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Mellon Initiative in Urban Landscape Studies Advisory Board

Alice Nash

Alice Nash, Advisory Board Chair, is associate professor of history at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She holds a PhD in history from Columbia University (1997) and an MA in American and New England Studies from Boston University (1989). Her research interests range from the impact of colonization on family and gender relations in Wabanaki history before 1800 to current issues such as the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. She has published numerous articles on northeastern Native American history including three in French translation in the Quebec journal Recherches amérindiennes au Québec (RAQ). In 2003–2004, she was awarded the first Fulbright-Université de Montréal Distinguished Chair. During this year, she served on the RAQ editorial board and taught a course on the Deerfield Raid of 1704, connecting New England and New France. Her most recent publication is “Indigenous Peoples of the Americas to 1900,” published in The Routledge Handbook to the History and Society of the Americas (2019), which she coedited with Olaf Kaltmeier, Josef Raab, Michael Stewart Foley, Stefan Rinke, and Mario Rufer. She is the recipient of four grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities (2013, 2015, 2017, and 2019) to serve as director or codirector of Teaching Native American Histories, a Summer Institute for K–12 teachers drawn from a national pool of applicants. 

Watch Alice Nash discuss how the continued creation of Indigenous Studies collections and scholarship will help expand and indigenize our understandings of Democracy and Urban Landscapes.

Eric Avila

Eric Avila is professor and chair of the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. He received his BA, MA, and PhD in American history from the University of California, Berkeley. He has taught Chicano Studies and History at UCLA since 1997 and was promoted to associate professor in 2004. He is the author of Popular Culture in the Age of White Flight: Fear and Fantasy in Suburban Los Angeles, published by the University of California Press in 2004. His research has won various awards and prizes, including the recent inclusion of his article “Popular Culture in the Age of White Flight: Film Noir Disneyland, and the Cold War (Sub)Urban Imaginary,” published in the Journal of Urban History within a new publication by the Organization of American Historians featuring the ten best articles in American history written between the summers of 2004 and 2005. He recently completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University at the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History, where he began research for a second book project entitled The Folklore of the Freeway: A Cultural History of Highway Construction.

Willow Lung-Amam

Willow Lung-Amam is associate professor at the University of Maryland in the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. Her scholarship focuses on how urban policies and plans contribute to and can address social inequality, particularly in neighborhoods undergoing rapid racial and economic change. She has written extensively on immigrant suburbanization, equitable development, gentrification, suburban poverty, and geographies of opportunity. Lung-Amam is the author of Trespassers?: Asian Americans and the Battle for Suburbia (2017). Her research has appeared in various journals, such as the Journal of Urban Affairs and Journal of Planning, Education and Research, and popular media outlets, including the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, and CityLab

Watch Willow Lung-Amam discuss the role of urban design in shaping community power and democratic spaces.

NDB ConnollyNDB Connolly is associate professor of history at the Johns Hopkins University, where he occupies the Herbert Baxter Adams Chair and directs the program in Racism, Immigration, and Citizenship. He is also one of four cohosts on the weekly podcast BackStory. Connolly’s 2014 book, A World More Concrete: Real Estate and the Remaking of Jim Crow South Florida, received, among other awards, the Kenneth T. Jackson Book Award from the Urban History Association, the Bennett H. Wall Award from the Southern Historical Association, and the Liberty Legacy Foundation Book Award from the Organization of American Historians. He is currently writing Four Daughters, a five-generation history of one working-class family whose travels and travails took them between the Caribbean, Europe, and the United States. In addition to his published work and podcasting, Connolly helped launch the digital mapping site, Mapping Inequality: Redlining in New Deal America, and created, with Keisha Blain, Trump Syllabus 2.0, housed on the site Public Books

Dell Upton

Dell Upton is distinguished professor of architectural history in the Department of Art History at the University of California, Los Angeles. He previously taught at the University of California, Berkeley, and at the University of Virginia. Upton’s current interests include the history of world architecture as practiced in the past and the present; theories of historical practice; monuments of failed nationalisms in the New South and in Liberal and Fascist Italy; and the southern African American cultural landscape since the Civil War. His most recent books are What Can and Can’t Be Said: Race, Uplift, and Monument Building in the Contemporary South (2015) and American Architecture: A Thematic History (2019).

Michelle Joan Wilkinson

Michelle Joan Wilkinson, PhD, is a curator at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). Currently, she serves as the museum’s Acting Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs. As a curator, Wilkinson is expanding the museum’s collections in architecture and design. She cocurated two inaugural exhibitions: A Century in the Making: Building the National Museum of African American History and Culture and A Changing America: 1968 and Beyond. Wilkinson’s ongoing research project, “V is for Veranda,” about architectural heritage in the Anglophone Caribbean, has been presented to international audiences in Suriname, England, India, and the United States. Her essay, “Not Grandpa’s Porch: Musings on the New Museum on the Mall,” was published in a special architecture issue of the International Review of African American Art. Wilkinson’s most recent efforts explore issues of representation in architectural renderings.

Watch Michelle Wilkinson discuss racial and spatial justice and the importance of collecting drawings from Black architects and designers.