Emory University’s James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference (JWJI) has appointed Emory sociology professor Tyrone Forman, a renowned scholar of social change, race and ethnic relations, as its new director. Forman is leading the institute’s work to build the JWJI as a national destination for interdisciplinary public scholarship and teaching on all aspects of modern civil rights, race and difference.
Forman’s appointment completes the merger begun last year of the original JWJI and the university’s Race and Difference Strategic Initiative, and sets the stage for an expansion of the institute’s original vision, including a deepening of rigorous scholarly exploration combined with a broadening of public scholarship that engages the Emory community, Atlanta and beyond. Forman formerly co-directed the race and difference initiative.
“I am thrilled that Tyrone Forman has agreed to serve as the director of the James Weldon Johnson Institute for Race and Difference. He is an accomplished sociologist, whose work on race, social conditions and opportunity speaks to the core of the Institute’s mission. I am confident that under his leadership we will see the flourishing of new initiatives, partnerships and research. We are fortunate that he has agreed to accept this appointment at this critical stage,” says Emory Provost Earl Lewis.
Forman replaces the late professor Rudolph P. Byrd, who founded the institute in 2007, and quickly built it into a national hub of modern civil rights scholarship. Byrd, the Goodrich C. White Professor of American Studies and a renowned scholar of African American literature and culture, died in October 2011 after a long illness.
One major initiative of the JWJI will be the Atlanta Area Study (AAS), a multi-disciplinary, collaborative initiative that seeks to strengthen research, teaching, and public decision-making related to race, difference and public policy. The present-day metro-Atlanta area, combined with its rich history, creates a complex case study for such scholarship and teaching, Forman says.
AAS will involve the collection of high quality social science data in the Atlanta metropolitan area that attempts to answer basic scholarly questions in the field of race and difference.
Read more: Beverly Clark, Emory