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Every year since 2009 our flagship journal, the Annals of the American Association of Geographers, has published a special issue that highlights geographic research around a significant global theme.

The tenth special issue of the Annals, published in March 2018, brings together 27 articles on the topic of Social Justice and the City, edited by Nik Heynen. Over a two-year period, papers were sought from a wide spectrum of researchers from different parts of the world who explore the ways social justice and the city as a theme has evolved since helping bring in geography’s radical turn in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

This special issue reflects on the trajectory of urban social justice-oriented work within geography, the compelling and important research untaken to represent and contribute to these struggles, and the work that remains to be done to enact just practices across our various engagements within and around the academy.

While the collective insights across this special issue suggest there has been substantially more engagement with politically relevant and timely geographic questions of social justice over the span of the journal’s history, the special issue also helps shed light on the slow and painful pace of change with regard to significant inequalities in the discipline that shape our geographic knowledge production, our mutual intellectual thriving, and publishing within geography.

The contents of the special issue bring to light the colonial, racist, and masculinist history of geography that provides so much of the early foundation of the discipline.

In response to this history, the articles in this special issue collectively work toward setting new horizons for the discipline by working through themes such as racial/gendered/queer justice and the city; environmental justice and urban political ecology, decolonizing the city and segregation and inequality as well as other emancipatory ways of understanding the evolution of this theme over the last 40 years.

Special issue editor Nik Heynen says, “Central to goal of publishing this special issue on this theme is to continue to inspire a more emancipatory focus on social justice as it relates to how we produce geographic knowledge which necessitates renewed and vigilant attention to the embodied practices, cross-positional interactions, and often time, outright oppressive conditions some of us enact at the expense and harm of others. This special issue hopes to remind geographers how important it is to maintain urgency for social justice oriented work, but that this work cannot be meaningfully pursued without the work of dismantling the uneven social relations that shape our professional relationships, our research and our publishing. Questions this special issue should stimulate include how can we bring a renewed commitment beyond the published pages to guarantee that our departmental hallways, conference halls and other spaces where geographers interact are more socially just also? When will we come to realize that without ethical, everyday social relations embedded within our practice of publishing about social justice, our work will always lack in an emancipatory potential?”

The Annals of the AAG publishes six times a year (January, March, May, July, September and November). See the table of contents of the Social Justice and the City special issue or go to the T&F website to access the full articles. If you are interested in submitting a paper to the Annals, please refer to the information for authors.