Alison Isenberg will speak about her research on Trenton, New Jersey in the 1960s. The book she is writing, Uprisings, takes the April 1968 "riots" in Trenton as its starting point, offering a window into the volatile weeks after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. The narrative centers the life and death of Harlan “Bruce” Joseph, a black college sophomore at Lincoln University who was fatally shot by a white officer during minor unrest on April 9, 1968 in Trenton. She will also discuss the public humanities dimensions of the research, including courses, community and student involvement, public events, and the related documentary film directed by her colleague and co-professor, Purcell Carson.
Alison Isenberg is a Professor of History at Princeton University, where she directs the Princeton-Mellon Initiative in Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities. She is the author of Designing San Francisco: Art, Land, and Urban Renewal in the City by the Bay (2017), which received the 2018 PROSE Award for Architecture & Urban Planning from the Association of American Publishers, and a John Brinckerhoff Jackson Book Prize from the Foundation for Landscape Studies. Her first book Downtown America: A History of the Place and the People Who Made It(2004) received awards in preservation, planning, history, and the public humanities, including the Ellis Hawley Prize from the Organization of American Historians. Isenberg has been working longer-term on another book, Second-Hand Cities: Race and Region in the Antique Americana Trade, from the Civil War to Urban Renewal. She previously taught at Rutgers University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Florida International University. She worked as a planner for the New York City Parks Department and in affordable housing in the South Bronx with the Community Preservation Corporation before beginning graduate studies in history.