15 Mar 2021 Editor’s Statement
Atlanta Studies 2021 Editor’s Statement
Ben Miller, Emory University
Atlanta Studies is a peer-reviewed journal, blog, network, and symposium series focusing on urban studies of the greater metropolitan Atlanta region. It represents a consortium bridging academia, industry, the community, and the public sector as we look to better understand and share the history and challenges that shape this amazing, pivotal place. By offering a forum with which to share scholarship by academics, activists, journalists, policy makers, Atlanta Studies offers a space for deep engagement with the region, its history, and its potential futures.
Now entering its 10th year, as the Editor and someone there when Atlanta Studies was first proposed, I would like to take a moment to reflect. Atlanta is home to many strong institutions. Too frequently, however, those institutions operate in silos. When Atlanta Studies was started by a group representing Georgia State University and Emory University, and soon thereafter, Kennesaw State, the Georgia Institute of Technology, the Atlanta University Center Consortium, and Community and Economic Development at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, the group saw three core problems. First, that without collaboration across institutions, there wasn’t an interdisciplinary cohort with whom to conduct research in urban studies of Atlanta. Second, that despite the research-based insights that group might generate, there were limited venues through which to share that research. And third, that any outcomes from that work needed to include the broader community in order to be truly meaningful.
Atlanta Studies addressed those challenges by providing a home for scholarship and by connecting people from various professional and intellectual backgrounds. Over the past ten years, our journal has sponsored seven international symposia featuring hundreds of presentations by planners, scholars, and community members to an audience of thousands. It has published reviews of books about Atlanta, like Professor Jocelyn Wilson’s discussion of The Autobiography of Gucci Mane and how such works can help us understand the complex relationship between cultural production and racial and economic inequalities. It has published commemorations of moments in the lives of those no longer with us, such as Dr. Lisa Shannon’s reflection on what it was like to study with Professor Jacqueline Anne Rouse (1950-2020), Clif Stratton’s history of the complex conversations centered on commemorations of Hank Aaron, and Michael Camp’s revisiting of John Lewis’s Forgotten Fight: The Mariel Cubans in Atlanta. It has drawn attention to under-reported events, such as the 60th anniversary of the bombing of the English Avenue School in 1960, one of a series of racist bombings meant to terrorize a city at the center of the burgeoning civil rights movement. In brief, Atlanta Studies has grown to provide a unique forum where thought about culture, planning, history, and the future of the greater metropolitan region can coexist and inform the city’s collective path forward.
As we enter the journal’s 10th year, I want to thank our contributors and board members in 2020 who worked often under extremely challenging personal circumstances. I also want to encourage those of you in the community to take part – submit your work, present at and attend the annual symposium, share your thoughts and experiences that will help us all better understand the city, the region and its challenges, history, people, and possible futures.
Cover photos, clockwise from top left:
Hank Aaron and Mayor Ivan Allen Jr During An Interview In The Locker Room, 1969. AJCP139-024b, Atlanta Journal-Constitution Photographic Archives. Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library. Courtesy of Georgia State University.
English Avenue School Entrance, courtesy of Atlanta Preservation Center.
Inmates Gather on the Roof to Hang Messages for The Press Corps, 1987. AJCP452-147g, Atlanta Journal-Constitution Photographic Archives. Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library. Courtesy of Georgia State University.