Michan Connor, Ph.D., assistant professor of Interdisciplinary Studies, will spend the 2012-13 academic year on leave from UTA as a Visiting Scholar at the James Weldon Johnson Institute (JWJI) at Emory University in Atlanta. The JWJI, an interdisciplinary research institute funded by the Mellon Foundation, supports research on the history and ongoing legacy of the civil rights movement and its connections to other movements for justice and equality.
Connor will spend his time in residency in Atlanta researching the historical roots and contemporary politics of a movement by residents of several of Atlanta’s northern suburbs to separate from Fulton County and form a separate Milton County. Opponents have argued that this move would exacerbate significant racial inequalities in the metropolitan area and institutionalize racial and class segregation, while proponents contend that their effort is unrelated to race and simply seeks to empower local communities. By studying how those communities were formed in a longer historical perspective, he will explore links between community, local government, and open and hidden forms of racial ideology to evaluate the claim made by several prominent sociologists that the fragmentation of metropolitan areas into communities of high and low opportunity is the most important civil rights challenge of our time.