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RSF Bulletin

New Book: Sites Unseen: Uncovering Hidden Hazards in American Cities

From a dive bar in New Orleans to a leafy residential street in Minneapolis, many establishments and homes in cities across the nation share a troubling and largely invisible past: they were once sites of industrial manufacturers, such as plastics factories or machine shops, that likely left behind carcinogens and other hazardous industrial byproducts. In a new RSF book, Sites Unseen: Uncovering Hidden Hazards in American Cities, sociologists Scott Frickel (Brown University) and James R. Elliott (Rice University) uncover the hidden histories of these sites and document how they are produced and reincorporated into urban landscapes with limited or no regulatory oversight.

The authors investigate potentially hazardous sites in four cities—New Orleans, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, and Portland, Oregon. Using original data assembled and mapped for thousands of former manufacturers’ locations dating back to the 1950s, they find that more than 90 percent of such sites have now been converted to urban amenities such as parks, homes, and storefronts with almost no environmental review. Because manufacturers tend to open plants on non-industrial lots rather than on lots previously occupied by other manufacturers, associated hazards continue to spread across the cities. As they do, residential turnover driven by gentrification and rising urban housing costs obscure the potential hazards at these sites from residents and regulatory agencies alike. Frickel and Elliott show that these hidden hazards have serious consequences. While minority and working-class neighborhoods are still more likely to attract hazardous manufacturers, rapid turnover in cities means that whites and middle-income groups also face increased risk. By revealing this legacy of our industrial past, Sites Unseen spotlights how city-making is a process of social and environmental transformation and risk containment.

Read more or purchase a copy of the book.


Two New Issues of RSF Journal

Two new issues of RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences are now available on the journal site. “Immigration and Changing Identities,” edited by immigration scholars Kay Deaux (CUNY Graduate Center), Katharine Donato (Georgetown University), and Nancy Foner (Hunter College, CUNY Graduate Center), investigates how increased immigration to the U.S. from Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and elsewhere has reshaped the way that both newcomers and the native-born see themselves and others in terms of race, ethnicity, and national identity.
Browse the full open-access issue.

“The Fiftieth Anniversary of the Kerner Commission Report,” edited by edited by political scientist Susan Gooden (Virginia Commonwealth University) and economist Samuel Myers (University of Minnesota), explores the legacy of the 1968 Kerner Report, which was released in the wake of widespread urban unrest and warned that the nation was “moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal.” Contributors revisit the Kerner report’s conclusions and recommendations five decades after its publication and discuss how the report’s implications for an analysis of racial disparities in the twenty-first century.
Browse the full open-access issue.


New Books for Fall 2018

A look at new and forthcoming books from RSF for fall 2018 is now available on the website. The list includes Starving the Beast, an analysis of the origins of the tax cut movement in the U.S. by Monica Prasad (Northwestern University); Administrative Burden, an examination of how bureaucracy, complicated paperwork, and other administrative burdens can undermine public policy, by Pamela Herd and Donald Moynihan (Georgetown University); Golden Years?, a study of social inequality among older Americans by Deborah Carr (Boston University); and Origins and Destinations, a new perspective on the factors that influence the life trajectories of second-generation immigrants, by Renee Luthra (University of Essex), Thomas Soehl (McGill University), and Roger Waldinger (University of California, Los Angeles).

Read more.


RSF Partners with JPB Foundation on Biology and Social Science Initiative

The Russell Sage Foundation is pleased to announce the JPB Foundation as a partner in the special initiative on Integrating Biology and Social Science Knowledge (BioSS). This joint initiative supports new research and training on how individual biological processes interact with the social environment and influence the ways that social inequalities are initiated, maintained, and transmitted from one generation to the next.

Read more about the collaboration


RSF Welcomes Visiting Scholar Class of 2018-2019

This month RSF welcomes fifteen visiting scholars, visiting researchers Tom Tyler (Yale University) and Rosemary Taylor (Tufts University), and visiting journalists Cara Fitzpatrick and Alexis Okeowo. While in residence, they will each pursue projects that reflect RSF’s commitment to strengthening the social sciences and applying research more effectively to important social problems. The visiting scholars of 2018-2019 are:

Read more about the visiting scholars’ projects.


Funding Opportunities: Future of Work; Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration; Behavioral Economics; and Special Initiatives

RSF is accepting letters of inquiry until November 30, 2018 at 2pm ET/11am PT in the Future of Work, Race, Ethnicity and Immigration, and Behavioral Economics programs, as well as the special initiatives on Non-Standard Employment, Immigration and Immigrant Integration, and Computational Social Science (CSS). Please note that the request for proposals in the CSS initiative has been updated, with a new priority research topic on algorithmic bias/fairness.

View all funding deadlines and application guidelines.


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