Elijah Anderson on the burden of being Black in white spaces

Since the end of the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, large numbers of Black people have made their way into settings previously occupied exclusively by whites. They have received mixed receptions.

Many neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, universities, and other public spaces remain overwhelmingly white. Blacks perceive such settings as the “white space,” which they often consider to be informally “off limits” to them, said Elijah Anderson, Sterling Professor of Sociology and African American Studies at Yale and winner of the 2021 Stockholm Prize, the world’s most prestigious prize in the field of criminology.

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Black in White Space by Elijah Anderson – 2021 Lynd Award Winner

CUSS Newsletter, Winter 2022, Vol. 35, No. 1

Elijah Anderson is the Sterling Professor of Sociology and of African American Studies at Yale University, and one of the leading urban ethnographers in the United States. His publications include Code of the Street: Decency, Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner City (1999), winner of the Komarovsky Award from the Eastern Sociological Society; Streetwise: Race, Class, and Change in an Urban Community (1990), winner of the American Sociological Association’s Robert E. Park Award for the best published book in the area of Urban Sociology; and the classic sociological work, A Place on the Corner (1978; 2nd ed., 2003). Anderson’s ethnographic work, The Cosmopolitan Canopy: Race and Civility in Everyday Life, was published by WW Norton in 2011. Additionally, Professor Anderson is the recipient of the 2017 Merit Award from the Eastern Sociological Society and three prestigious awards from the American Sociological Association, including the 2013 Cox-Johnson-Frazier Award, the 2018 W.E.B. DuBois Career of Distinguished Scholarship Award, the 2021 winner of the Stockholm Prize in Criminology, and the 2021 Robert and Helen Lynd Award for Lifetime Achievement. For our newsletter, Elijah Anderson has shared part of his latest bookBlack in White Space. As noted in the excerpt, Black in White Space is an extension of his previous work. These ethnographies are now considered essential reading in community and urban sociology. In addition to contextualizing his body of work, the excerpt below also addresses his concern for the fragility of American society as a whole.   

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Recent Books by Section Members (Winter 2022)

Angelo, Hillary. 2021. How Green Became Good: Urbanized Nature and the Making of Cities and Citizens. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. https://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/H/bo61910401.html  
Bennett, Pamela R., Amy Lutz, and Lakshmi Jayaram. 2021. Parenting in Privilege or Peril: How Social Inequality Enables or Derails the American Dream. New York: Teachers College Press. https://www.tcpress.com/parenting-in-privilege-or-peril-9780807766019  
Fu, Albert S. 2022. Risky Cities: The Physical and Fiscal Nature of Disaster Capitalism. Rutgers University Press. https://www.rutgersuniversitypress.org/risky-cities/9781978820302  
Herbert, Claire. 2021. A Detroit Story: Urban Decline and the Rise of Property Informality. Oakland: University of California Press. https://www.ucpress.edu/book/9780520340084/a-detroit-story  
Horikawa, Saburo. 2021. Why Place Matters: A Sociological Study of the Historic Preservation Movement in Otaru, Japan, 1965–2017. Cham, Switzerland: Springer. https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-71600-4
Gordon, Hava. 2021. This is Our School! Race and Community Resistance to School Reform. New York: NYU Press.  https://nyupress.org/9781479890057/this-is-our-school/
Kolb, Kenneth H. 2022. Retail Inequality: Reframing the Food Desert Debate. The University of California Press.www.retailinequality.com
Zachary Levenson. 2022. Delivery as Dispossession: Land Occupation and Eviction in the Post-Apartheid City. Oxford: Oxford University Press.https://global.oup.com/academic/product/delivery-as-dispossession-9780197629253
Levine, Jeremy R. 2021. Constructing Community: Urban Governance, Development, and Inequality in Boston. Princeton University Press. https://press.princeton.edu/books/paperback/9780691193649/constructing-community
Lyon, Dawn (ed.) 2022. Rhythmanalysis: Place, Mobility, Disruption, and Performance. (Research in Urban Sociology, Volume 17, Ray Hutchison, Series Editor). Bingley, UK: Emerald Press. https://www.emerald.com/insight/publication/doi/10.1108/S1047-0042202217  
Moussawi, Ghassan. 2020. Disruptive Situations: Fractal Orientalism and Queer Strategies in Beirut, Philadelphia: Temple University Press. http://tupress.temple.edu/book/20000000009954
Raudenbush, Danielle. 2020. Health Care Off the Books: Poverty, Illness and Strategies for Survival in Urban America. University of California Press.  https://www.ucpress.edu/book/9780520305625/health-care-off-the-books
Stone, Amy L. 2022. Queer Carnival: Festivals and Mardi Gras in the South. New York: NYU Press. https://nyupress.org/9781479801985/queer-carnival/
Warren, Mark R. 2021. Willful Defiance: The Movement to Dismantle the School-to-Prison Pipeline. New York: Oxford University Press. http://peoplesthinktank.us/willful-defiance/

Interview w/ George Greenidge Publicly Engaged Scholar Award Winner

CUSS Newsletter, Winter 2022, Vol. 35, No. 1

George (Chip) Greenidge, Jr., a Ph.D. Candidate at Georgia State University, was the winner of the 2021 Publicly Engaged Scholar Award. George is a scholar-activist whose commitments span non-profit work, government service, philanthropy, and education. Recently, he was President of the Boston Empowerment Zone, a federally funded HUD initiative aimed at economic investment in U.S. urban neighborhoods, and the Founder and Executive Director of the National Black College Alliance, Inc., a nonprofit focused on providing alumni mentors to college and high school students. Currently, George is also the Founder and Director of the Greatest MINDS, an organization which aims to promote public discourse, citizenship and inclusive democracy. He is also a Visiting Democracy Fellow at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School.  Benny Witkovsky and Andrew Messamore reached out to George to discuss his career. Thanks to George for agreeing to participate in our interview! 

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Chair’s Message (Feb 2022)

CUSS Newsletter, Winter 2022, Vol. 35, No. 1

Dear CUSS members,

Welcome to February 2022! I hope you are receiving this message safe or recovered from Omicron. My daughter contracted the variant (fully vaccinated and with few symptoms). It was distressing, but the rest of us managed not to get it. This has been a hard start to the year for many of us, but we are grateful that the surge is declining in many places. 

The ASA submissions deadline has been extended but is approaching (February 16). Please consider submitting your work to our section sessions. Don’t forget to nominate yourself and colleagues for CUSS awards, as well!

Last month I mentioned that Council voted to offer small one-time travel grants to active CUSS student members who are presenting at any panel or roundtable at the 2022 Los Angeles conference. We will offer up to five awards of $300. If the conference is virtual, we will offer to cover the student registration fee. Either way, we will give priority to students with no travel funds. The application deadline is March 15, 2022. I will send more details in March. 

Finally, I wanted to share that I attended an ASA Section Chairs Meeting recently. We discussed the struggles of our members, challenges to sections, and strategies for staying connected and helping our members. I want CUSS members to know that we appreciate that this is a difficult time to pay for and attend a conference in Los Angeles. We know that institutions have cut travel funds and that faculty from a range of institutions are spread very thin and feel burnt out. I hope there will be a way for all of us can participate in the conference this summer. I appreciate all the hard work of our members. You have been of great service to your students, organizations, communities, and families and deserve recognition. 


Rachael Woldoff

Section Chair

Interview w/ Stefanie A. DeLuca

CUSS Newsletter, Winter 2022, Vol. 35, No. 1

Stefanie A. DeLuca, James Coleman Professor of Sociology and Social Policy at Johns Hopkins University, is one of 2021’s Publicly Engaged Scholar awardees. Over the course of her career, Stefanie has worked closely with local, state, and federal policymakers to enact meaningful change in the domains of housing accessibility and racial desegregation. Her dedication to publicly-engaged research is reflected in her service to several HUD federal housing commissions in addition to local community and non-profit agencies. More broadly, Stefanie’s scholarship has positively impacted countless households by shaping federal legislation on housing vouchers as well as local housing mobility programs across the country. Thalia Tom reached out to her to discuss her research, and we’re including her responses below. Thanks to Stefanie for participating in our interview series!

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Chair’s Message (January 2022)

Dear Friends,

Happy New Year, and welcome to the January 2022 CUSS Chair’s message.

What a time to be studying the importance of place and community! As we begin the new year, please spread the word about our section to people who seem interested in places and communities and who may not realize that CUSS is a home for them within ASA. CUSS membership was 600 in 2019, 552 in 2020, and 640 in 2021. Let’s reach out to our people so that we can connect them to our section (and have as many paper sessions as possible).

Personally, I am starting 2022 with an intention to serve my students, colleagues, and community and to consistently maintain that spirit through the year by keeping my heart and mind open to possibilities. I look forward to working with all of you to help you continue your passion for research, teaching, service, and activism as we collectively deal with the uncertainty and anxiety of the times. I am eager for us to connect and share how the pandemic has affected our approaches to community and urban sociology.

I must take this opportunity to invite you to submit a paper to the 2022 ASA conference. The portal is open for submissions, and the deadline is 11:59 PM on February 9, 2022. Let’s show up (if we can, of course)!

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Chair’s Message (December 2021)

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Dear CUSS Members,

Happy Holidays! Welcome to the December Chair’s message.

In terms of CUSS membership, we have 640 members (174 student members and 431 regular members). Please encourage students and colleagues to join!

Please consider submitting a paper to the upcoming ASA conference. The 2022 Annual Meeting portal is open for submissions. The deadline to submit is February 9, 2022, at 11:59PM.

To better support our student CUSS members at this difficult time, Council voted to provide a one-time travel grant to CUSS student members whose papers are accepted for presentation to any session or roundtable. Applicants must be active members of the section, but they do not need to present on a section session or roundtable. We will offer up to five awards of $300 to offset travel costs. If the conference is virtual, we will pay the student registration fee. We will prioritize students without access to other travel funds. The application deadline will be March 15, 2022. We are still finalizing details and will send additional information on the application process.

We will have five open panels and a roundtable session. Below, please find the panel topics, descriptions, and organizers for this year’s CUSS Sessions. Please contact the organizers or Theo Greene (tgreene@bowdoin.edu) with questions.

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