Adam Green

Adam Green photo by Jason Smith

I am an Associate Professor in the Departments of Race, Diaspora and Indigeneity, and History at the University of Chicago.  I have taught at UChicago since 2007, having previously held faculty appointments at Northwestern University and New York University.  My areas of research expertise include post-emancipation African American history, cultural studies, urban studies and intersectional critical race studies..  My first book, Selling the Race: Culture and Community in Black Chicago, 1940-1955 (2006), is a widely cited analysis of Black cultural enterprise and creative exchange in modern Chicago.

Presently I am researching and writing a second book, The Black Struggle for Happiness, which recovers ordinary narratives and archives of capability and ethical initiative among selected Black lives, as an argument for a situated legacy and practice of positive freedom.  I am also in the early stages of developing two future research projects: a comprehensive critical history of Black Chicago since 1949, and an interpretation of tokenism as an outcome of structural racism, rather than personal opportunism.  Currently, I am also editing a memoir of the 1960s and 1970s political leader, Sargent Shriver, on his tenure as head of the Office of Economic Opportunity, and relating it to the embattled course of anti-poverty policy up to the present day.

I have sought to be a resourceful and creative teacher in each of my academic homes.  I have taught classes that interweave critical race and urban studies, apply methodologies of cultural contact to the representations of national identity, reorient post-Civil Rights Black cultural history from male icons to radical black feminism, and uncouple modern African American history from the progress narrative.  I have received a Quantrell Award for teaching excellence here at the University of Chicago, and have directed, or are directing, 12 Ph.D theses, over 30 MA theses and over 40 BA theses.

I pride myself on being a publicly and politically engaged thinker.  I have served on the Illinois Humanities Council as a Board Member and more recently on the City of Chicago’s Advisory Committee on Monuments and Memorials (Chicago Monuments Project.)  I was active in the movement for justice for survivors of Chicago Police Torture and, before that, in Mothers Reclaiming Our Children (Mother’s ROC) a police accountability organization in Los Angeles that served as an early abolitionist initiative in the 1990s.  I remain committed to collaborating with documentary filmmakers, journalists and placemakers to advance critical historical understanding through mediums beyond the scholarly text.