The Organization of American Historians has selected "The Bonds of Inequality: Debt and the Making of the American City" to receive multiple prizes

Professor Destin Jenkins

Congratulations to Professor Destin Jenkins whose first book, The Bonds of Inequality: Debt and the Making of the American City, has been selected to receive multiple prizes from the Organization of American Historians.
 



James A. Rawley Prize
: awarded to the best book dealing with the history of race relations in the United States

The Bonds of Inequality: Debt and the Making of the American City examines how bond traders structured racism into urban financing in the mid-twentieth century. Destin Jenkins uses San Francisco as a laboratory to explore how debt financing through the municipal bond market contributed to the transformation of the urban political economy in the United States. This financing and the lenders, investors, and urban planners were hardly race-neutral. By setting the terms of municipal governance, urban planning, and infrastructure development based on a city's creditworthiness, they fortified the already-existing connections between race, capitalism, and politics. Identifying an overlooked source of urban political economy, Jenkins opens new fields of analysis in the history of capitalism as a driving force in the history of racism. Municipal debt, and the people who structured it, linked urban planning and financialization to segregation and criminalization. Such is the tale of the ascent and expansion of bondholder supremacy that deepened racialized poverty and its attendant forces, such as policing and gentrification, in post-1945 U.S. cities. A dense but compact book, The Bonds of Inequality expands our understanding of the modern city - its actors, its archives, and its possible alternatives.
 



Ellis W. Hawley Prize: awarded to the best book-length historical study of the political economy, politics, or institutions of the United States, in its domestic or international affairs, from the Civil War to the present

The Bonds of Inequality: Debt and the Making of the American City offers a stunning account of the interrelated histories of municipal debt, corporate lending practices, and racial inequalities from the 1930s into the 1980s. Municipal bond markets, Destin Jenkins shows, defined the post-New Deal United States in profound and tragic ways. Shaped by city officials and a small fraternity of private financial analysts and investors, these markets enriched the fortunate few, upheld and created postwar segregation, structured elections and property taxes, and limited opportunities for many nonwhite Americans. Focusing on San Francisco, The Bonds of Inequality creatively mines underutilized archives in ways that will inspire scholars to reconsider the histories of many other cities. Elegantly argued, rich in detail, and deeply consequential, this book's fresh and convincing reinterpretation of racial capitalism, city politics, and urban life deserves careful attention in the twenty-first century.
 



Destin Jenkins, Stanford University, Receives 2022 James A. Rawley Prize and 2022 Ellis W. Hawley Prize from the Organization of American Historians

BLOOMINGTON, IN—The Organization of American Historians (OAH) today announced that Destin Jenkins, Stanford University, is the recipient of the OAH’s 2022 James A. Rawley Prize and the 2022 Ellis W. Hawley Prize. The James A. Rawley Prize is given annually for the best book dealing with the history of race relations in the United States. The Ellis W. Hawley Prize is given annually for the best book-length historical study of the political economy, politics, or institutions of the United States, in its domestic or international affairs, from the Civil War to the present. The Prizes were presented during the OAH’s 2022 Conference on American History.

Jenkins’s book, The Bonds of Inequality: Debt and the Making of the American City (University of Chicago Press), examines how bond traders structured racism into urban financing in the mid-twentieth century.

Destin Jenkins uses San Francisco as a laboratory to explore how debt financing through the municipal bond market contributed to the transformation of the urban political economy in the United States. This financing and the lenders, investors, and urban planners were hardly race-neutral. By setting the terms of municipal governance, urban planning, and infrastructure development based on a city’s creditworthiness, they fortified the already-existing connections between race, capitalism, and politics. Identifying an overlooked source of urban political economy, Jenkins opens new fields of analysis in the history of capitalism as a driving force in the history of racism. Municipal debt, and the people who structured it, linked urban planning and financialization to segregation and criminalization. Such is the tale of the ascent and expansion of bondholder supremacy that deepened racialized poverty and its attendant forces, such as policing and gentrification, in post-1945 U.S. cities. A dense but compact book, The Bonds of Inequality expands our understanding of the modern city—its actors, its archives, and its possible alternatives.

The book offers a stunning account of the interrelated histories of municipal debt, corporate lending practices, and racial inequalities from the 1930s into the 1980s. Municipal bond markets, Destin Jenkins shows, defined the post–New Deal United States in profound and tragic ways. Shaped by city officials and a small fraternity of private financial analysts and investors, these markets enriched the fortunate few, upheld and created postwar segregation, structured elections and property taxes, and limited opportunities for many nonwhite Americans. Focusing on San Francisco, The Bonds of Inequality creatively mines underutilized archives in ways that will inspire scholars to reconsider the histories of many other cities. Elegantly argued, rich in detail, and deeply consequential, this book’s fresh and convincing reinterpretation of racial capitalism, city politics, and urban life deserves careful attention in the twenty-first century.

For the full list of OAH 2022 award and prize recipients, please visit the OAH website.

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Founded in 1907, the Organization of American Historians (OAH) is the largest professional organization dedicated to the teaching and study of United States history. The mission of the organization is to promote excellence in the scholarship, teaching, and presentation of American history, and to encourage wide discussion of historical questions and the equitable treatment of all practitioners of history. The OAH represents more than 6,000 historians working in the United States and abroad. Members include college and university professors, precollegiate teachers, archivists, museum curators, public historians, students, and a variety of scholars employed in government and the private sector.

The OAH is located in Bloomington, Indiana, and is an external agency of Indiana University. Visit us at www.oah.org.