Urban historian named National Academy of Education fellow

Elizabeth Todd-Breland

Elizabeth Todd-Breland, assistant professor of history. (Photo: Jenny Fontaine)

Historian Elizabeth Todd-Breland is one of only 30 international education scholars to be selected as a 2016 National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow.

The highly competitive award of $70,000 will allow Todd-Breland, an assistant professor of history, to spend the Spring and Fall 2017 semesters completing her book, “A Political Education: Black Politics and Education Reform in Post-Civil Rights Chicago.” The project analyzes changes in black politics, shifts in education organizing methods, and the racial politics of education reform in the city from the late 1960s to the present.

She will also begin collecting data for a new digital humanities mapping project on the relationship between inequality in schools, housing and neighborhood change.

“My research examines how historical transformations produced racialized political struggles for power, resources, and representation that continue to animate current education policy debates in Chicago and across the nation,” said Todd-Breland, who studies race, politics, education, and social movements in Chicago during the 20th century.

“This work will help educators, policymakers and the broader public to more appropriately address the significant challenges in urban education today.”

At UIC since 2012, her teaching interests and other areas of research broadly explore issues in urban history, including social and economic inequality, race, urbanization, neighborhood transformation, urban public policy, and civic engagement.

The fellowship, which supports early-career scholars working in critical areas of educational scholarship, is administered by the National Academy of Education, an honorary educational society, and is funded by a grant to the academy from the Spencer Foundation.

“The Academy believes the fellowships enhance the future of education research by developing new talent in the many disciplines and fields represented by the scholars selected,” said Jack Busbee, senior program officer at the National Academy of Education.

Established in 1986, the program has nearly 800 alumni who include many of the strongest education researchers in the field today.

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