About Jerald Podair


Jerald Podair

Robert S. French Professor of American Studies and Professor of History

Campus Phone: 920-832-6677

Email: [email protected]

Education: New York University, B.A.; Columbia University School of Law, J.D.; Princeton University, M.A., Ph.D

Interests: 20th-century American history, urban history, American race relations

Campus Address: Main Hall Room 319 History

Years at Lawrence: 1998-

About Me

I am Professor of History and the Robert S. French Professor of American Studies at Lawrence University, in Appleton, Wisconsin, where I have taught since 1998. I’m a native of New York City and a former practicing attorney. I received my B.A. from New York University, a J.D. from Columbia University Law School, and a Ph.D. in American history from Princeton University. My research interests are in 20th century American political and urban history.

I am the author of The Strike That Changed New York: Blacks, Whites, and the Ocean Hill-Brownsville Crisis, published by Yale University Press, which was a finalist for the Organization of American Historians’ Liberty Legacy Foundation Award for the best book on the struggle for civil rights in the United States, and an honorable mention for the Urban History Association’s Book Award in North American urban history. My biography of the civil rights and labor leader Bayard Rustin, entitled Bayard Rustin: American Dreamer, was published in 2009 by Rowman & Littlefield. My co-edited book, The Struggle for Equality: Essays on Sectional Conflict, the Civil War, and the Long Reconstruction, was published in 2011 by the University of Virginia Press. I contributed an essay entitled, "An Awful Choice: Bayard Rustin and New York City’s Civil Rights Wars, 1968," to that volume. I am also the co-author of American Conversations: From the Centennial to the Millennium, a collection of primary sources in American history after 1877, published by Pearson in 2012.

My City of Dreams: Dodger Stadium and the Birth of Modern Los Angeles was published by Princeton University in 2017. In it, I used the struggle over the construction of this iconic ballpark between 1957 and 1962 to examine arguments over civic identity in an emerging 20th century American supercity. City of Dreams won the Society for American Baseball Research’s 2018 Harold and Dorothy Seymour Medal for best book on the history of baseball and was a finalist for the 2018 PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing.

I am co-editor of The Routledge History of the Twentieth-Century United States, published in 2018, a volume of historiographical essays offering a chronological and thematic state-of-the-field in 20th century American history.

I am also co-author of Republican Populist: Spiro Agnew and the Origins of Donald Trump’s America, published by the University of Virginia Press in 2019. It examines the Agnew-led “populist turn” in the Republican Party during the 1960s and 1970s and its links to the presidency of Donald Trump.

My current book project is Promised Lands: A History of the American People in the Twentieth Century, to be published by Princeton University Press, a comprehensive history of the American century written for a general readership.

My articles and reviews have appeared in The American Historical Review, The Journal of American History, The Journal of African American History, The Journal of Urban History, Reviews in American History, Radical History Review, Commentary, Social History, Labor History, Film & History, and American Studies. I contributed an essay, "'One City, One Standard': The Struggle for Equality in Rudolph Giuliani’s New York", to Civil Rights in New York City: From World War II to the Giuliani Era, published by Fordham University Press in 2011. I also contributed an essay entitled “No Exit: A. Philip Randolph and the Ocean Hill-Brownsville Crisis” to Reframing Randolph: Labor, Black Freedom, and the Legacies of A. Philip Randolph, edited by Andrew E. Kersten and Clarence Lang, published by New York University Press in 2015.

At Lawrence University, I teach courses on a variety of topics in nineteenth and twentieth-century American history, including the Civil War and Reconstruction; Abraham Lincoln; the Great Depression and New Deal; the 1960s; the JFK assassination; and the Civil Rights Movement. I also teach Lawrence’s first course in American Studies, which I introduced in 2007. Since 2004 I have taught Lawrence’s Senior Experience research seminar for history majors, "The Practice of History."

I am the recipient of the Allan Nevins Prize, awarded by the Society of American Historians for "literary distinction in the writing of history", and a Fellow of the New York Academy of History. I was appointed to Wisconsin’s Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, on which I served from 2008 to 2009. I was honored by Lawrence University with its Award for Excellence in Scholarship and in 2010 and 2018 with its Faculty Convocation Award in 2012. In 2013 I co-edited  Learning for a Lifetime: Liberal Arts and the Life of the Mind at Lawrence University, a volume of essays by Lawrence alumni on the impact of liberal education on their professional, intellectual, and personal development.

Courses Taught

Republic to Nation: The United States, 1789-1896

Nation in a Modern World, The United States, 1896-Present

The American Civil War

Lincoln: Revolutionary American

Race Relations in America, 1865-Present

The 1920s, the Great Depression, and the New Deal

The JFK Assasination in American Politics, Culture, and Memory

Reconsidering the 1960s

American Experiences: An Introduction to American Studies

The Practice of History (senior-level research seminar)