Vulnerable Communities: Research, Policy, and Practice

James Connolly's picture
Call for Papers
November 1, 2017
Indiana, United States
Subject Fields: 
American History / Studies, Public Policy, Rural History / Studies, Urban Design and Planning, Urban History / Studies

Social and political unease surrounding wide differences in regional economic performance has troubled Americans for more than a generation. Job losses due to international trade and automation, coupled with rapid urbanization, have had especially dramatic effects on small cities, towns, and rural communities.  While geographic variation in economic growth is not new, it appears more pronounced today than in the recent past. Recent research suggests that many of these places are at increased risk of job loss, population decline, and associated social problems as these trends accelerate in the coming years. Additionally, political turbulence during the 2016 election cycle has led to increased policy interest in the nonmetropolitan settings where these difficulties are most acute. These challenges call for extended scholarly research with a policy or applied focus. Effectively confronting challenges facing nonmetropolitan communities requires better understanding the many dimensions of vulnerable communities, and encouraging interaction between academics who study these issues and policy makers who address them. The 2018 Small Cities Conference at Ball State University brings these two groups together to facilitate this process.

The conference organizers seek proposals for papers and/or panels that examine the economic and social challenges facing nonmetropolitan, vulnerable communities from a variety of perspectives. In particular we welcome scholarship that considers the following:

* economic and policy dimensions of these problem

* the social and cultural factors that help create resilient communities

* the planning challenges facing these places

* the capacity of local and state government to address the consequences of recent economic shocks 

Proposals for individual papers or fully formed panels (three papers) are welcome.  A proposal for a single paper should be no more than one page and should outline the substance of the planned paper and its relevance to the conference theme. Panel proposals should be no more than four pages and include an outline of the substance of each paper as well as an explanation of their relevance to the conference theme. Papers will circulate among conference participants in advance.  Please also include a brief vita for each proposed presenter (maximum two pages).

Proposals and inquiries should be directed to

The deadline for proposals is November 1 2017, with notice of acceptance by November 30, 2017. The deadline for completed paper submissions will be March 30, 2018.

Conference Registration will be $150 and will include meals.  A small number of bursaries will be available for graduate students and scholars without access to institutional support to defray travel and registration costs.  Please indicate interest in such support when you submit your proposal. 

The conference organizers will seek to publish some or all of the conference contributions in an edited volume with permission from the authors.  The author of the best paper in the conference, as chosen by the organizers, will receive a $1,000 prize and a refund of their conference fee.

Contact Info: 

Dagney Faulk, Ball State University

James Connolly, Ball State University

Contact Email: