We are pleased to introduce a new initiative on the SACRPH Facebook page: the Guest Curator. This initiative comes to us from Nancy Kwak, who conceived and organized the project. Out chief concern is to expand the use of social media by SACRPH members in order to promote more sustained dialogue beyond the normal cycles of the biennial meeting and quarterly journal.
As many of you will recall, SACRPH used to publish a physical newsletter, but the effort became too great to sustain. To some degree, the Guest Curator initiative, along with the SACRPH web site, is an effort to rekindle the most useful features of the newsletter, but with the added bonus of a dynamic and interactive platform. Francesca Ammon has already established an RSS feed that will bring the curated dialogues to the SACRPH web site.
Our first Guest Curator will be David Freund, who I will introduce below. The role of the Guest Curator is to facilitate conversations about issues pertinent to SACRPH members. The GC will pose questions, post links to articles and projects, and generally endeavor to provoke discussions among members outside of the conference environment. This will be a kind of “SACRPH filter” for the cloud, bringing to members a variety of materials that might otherwise escape notice. Such materials will range across scholarship and practice, and the content of the posts will reflect the discerning interests of the Guest Curator.
We are indeed lucky to have David Freund aboard as our first curator. David is an historian of American metropolitan development, planning, and public policy at the University of Maryland. He is particularly interested in the political economy of the built environment, popular and academic narratives about economic growth, and the role of race and class in shaping modern American life. These interests come together brilliantly in his book Colored Property: State Policy and White Racial Politics in Suburban America (University of Chicago Press, 2007), which won a trifecta of best book awards from the OAH, the UHA, and the Urban Affairs Association–the latter being rare for a historian. David is also an active public historian, engaging in projects like the California Newsreel documentary Race: The Power of an Illusion and the United Nations Working Group on Housing Segregation and Discrimination in the U.S. His most recent publication is The Modern American Metropolis: A Documentary Reader (Wiley, 2015).
Please join me in thanking both Nancy Kwak and David Freund for launching this important initiative. I look forward to participating in the discussions!