Jerald Podair is a professor of history and the Robert S. French Professor of American Studies at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, where he's taught since 1998. His research interests have focused on 20th century American urban history and racial and ethnic relations, a subject about which he's published numerous articles and reviews. He has also taught courses on a variety of topics in 19th and 20th century American history, including the Civil War and Reconstruction; Abraham Lincoln; the Great Depression and New Deal; the 1960s; the JFK assassination; and the Civil Rights Movement.
A native New Yorker, much of Podiar's work has revolved around the racial and ethnic history of his hometown. He is the author of The Strike That Changed New York: Blacks, Whites, and the Ocean Hill-Brownsville Crisis, published by Yale University Press, which was a finalist for the Organization of American Historians’ Liberty Legacy Foundation Award, and an honorable mention for the Urban History Association’s Book Award in North American urban history. His essay, “’One City, One Standard’: The Struggle for Equality in Rudolph Giuliani’s New York,” appeared in the collection Civil Rights in New York City: From World War II to the Giuliani Era, published by Fordham University Press in 2011. Other publications include Bayard Rustin: American Dreamer, a biography of the civil rights and labor leader Bayard Rustin published in 2009 by Rowman & Littlefield; The Struggle for Equality: Essays on Sectional Conflict, the Civil War, and the Long Reconstruction, published in 2011 by the University of Virginia Press; and Building Dodger Stadium: Land, Power, and the Fate of Modern Los Angeles for Princeton University Press, which he's currently writing.
Podair is the recipient of the Allan Nevins Prize, awarded by the Society of American Historians for “literary distinction in the writing of history,” and a Fellow of the New York Academy of History. He was appointed to Wisconsin’s Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, on which he served from 2008 to 2009. In 2010, he was honored by Lawrence University with its Award for Excellence in Scholarship, and in 2012 with its Faculty Convocation Award. In 2013 he co-edited Learning for a Lifetime: Liberal Arts and the Life of the Mind at Lawrence University, a volume of essays by Lawrence alumni on the impact of liberal education on their professional, intellectual, and personal development.