I have published four monographs on urban history. My first book is on twentieth century Chicago history and the second on African American women and the Second Great Migration, 1940-1970. I am also the co-editor of the textbook, The American Urban Reader: History and Theory, on Routledge (2010). My new book, America’s Urban history, co-written with Steven H. Corey, was recently published. I served as the guest editor for the January 2010 edition of The Journal of Urban History. I currently serve as the Interim Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences at Worcester State University in Worcester, Massachusetts, where I also hold tenure as a professor of urban studies. Previously, I was Senior Associate Dean and Professor of History at Emmanuel College, and Visiting Assistant Professor of American History at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. I also taught extensively at Indiana University. My work focuses on twentieth century U.S. urban history with a focus on race, gender, and class.
I earned my B.A. in history and English from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. I earned my M.A. in Interdisciplinary Social Science from The University of Chicago, where I was advised by urban geographer Michael Conzen and took classes with urban historian Kathleen Neils Conzen. I earned a Ph.D. in modern American history, with subfields in American Studies and global women’s history, from Indiana University-Bloomington in 1999. John Bodnar served as my advisor at Indiana. At Indiana, I served as a teaching assistant and president of the history graduate student association. As a graduate student I won a number of substantial grants, and taught my own courses in history, education, women’s studies, and American Studies. I designed a history skills course that became the model for other disciplines.
My first book, Popular Culture and the Enduring Myth of Chicago, 1871-1968 (Routledge, 2004) was introduced in paperback, kindle, and electronic versions in 2008. My second book, Making a Way out of No Way: African American Women and the Second Great Migration (University Press of Mississippi, 2009) was based on archival research and forty original oral histories with women migrants. The work was also supported with grants from my home institution, the Schlesinger Library of the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University, the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan, and the Baylor University Institute for Oral History, where I was the research fellow from 2007-2008. I am pleased that the oral histories—both the transcripts and the recordings—will be part of the permanent archival collections of the Schlesinger Library, as well as the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan. I gave an address based on the book at the venues around the country, including The Chicago History Museum, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids Phillips Exeter Academy, and the Schlesinger Library, Harvard University.
The anthology, The American Urban Reader: History and Theory, co-edited with colleague Steven H. Corey, was published by Taylor and Francis in 2010. The reader opens with an extended essay on the history of urban history, written by Steven Corey and myself. I also crafted an essay on African American women, work, and migration for the volume. The reader contains 36 seminal essays and a broad array of documents.
In July 2008, I published a book chapter, “Chicago as Forgotten Country Music Mecca,” in the book The Hay Loft Gang: The History of the National Barn Dance (University of Illinois Press), edited Chad Berry. The book is the companion book for the PBS documentary, The Hay Loft Gang, funded by Kentucky public television.
Outside of my work for The American Urban Reader, I have written two other book chapters, “Bringing the Life Stories of Women into the Classroom,” in Barry Lanman and Laura Wendling’s edited collection, Preparing the Next Generation of Oral Historians: An Anthology of Oral History Education (Alta Mira Press, 2006) and “The Environment and Ecology of New England,” in New England Regional Culture, Michael Sletcher, editor (Greenwood Press, 2004). I have written an essay, “Adding Gender to Urban History,” for the Journal of Urban History, and, as stated above, I am the guest editor for the entire January 2010 edition, which is devoted to urban history. My work also appeared in the Journal of Urban History in 2006, when I published the comparative review essay “Urban Activism Through a Gendered Lens.”