Zane L. Miller and American Urban HistoryEdited by Larry Bennett, John D. Fairfield, and Patricia Mooney-Melvin
With the passing of Zane L. Miller in 2016, academia lost a renowned scholar and one of the key founders of new urban history—a branch of the discipline that placed urban life at the center of American history and treated the city as an arena for civic and political action. He was a devoted, tireless mentor who published or fostered dozens of books and articles on urban history. He also co-founded Temple University Press’ foundational series Urban Life, Landscape, and Policy.
Bringing the Civic Back In provides a critical overview, appreciation, and extension of Miller’s work as scholar, editor, mentor, colleague, and citizen. Included are three excerpts from Miller’s final, unfinished work, in which he presented cities as the source of a civic nationalism he viewed as fundamental to the development of American democracy. The editors—along with contributors Robert B. Fairbanks and Charles Lester—reflect on the life and work of their friend as well as his role in creating a Cincinnati school of urban history. These original essays by practitioners of Miller’s approach highlight the power of ideas to shape social change.
“In the 1960s, Zane Miller was a pioneer in urban history. By the time of his death in 2016, he had become a legend in urban history. He wrote or edited a dozen books, mentored scores of graduate students, made Cincinnati a focus of research, and set a standard of scholarship that inspired persons everywhere. Bringing the Civic Back In gives us a taste of his influence across many fields and perspectives.”
—Kenneth T. Jackson, Barzun Professor Emeritus of History at Columbia University, and President Emeritus of the New York Historical Society
“For anyone who wants a better understanding of the evolution of the U.S. urban history field from the 1960s to today, Bringing the Civic Back In offers a well-rounded and comprehensive overview of a towering figure within the discipline. The astute critical overview and remembrances of Zane L. Miller’s career, interests, and reception are fleshed out by strong contributions that provide insights
on his analytical frameworks and commitments. Every current or prospective urbanist scholar would benefit from knowing Miller’s influence in shaping conversations within this research area across time.”
—Benjamin Looker, Associate Professor of American Studies at St. Louis University, and author of A Nation of Neighborhoods: Imagining Cities, Communities, and Democracy in Postwar America