’ll be able to feature podcast-style interviews with authors of articles in forthcoming issues. We will also try to continue with the video abstracts and are exploring some blog options (through SAGE or another outlet).

And as you may also know, City & Community’s Twitter handle is @CiCoJournal. However, the account has been dormant for a year. We are changing that. Very soon we will start tweeting regularly about the journal, subfield, and other related matters. If you are on Twitter please follow us.

4) Special Issues/Symposia

We will continue to regularly publish special issues/symposia in the journal on important, current topics. These are excellent opportunities to expand our scope and readership. The first new one under my editorship will be “Urban Processes Under Racial Capitalism,” with Prentiss Dantzler, Junia Howell, and Elizabeth Korver-Glenn serving as guest editors (Prentiss is also one of our deputy editors). I’m looking forward to working on many more.

We hope you find this first round of initiatives as exciting as we do. A journal is only as strong as its core readers and authors, which is what I consider CUSS’s membership to be. More than City & Community’s institutional home, CUSS is the its lifeblood. I want to thank you all for supporting the journal all these years and I can’t wait to see how far we can take it.

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