Areas of expertise
Areas of expertise: U.S. History, especially 20th century civil rights and social reform, comparative race and ethnicity, the U.S. West, environmental, health, and urban history.
Ph.D., M.A.,Stanford University 2003
B.A.,UC Berkeley 1994
Assistant Professor of History
August 16, 2004 - August 16, 2010
Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Latino Studies
September 01, 2003 - August 01, 2004
Associate Professor of History
August 16, 2010 - present
My research projects focus on civil rights, race and ethnicity, urban history, environmental health, the U.S. West, and social reform in 20th century U.S. history. My first book, Bridges of Reform: Interracial Civil Rights Activism in Twentieth-Century Los Angeles (Oxford University Press, 2011), reinterprets U.S. civil rights activism by revealing its roots in the interracial efforts of Mexican, Jewish, African, and Japanese Americans in mid-century Los Angeles, and showing how the early Cold War facilitated, rather than derailed, some forms of activism. I am currently working on two studies. Jewish Americans in the American Century integrates Jewish Americans into twentieth-century U.S. history, revealing how they shaped twentieth-century U.S. history in previously unrecognized, and central, ways, particularly in terms of secularism, foreign policy, civil rights, feminism, and political liberalism more broadly. The second project examines the environmental justice activism of multiracial working class, immigrant neighborhoods in Chicago from the early through mid twentieth century.
1. “The ‘Garbage Ladies’ of the Settlements: Environmental Justice in Progressive-Era Chicago,” under revision for resubmission.
2. Jewish Americans in the American Century (book proposal under review at Johns Hopkins University Press)
3. Bridges of Reform: Interracial Civil Rights Activism in Twentieth-Century Los Angeles (Oxford University Press, 2011)
4. “Interracial Activism in the Los Angeles Community Service Organization: Linking the World War II and Civil Rights Eras,” Pacific Historical Review vol. 80, no. 2 (May 2011)
5. “From the Southwest to the Nation: Interracial Civil Rights Activism in the Sunbelt Southwest,” in Michelle Nickerson and Darren Dochuk, eds., Sunbelt Rising: The Politics of Space, Place, and Region in the American South and Southwest (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011)
6. “From Civic Defense to Civil Rights: the Growth of Jewish-American Interracial Civil Rights Activism in Los Angeles,” University of Southern California’s Casden Institute Journal, special volume on Jewish Los Angeles (Spring 2010)
7. “California Goes National: the Long 1950s,” chapter in William Deverell and David Igler, eds., The Blackwell Companion to California History (November 2008)
8. “From California to the Nation: Rethinking the History of 20th Century U.S. Civil Rights Struggles through a Mexican-American, and Multiracial, Lens,” Berkeley La Raza Law Journal, Vol. 18 (2007)
1. Gordon Mantler, Power to the Poor: Black-Brown Coalition and the Fight for Economic Justice, 1960-1974, in American Historical Review (February 2014)
2. Patrick D. Lukens, A Quiet Victory for Latino Rights: FDR and the Controversy over “Whiteness,” in Journal of American Studies (May 2013)
3. Brian D. Behnken, Fighting their Own Battles: Mexican Americans, African Americans, and the Struggle for Civil Rights in Texas, in Pacific Historical Review (November 2012)
4. Mark A. Weitz, The Sleepy Lagoon Murder Case: Race Discrimination and Mexican-American Rights, in Pacific Historical Review (February 2012)
5. Neil Foley, Quest for Equality: The Failed Promise of Black-Brown Solidarity, in American Historical Review (December 2011)
6. Emilio Zamora, Claiming Rights and Wrongs in Texas: Mexican Workers and Job Politics during World War II, in Western Historical Quarterly (Autumn 2010)
7. Ellen M. Eisenberg, The First to Cry Down Injustice? Western Jews and Japanese Removal during WWII, in American Jewish History (December 2009)
8. Scott Kurashige, The Shifting Grounds of Race: Black and Japanese Americans in the Making of Multiethnic Los Angeles, in Southern California Quarterly (Fall 2008)
9. Matthew C. Whitaker, Race Work: the Rise of Civil Rights in the Urban West, Western Historical Quarterly (Spring 2007)
10. Martin Schiesl and Mark M. Dodge, eds., City of Promise: Race and Historical Change in Los Angeles, in Southern California Quarterly (Winter 2006/07)
11. Douglas Flamming, Bound for Freedom: Black Los Angeles in Jim Crow America, in Journal of Southern History (May 2006)
Seminars & Presentations
- “Discussion of Twelve Years a Slave” with American Studies majors, Northwestern University (November 2013).
- “Allies in the Struggle for Civil Rights: Mexican American and Jewish Relations in a Time of Change,” Chicano/Latino
- Panel Discussant, Newberry Seminar in Borderlands and Latino Studies, Newberry Library (March 2013).
- “Nazis, Red-Baiting, and Civil Rights: Jewish Americans as Interracial Activists in Twentieth-Century Los Angeles,”
- “Immigration: The ‘Second Wave’ Reimagined,” lecture and discussion, Texas Humanities Institute,
- “Nazis, Red-Baiting, and Civil Rights: Jewish Americans as Interracial Activists in Twentieth-Century
- Undergraduate Lecture on Bridges of Reform: Interracial Civil Rights Activism in Twentieth-Century Los Angeles and
in Progressive-Era Chicago,” UT San Antonio (February 2012).
- Discussion of Bridges of Reform: Interracial Civil Rights Activism in Twentieth-Century Los Angeles,
- "From Civic Defense to Civil Rights: the Growth of Jewish-American Interracial Civil Rights
- “Rethinking the Civil Rights Movement,” presentation/workshop at the Presidential Timeline
University of Texas, Austin (June 2011).
- “Interracial Bridges: Civil Rights Activism in 20th Century Los Angeles,” Interdisciplinary Workshop on
- “From the Southwest to the Nation: Interracial Civil Rights Activism in the Sunbelt Southwest,” Workshop on
- “Collaborating against Conservatism: Jewish-Mexican American Civil Rights Coalitions in Cold War
UC Irvine (January 2006).
- “California Dreaming: Multiracial Civil Rights Activism in Mid-Twentieth Century Los Angeles,” Huntington-
Honors & Awards
My work has received awards, grants, and recognition from the Huntington Library, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Cullen Foundation, the Feinstein Center for American Jewish History, the Historical Society of Southern California/the John Randolph and Dora Haynes Foundation, and the Jewish Community Endowment Newhouse Fund. I also was selected as a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Latino Studies at Northwestern University and as a Southwestern Brown, Jr. fellow. For my teaching, I received Stanford's Centennial Teaching Award. I am currently a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians.
Specific subjects or issues you can knowledgeably discuss:
California history in the 20th century Race in 1900 to 1950 America Immigration in late 19th to early 20th century America
I am willing to talk to the media: yes
I am willing to talk to community groups about my area of expertise: no
Can you do interviews in Spanish? no
Other languages you are fluent in:
Experience with the news media (especially electronic media):