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Standing Faculty

Thomas J. Sugrue

David Boies Professor of History and Sociology
Director of the Penn Social Science and Policy Forum

Thomas J. SugrueThomas J. Sugrue is David Boies Professor of History and Sociology, and Director of the Penn Social Science and Policy Forum at the University of Pennsylvania. A specialist in twentieth-century American politics, urban history, civil rights, and race, Sugrue was educated at Columbia; King's College, Cambridge; and Harvard, where he earned his Ph.D. in 1992. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and President of the Urban History Association.

He is author of Not Even Past: Barack Obama and the Burden of Race (Princeton University Press, 2010), also in French translation, and Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North (Random House, 2008), a Main Selection of the History Book Club and a finalist for the 2008 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His first book, The Origins of the Urban Crisis (Princeton University Press, 1996), won the Bancroft Prize in American History, the Philip Taft Prize in Labor History, the President's Book Award of the Social Science History Association, and the Urban History Association Award for Best Book in North American Urban History and was selected a Choice Outstanding Academic Book, an American Prospect On-Line Top Shelf Book on Race and Inequality, and a Lingua Franca Breakthrough Book on Race. It has been translated into Japanese. In 2005, Princeton University Press selected The Origins of the Urban Crisis as one of its 100 most influential books of the past one hundred years and published a new edition of The Origins of the Urban Crisis as a Princeton Classic.

Sugrue is also writing a history of twentieth-century America with Glenda Gilmore of Yale University (under contract with W.W. Norton). And he is currently engaged in a research project on race, ethnicity, and citizenship in France and the United States. His long-term research project is a history of the rise and travails of the modern American real estate industry, from the late nineteenth century to the current economic crisis. Sugrue's other books include W.E.B. DuBois, Race, and the City: The Philadelphia Negro and its Legacy (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1998), co-edited with Michael B. Katz and, more recently, The New Suburban History (University of Chicago Press, 2006) with Kevin Kruse. With Michael Kazin and Glenda Gilmore, he is co-editor of the book series Politics and Culture in Modern America at the University of Pennsylvania Press. Several books in the critically acclaimed series have won major prizes. Sugrue also serves on a number of other editorial boards.

Sugrue has published over 30 articles in such places as the Journal of American History, Journal of Urban History, Labor History, Prospects, International Labor and Working-Class History, American Behavioral Scientist, Yale Journal of Law and the Humanities, Michigan Journal of Race and the Law, Budapest Quarterly, and in several edited collections on a wide range of topics including modern American culture and politics, affirmative action, twentieth-century conservatism and liberalism, race, urban economic development, suburbanization, poverty and public policy, and colonial American history. His essays and reviews have also appeared in New York Times, London Review of Books, The Nation, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Washington Monthly, Dissent, Boston Globe, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Detroit Free Press, and Philadelphia Inquirer. He has also blogged on Talking Points Memo. Sugrue's essay "Affirmative Action from Below" was published in The Best American History Essays 2006 (Palgrave Macmillan), a collection of ten essays selected from over three hundred learned and popular journals. His work has been translated into Japanese, German, French, and Hungarian.

Sugrue has won fellowships and grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Fletcher Foundation, the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, the American Philosophical Society, the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Kellogg Foundation, and the Social Science Research Council, and has been Research Fellow in Governmental Studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC. He is also an invited fellow at the Center for the Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford. He has been a visiting professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, New York University, and the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. As a 2007 winner of the Organization of American Historians/Japanese Association of American Studies Residency, he spent part of summer 2007 at Nanzan University in Nagoya, Japan. Sugrue has also served on the boards of the American Historical Association, the Urban History Association (UHA), the Social Science History Association (SSHA), and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania (for four years as vice chair for the library), has co-chaired the program committee of the SSHA, and has served on nominating program and prize committees for the Organization of American Historians, the Policy History Association, UHA, and SSHA.

Sugrue is an award-winning teacher. His courses on America in the 1960s and on U.S. History from 1877-1933 have been selected "Hall of Fame Classes" by the Penn Course Review and he is a two-time winner of the Richard Dunn Teaching Award in the Department of History. He has advised dissertations in history, social welfare, American civilization, sociology, and the history and sociology of science, and has served as an external examiner at Sciences Po, Georgeton, Brown, and Rutgers, and a three-time mentor for dissertation fellows at the Miller Center of Pubic Affairs at the University of Virginia. He is a member of the faculty advisory committees for the Urban Studies Program, the Penn Legal History Consortium, the Urban Education Program, the Greenfield Intercultural Center, and the Program in Non-Profits, Universities, Communities, and Schools through the Barbara and Edward Netter Center for Community Partnerships. He is also a faculty fellow and executive committee member of the Penn Institute on Urban Research.

Outside the classroom, Sugrue combines scholarly research and civic engagement. A longtime resident of Philadelphia, Sugrue has served as co-chair of the board of directors of the Bread and Roses Community Fund, a foundation that supports grassroots organizations working for racial and economic equality. He also served for more than six years as Vice Chair of the Philadelphia Historical Commission, the city agency that handles preservation, planning, and development issues. Sugrue is also involved in civil rights policy locally and nationally. In addition, he was an expert for the University of Michigan in the two federal lawsuits concerning affirmative action in its undergraduate and law school admissions, decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003. More recently, he served as an expert witness in the voting rights case, U.S. v. City of Euclid, Ohio. Sugrue's scholarship was also cited by Justice Stephen Breyer in the dissenting opinion in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1. In July 2008, Sugrue testified before the National Commission on Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity .

Sugrue has given nearly 300 talks to audiences at colleges and universities throughout the U.S., in Canada, Britain, Germany, France, Argentina, and Japan, and to academic conferences, community groups, foundations, and religious organizations. Since 2002, he has served as an Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lecturer.

*Photograph of Professor Sugrue by Laurie Beck Peterson

Curriculum Vitae

Courses Taught (As Schedule Allows)

For current course listings, consult the Course Directory.

The Origins of the Urban Crisis W.E.B. DuBois, Race, and the City Origins of the Urban Crisis [Japanese Translation] The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit The New Suburban History Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North Not Even Past: Barack Obama and the Burden of Race

Not Even Past: Barack Obama and the Burden of Race [French Translation]