Kenneth Jackson Award for Best Book in North American Urban History
The Sanctuary City Immigrant, Refugee, and Receiving Communities in Postindustrial Philadelphia
(Cornell University Press, 2022)
Domenic Vitiello offers a book that is timely and important. His new work, Sanctuary City: Immigrant, Refugee, and Receiving Communities in Postindustrial Philadelphia (Cornell), takes on a broad reading of the concept of sanctuary in the twenty-first-century city. Vitiello writes, "Americans' fights over sanctuary and sanctuary cities are, at their heart, about which newcomers deserve protection and support and of what kinds" (1). Blending immigrant and urban history, Vitiello studies Central American, Southeast Asian, Liberian, Iraqi, Syrian, and Palestinian immigration to Pennsylvania's largest city. He asks "about these different groups' experiences of migration and settlement in Philadelphia and how they and their allies in receiving communities organized to address the problems they faced, to seek their own forms of sanctuary" (3). Vitiello came to this historical scholarship via activism, and his work reveals access to voices and documents that usually lay outside the scholarly grasp. The Sanctuary City poses a challenge: to current immigration policy and to the idea that welcoming immigrants and refugees with care and compassion causes harm. This gripping new text evolved from his course, "The Immigrant City," an offering that spurred and strengthened the research. Urban scholars have a lot of work to do on this subject, and Vitiello has given us a strong start. In the city of Sisterly Affection, and Brotherly Love, immigrants and refugees are neither uprooted or transplanted; instead, they are seeds of demographic, communal and economic transformations that enrich the urban environment as a whole. The Sanctuary City is deeply researched, wildly creative, and opens new ways of seeing and understanding urban America and its connectedness to the world.
Best Book in Non-North American Urban History
Cecilia L. Chu
Building Colonial Hong Kong: Speculative Development and Segregation in the City
In Building Colonial Hong Kong, Chu traces what she calls “speculative urbanism” where different constituencies–British developers, colonial officials, as well as property-owning and working-class Chinese–struggled over the politics of colonial difference and property rights in shaping the built environment. These struggles helped to determine racial and class segregation, the provision of urban services, and practices of cultural representation and identity formation. While the examples of opportunism and speculation chronicled in Building Colonial Hong Kong will resonate with those familiar with Hong Kong’s property market today, her exploration of the interplay between British colonial governance and the political practices of native propertied classes offer new insights into Hong Kong’s development. Engaging a broad, interdisciplinary, and geographically comparative body of literature, Chu moves beyond her case study to make bigger claims about the relationships and tensions among liberal property markets, racist exclusion, cultural representations, and various "improvement" schemes within urban colonial contexts.
Arnold Hirsch Award for Best Article in a Scholarly Journal
Todd M. Michney
"How the City Survey’s Redlining Maps Were Made: A Closer Look at HOLC’s Mortgagee Rehabilitation Division"
Journal of Urban History (2022)
“The Meanings of a Port City Boundary: Calcutta’s Maratha Ditch, c.1700–1950”
Past & Present (2022)
Michael Katz Award for Best Dissertation in Urban History
Matthew Pessar Joseph
Syncopating Segregation: Musical Cross-Pollination in Post-World War II New York City
Syncopating Segregation examines the mixed-race musical scenes that emerged in New York between 1945 and 1985. By characterizing these scenes as a “rise and fall of a socially democratic Gotham,” Dr. Joseph presents a “multiracial history of American popular culture.” To accomplish this, Dr. Joseph deploys a bilateral analytical framework that links studies of post-war urban segregation with scholarship on cross-cultural mediation to argue that Black, Latinx, queer, and white residents of post-World War II New York transcended boundaries of race, class, gender, and sexual orientation during a time when most scholars argue that New York grew more segregated.
While the field of urban history at times seems dominated by Gotham-centric studies, Dr. Joseph’s richly detailed analysis represents dogged, cross-cultural, and transnational research of archival, audio, and interview sources that provides new modes of thought for scholars, especially on how urban spaces change over time through race, class, and gender. As such, Dr. Joseph’s work speaks to different scholarly audiences, and does so with an elegant writing style.
Thank you to the members of our award committees for their work selecting this year's winners.
Kenneth Jackson Award
Lisa Krissoff Boehm
Luther Adams-Free Man of Color
Evan Jay Friss
Best Book in Non-North American Urban History Award
Michael Katz Award
René Luís Alvarez
Arnold Hirsch Award
Steven H. Corey