Call for Submissions: Uniting Detroiters People’s Atlas Project


The Uniting Detroiters Project is seeking submissions from current and former Detroit residents, activists, students, scholars, visual artists, poets, and cartographers for Detroit: A People’s Atlas. They are interested in critical essays, oral histories, timelines, neighborhood maps, poetry, photographs, and other forms of artwork that speak to social justice in Detroit, particularly in relationship to land, governance, education, food justice, housing, and transit.

The Uniting Detroiters Project aims to bring Detroiters together. We believe that collective study and reflection are important for creating a more just and equitable city. With the recent appointment of an emergency manager and the increasing privatization of our Commons, such analysis is urgent. The “People’s Atlas” – which is envisioned as a collective writing and mapping project—has two overarching goals. First, it aims to offer critical analyses that connect political-economic reconfigurations underway in the city (e.g., the state takeover, austerity, the investor driven development, Detroit Works Project, and privatization) histories of racialized dispossession and broader structural changes taking place in other cities across the country and globe. Second, it seeks to take stock of social justice work happening across Detroit and build movement in the process.  Through these visions and stories we will counter the narrative about the city often portrayed by the corporate media and many of our politicians.

The Atlas will be written for the broadest public. We will be seeking to publish the Atlas through an established local press. We expect a first draft of the Atlas to be available for review in late fall 2013.

Assistance for mapping and oral histories

If you are interested in organizing a neighborhood mapping initiative or conducting oral histories, we are able to provide some technical assistance. Maps and oral histories will be a critical component of the Atlas. The Atlas is based on the idea that creating maps isn’t just about knowing where things are, it is about asserting control, claiming space and place, and making demands on our leaders. We think residents should have their own maps that can provide a response to the re-mapping and development that is happening in the city. Oral histories are important for their role in bringing voice to both current and historical events and help to infuse meaning and continuity across generations.

Submission process

If you are interested in submitting a critical essay, oral history, timeline, poem, map, or visual artwork, please email us a brief cover letter and an abstract that describes the content of the piece and how it relates to the goals of the Atlas.
Email abstracts and queries to Heidi Bisson at Please put “People’s Atlas Abstract” or “People’s Atlas Query” in your email heading. Abstracts should be no more than 300 words, doubled space and include a preliminary title, and be attached to emails as Word or pdf documents. Include your name and contact information on the abstract as well as in the cover letter. Please use 12- point, Times New Roman font.  We welcome submission by traditional mail as well.  Please mail to:  Linda S. Campbell 2795 East Grand Blvd. Detroit, Michigan 48211

Deadline for all abstract submissions is May 15th.

We will respond to everyone who submits an abstract by June 15th. Upon review and acceptance for publication by the Atlas editorial board, individuals will be invited to submit a full piece for publication. A final draft would be due by August 15th.  If your abstract is accepted we will send a Memorandum of Understanding and details specifying style guidelines and authorship agreements.

Editors & Advisory Board

The project is being overseen by a ten member editorial advisory board of activist, residents, and academics. The board includes: Shane Bernardo, Linda Campbell, Wayne Curtis, Shea Howell, Carmen Mendoza King, Andrew Newman, Gregg Newsom, Lottie Spady, Sara Safransky, and Aaron Timlin. The board helps shape the structure and content of the Atlas and provides guidance to the editors. The Atlas will be edited by Linda Campbell, Andrew Newman, and Sara Safransky. Campbell is the director of Building Movement-Detroit. Newman is an urban anthropologist teaching at Wayne State. Safransky is a doctoral student of critical geography at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.


The Detroit: A Peoples Atlas project is funded in part by the Antipode Foundation. The Antipode Foundation produces Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography (see and supports critical geographical research, education, and scholarship. Support from these grants provides technical assistance, organizational capacity, and copy editing for the Atlas.

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