Mission of the Urban Scholar Blog
At some point as an academic, we have to hold ourselves accountable outside of the classroom and off the pages we write. We have to rethink why we do what we do and how we aid in the operation of mediocrity and ignorance. We are good at pointing out what others do wrong and own social location but there are many instances where we ask the wrong questions. I too have shared in this tradition.
Maybe its because we live multiple lives. We tend to see ourselves as 'experts' in particular fields. Many of us tend to insecure about our position in the academy. We find comfort in our disciplinary homes and circles of discussion. Yet with all of our advancements into theoretical frameworks and methodological approaches, we tend to create more environments of ignorance. Maybe its because we tend to talk to ourselves.
We could easily blame policymakers for not hearing us. We could blame the policymaking process for not readily responding to our studies. However, does that do anything to change public opinion and public discourse. It's always interesting being a younger, faculty of color as I discuss social issues with non-academics. There is a lot resentment about the way the world is progressing. There is also a lot of hope for how we can change things. Regardless of our social status, it is important that we engage in such dialogue.
This blog will serve as meeting space for my own confusion, for my own ignorance. I never claim to be the 'expert' of anything because in the world of public policy and urban studies, things change. We are not dealing with finite objects, but human behavior. I want to understand how people affect the formation and implementation of public policy and how public policy changes the lives of those same individuals. I want to understand how neighborhoods have stayed the same and how much they have changed. I want to understand my own process of growing up in black, poor neighborhood in Philly to teaching at a PWI in Colorado Springs. To be an urban scholar is to question cities and social life.
For me, it is simple. This blog will be a reflection with my own battle with ignorance. It will help me raise new questions. It will give you further insight into who I am and what I do and how I think about things. It will also give you insight into who I want to be, what I want to do, and how my thinking may change. The beauty will be in the process itself.