Dr. Davarian Baldwin is the Paul E. Raether Distinguished Professor of American Studies at Trinity College and an OAH Distinguished Lecturer. His work as an urbanist, historian, and cultural critic examines the landscape of global cities through the lens of the African Diaspora experience. Dr. Baldwin’s research interests include universities and urban development, the racial foundations of academic thought, intellectual and mass culture, and Black radical thought and transnational social movements. He is the author of In the Shadow of the Ivory Tower: How Universities are Plundering Our Cities (Bold Type Books, 2021) and is currently working on Land of Darkness: Chicago and the Making of Race in Modern America (Oxford University Press).
Dr. Eugenia South is an assistant professor of emergency medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania as well as the Faculty Director of the Penn Urban Health Lab. Her research focuses on how the physical and social attributes of where people live impact their health, wellbeing, and safety. Dr. South piloted a trial of vacant lot greening, the first prospective experimental analysis of a community greening intervention, and has been published in JAMA Network Open, PNAS, and AJPH. She has also been featured in popular media outlets, including NPR, NBC News, and TIME. Dr. South is currently working on a project evaluating the impact of abandoned building remediation on chronic stress as well as an evaluation of NatureRX, a program intended to increase youth exposure to urban green space.
Dr. Rebecca Amato is a public humanities scholar-activist and the Director of Teaching and Learning at Illinois Humanities. She also runs the The Odyssey Project, a program that offers free courses for college credit in literature, philosophy, art history, and U.S. history to adults who have had limited access to higher education. Her scholarship has focused on the intersections between cities, space, place, and memory with the goal of mobilizing the public humanities for social justice advocacy. Her work has been published in Urban Omnibus, Radical History Review, City Courant, and New York magazine.
Arielle Hersh is an MS candidate at Hunter College, where she studies Urban Policy and Leadership. She is assistant director at The Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, an organization which creates and supports community-led and controlled affordable housing in New York City and beyond. Hersh has also worked as an Urban Democracy Lab assistant and as IMPACCT Brooklyn’s Economic Development Outreach Coordinator.
Dr. Nicole King is an associate professor in the Department of American Studies at the University of Maryland Balitmore County, as well as the director of the Orser Center for the Study of Place, Community, and Culture. She is the co-founder of the Baltimore Traces: Communities in Transition, a public humanities project in which students complete oral history interviews with local partners to research historic neighborhoods and preserve the opinions of their inhabitants. Her research centers on issues of place, power, and economic development. Dr. King is the editor of Baltimore Revisited: Stories of Inequality and Resistance in a U.S. City (Rutgers University Press, 2019).
Dr. Marianne Magjuka is the Assistant Dean of Students and Executive Director of the Office of Civic & Community Engagement at Wake Forest University. Through her work with the OCCE, she develops pathways for students, faculty, and staff to engage in the Winston Salem community. Dr. Magjuka established and directs the Winston Salem Community Action Coalition, an AmeriCorps*VISTA project focused on economic empowerment. In addition to her roles on Wake Forest’s campus, Dr. Magjuka serves on the research, education, and advocacy committee of the Women’s Fund of Winston-Salem, and is on the advisory board for North Carolina Campus Compact.
Dr. Yasser Payne is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at the University of Delaware. He has organized a street ethnographic research program which uses an unconventional methodological framework, Street Participatory Action Research. This program works with street identified Black populations on research teams exploring notions of resiliency with the streets of Black and Brown America. Dr. Payne’s recent projects include The People’s Report: The Link between Structural Violence and Crime in Wilmington, Delaware, a study which empirically documented the impact of community violence in the Eastside and Southbridge neighborhoods of Wilmington, Delaware. Dr. Payne is currently leading two projects researching gun violence in Wilmington, Delaware and on a national scale.
Ms. Nicole Thomas is the Director of the Penn Urban Health Lab, a position from which she has worked to foster and support collaborations between under-resourced communities, academic institutions, and other stakeholders to achieve sustainable community and individual level change. She has worked in areas including youth violence prevention, leadership development, and healthy food access, and continues to strive to address the health and socioeconomic challenges of underserved communities through mutually beneficial community-academic partnerships. Ms. Thomas is also the co-founder of the Penn Community Scholars Program, an initiative that has successfully trained community members to conduct research using a community-based participatory research approach.
Ivan Weiss is an assistant professor of the practice in Wake Forest’s Journalism Program, in addition to working as a documentary filmmaker, writer, and photographer. His film projects have explored subjects ranging from segregation and gentrification to the experience of musical performances and athletic events. Professor Weiss is also interested in engaging with place and landscape in his projects. He is the co-founder of The Truth and Authenticity Lab, a course which explores pressing philosophical questions through the tools of journalism and documentary storytelling. Professor Weiss currently leads a committee to develop an anti-racist curriculum for Wake Forest’s Journalism Program.