A Conversation w/ new City & Community book review editors Sofya Aptekar & Ervin Kosta

CUSS Newsletter, 2021 Summer, Vol 34, No 2

Albert Fu: Sofya and Ervin, first of all, congratulations on your new role as book review editors for City & Community. Can you tell us a little bit more about the new initiative on non-English book reviews?

Sofya Aptekar: Thank you, Albert. We’re pretty excited to be part of the effort of running this journal. The idea of adding reviews of books published in languages other than English was broached to us by the new editor-in-chief Richard E. Ocejo. Both Ervin and I thought it would be great for C&C readership, and have begun the exciting work of tracking down books published across the world.

Albert: Why did you think it is important?

Ervin Kosta: This initiative resonated with us at various levels. City & Community has increasingly become more international in scope, both in authorship as well as coverage, earning a global reputation as an important node of urban research and scholarship. We want to build upon and expand the international reach of the journal by covering, even if in the brief format of book reviews, titles our readers might otherwise miss. We hope this initiative will not only benefit from the expertise of our multilingual scholars, but also bring in voices who might otherwise not see City & Community as their intellectual home to date.

Sofya: In addition, we also want to heed continuing calls within urban studies to expand our categories of analysis such that they pay closer attention to urbanisms that do not neatly map onto the proverbial metropolitan experience of the Global North. Various recent articles and special issues in City & Community on regional cities, small cities, and our March 2021 special issue on Global South, point to the importance of decentralizing and destabilizing analytical categories of research and theorizing of urban studies utilized for most of the twentieth century. We like Garrido, Ren, and Weinstein’s advice that we could “open up” existing concepts such that they are capable of accommodating diverse urban experiences, all the while continuing to engender conversation about and across urban differences. We hope this initiative might bring in perspectives that do just that.

Albert: That sounds great. How are you planning on getting this initiative off the ground?

Ervin: We have started reaching out to people in our networks to identify books to review, as well as multilingual reviewers. One of our hopes is to spark new connections and collaborations for C&C readers that extend beyond the Anglophone world.

Albert: What can we do for you? Any advice for our readers?

Sofya: Yes. We absolutely need the help of the C&C community to make this a success. Please reach out to us to (1) suggest  recently published non-English books that you think would be interesting to C&C readers and (2) suggest multilingual  urban scholars who may be interested in writing book reviews, or better yet, volunteer yourself!  Our emails are Sofya.Aptekar@slu.cuny.edu and Kosta@hws.edu.

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