Tag Archives: Chair’s Message

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!

Chair’s Message

Japonica Brown-Saracino
Boston University
Summer 2020, Vol. 33, No. 2

Under ordinary circumstances, many of us would be preparing for travel to San Francisco.  We would be looking forward to gathering together, in person, at our sessions, business meeting, roundtables, and for a reception at the Tenderloin Museum.    I am certain that I am not alone in regretting the missed opportunity to engage with one another at our sessions, as well as to talk more informally in a variety of conference settings – from the book exhibit, to the crowded hallways where we would ordinarily gather between panels.

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Chair’s Message (Spring 2019)

Rachel Dwyer
Ohio State State University
2019 Spring, Vol. 32, No 2

This spring has brought me occasions to reflect on mentoring and public engagement as a bedrock of our activities as scholars and, when done well, a source of great meaning, connection, and fulfillment. One of those occasions has been the energy around mentoring in the Section. I’m proud to be part of the Community and Urban Sociology tradition of strong mentoring. We have several initiatives this spring that reflect and build on this tradition. Recently, a call went out to continue our highly successful mentoring meetings, initiated two years ago. We encourage senior volunteers to mentor junior scholars at the upcoming ASA meeting in New York, and we encourage all junior scholars interested in making mentoring connections to sign up to be matched with a more senior scholar. We are planning mentoring activities at the preconference, with more information to come this summer.

We are also proposing an amendment to our bylaws to create a formal “Mentoring Committee,” in order to further support and develop the work of the section. This proposal was developed under Chair Miriam Greenberg’s term, and as a result of research done by the Membership committee and an ad hoc Mentorship committee. The proposal to put the bylaws on the ballot was approved by the 2017-2018 Section Council and at the 2018 section business meeting at the ASA. I encourage all members to vote yes to the bylaw amendment to create a Mentoring Committee to continue to build on the energy and commitment to mentoring in our section. This initiative supports our current members, draws in new members as a major recognized benefit of this section, and builds community by connecting members to each other.

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Chair’s Message (Winter 2019)

Rachel Dwyer
Ohio State State University
CUSS Newsletter, 2019 Winter, Vol 32, No 1

Autumn 2018 has brought sobering reminders of the power of community, for good, but also for terror, for bringing people together, but also for erecting walls. In the worst cases, communities of hate encourage the vile impulses of oppressing and excluding any defined as “other”, even to the point of mass violence. Communities of hate all too often get goaded on and strengthened by powerful and cynical interests in the service of their own pedestrian wills toward greed and power. At the same time, our highest hopes of social inclusion and human flourishing arise out of strong and diverse communities that foster openness, connection, learning, and tolerance.

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Chair’s Message

Miriam Greenberg
UC Santa Cruz
CUSS Newsletter, Summer 2018, Vol 30, No 3

I am excited to see many of you in Philadelphia at our upcoming CUSS panels, business meeting, reception and related sessions and events.  Given the fraught state of our nation, its cities and communities, I find myself thinking more and more that the work we in CUSS do —as researchers and writers, teachers and mentors, citizens of academic departments and sections, and publicly engaged scholars— has never been more vital.  Core CUSS concerns intersect with and illuminate so many of the most contested issues of the day: immigration and citizenship, race and socio-spatial inequality, culture and representation, urbanization and the environment, social movements and the right to city.  Through our conversations about this work at our panels, gatherings, and mentorship meetings, we elevate modes of discourse—critical inquiry, collective support, and engaging across difference—that seem increasingly anathema to those in power, here and around the world.  And where better than the City of Brotherly Love to come together and have these conversations; collectively interrogate our current conjuncture, its history and possible futures; and celebrate and enliven the work and vision of our section?

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