Dr. Themis Chronopoulos is a Lecturer in American History and Culture at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, U.K. His research focuses primarily on urban history and public policy since 1945 with an emphasis on race, ethnicity, inequality, urban governance, and neighborhood change. He has previously been a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, U.S.A., has taught at various universities in the United States, and has held a visiting position at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. Chronopoulos is the author of Spatial Regulation in New York City: From Urban Renewal to Zero Tolerance (New York: Routledge, 2011), which was awarded the 2012 Arthur Miller Centre First Book Prize for the best first book in American Studies from the British Association for American Studies. Moreover, Chronopoulos is the co-editor of After the Urban Crisis: New York and the Rise of Inequality (along with Jonathan Soffer), which will appear in a special issue of the Journal of Urban History in 2016. He is currently working on a book entitled When the Government Disappears: Inadequate Municipal Service Delivery and the Decline of New York City, 1945-1981, and is co-editing with Christopher Agee a collection entitled Urban America and the Police since World War II. Chronopoulos has been elected to the Board of Directors of the Urban History Association and is a member of various scholarly organizations including the Society for American City & Regional Planning History and the Organization of American Historians.
Dr. Michelle D. Commander is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English and the Program in Africana Studies at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, TN. Commander teaches courses and conducts research on twentieth and twenty-first century African American literature, cultural studies, diasporic literatures, and Black social movements. Commander spent the 2012-2013 school year in Accra, Ghana, as a Fulbright Lecturer/Researcher, where she taught at the University of Ghana, and completed follow-up ethnographic research for her book manuscript, Afro-Atlantic Speculative Flights: Return, Imagined Africas, and the Black Fantastic (under contract with Duke University Press). Afro-Atlantic Speculative Flights asks how African descendants in the New World have extended the legacy of the Flying Africans, variously mythologized peoples who, upon realizing the extent of their plights as slaves, decided to ascend into flight in order to return back to their African homelands. Throughout Afro-Atlantic Speculative Flights, Commander examines how writers, tourists, urban planners, and activists in the post-civil rights era imagine the Africas to which diasporans might escape, belong, and feel free through the lens of what she refers to as Afro-Atlantic speculation: a series of imaginings, including literary texts, films, and geographic sites that envision the possibilities for return flights back to Africa. Her analysis of selected post-1965 Black American cultural production is situated alongside acts—multilayered narratives that are performed by a cast of actual traveling characters, including Black American tourists and expatriates, tour industries, traditional spiritual faith leaders and healers, and market vendors located in Ghana; Bahia, Brazil; and the U.S. South. Commander’s research agenda has been supported by The Ford Foundation, the Fulbright Foundation, and several University of Tennessee awards.
Dr. Julia Leyda is Senior Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, Potsdam, as well as Fellow with the DFG Research Unit “Popular Seriality: Aesthetics and Practice” and Senior Research Fellow at the Graduate School for North American Studies, both at the John F. Kennedy Institute, Freie Universität Berlin. In August 2016, she will take up an Associate Professorship of Film Studies in the Department of Art and Media Studies at NTNU Trondheim. She has edited or co-edited Todd Haynes: Interviews (UP of Mississippi, 2014), Extreme Weather and Global Media (with Diane Negra, Routledge, 2015), and Post-Cinema: Theorizing 21st-Century Film (with Shane Denson, REFRAME, 2016). She is author of American Mobilities: Class, Race, and Gender in US Culture (Transcript, 2016), and is working on two new books: Home Economics: The Financialization of Domestic Space in 21st-Century US Screen Culture and Cultural Affordances of Cli-Fi: 21st-Century Scenarios of Climate Futures.