Adolph L. Reed, Jr. Receives 2023 Contribution to the Field of Urban Affairs Award

Dr. Adolph L. Reed (University of Pennsylvania) was selected as the recipient of the 2023 Contribution to the Field of Urban Affairs Award

This annual award honors an individual whose body of work has contributed to defining the field and furthering the intellectual and professional development of emerging scholars.


“The committee is pleased to honor Dr. Adolph L. Reed, Jr. with the 2023 Contribution to the Field of Urban Affairs award. Dr. Reed is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Reed’s work over many decades has addressed the most pressing and persistent questions of race, class, poverty, and development in U.S. cities. This body of scholarship includes the influential Black urban regime framework, his sharp critique of ‘underclass’ theory, and writing on race and neoliberal capitalism that address both the politics and the economics of urban political economy. Dr. Reed has written 9 books and dozens of articles to date, with new work forthcoming.

His nominators describe him as a true public intellectual— contributing to the intellectual discourse with his writing for national periodicals – and as a true activist, with a decades-long dedication to grassroots organizing and political work. Dr. Reed is also cited for his mentorship of students and emerging scholars, encouraging their intellectual development and their commitment to social justice.

Dr. Reed’s work has defined and challenged the field of urban studies over decades and continues to animate debates about crucial issues of inequality, meriting this award.”

Lisa Bates, Portland State University (Chair); Robert Collins, Dillard University; Robert Chaskin, University of Chicago; Jill Gross, Hunter College, CUNY; Louise Simmons, University of Connecticut


Adolph Reed Jr. is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania. He has taught at Howard, Yale, and Northwestern Universities, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the New School for Social Research. His most recent book is The South: Jim Crow and its Afterlives (Verso 2022), and he is co-author with Walter Benn Michaels of the forthcoming No Politics but Class Politics (Eris 2023). 

He has been a columnist in The Progressive, The Village Voice, and The New Republic and has written frequently in The Nation, Dissent,, of which he is an editorial board member, and many other academic and popular journals and magazines. He served on the board of Public Citizen, Inc. and was a member of the Interim National Council of the Labor Party, and the executive committee of the American Association of University Professors, and he is currently on the boards of Food and Water Action and the Debs-Jones-Douglass Institute (DJDI) and is a regular on DJDI’s Class Matters podcast.


The Urban Affairs Association (UAA) is an international professional organization for 700+ urban scholars, researchers, policy analysts, & public service providers. UAA is dedicated to creating interdisciplinary spaces for engaging in intellectual and practical discussions about urban life. Through theoretical, empirical, and action-oriented research, UAA fosters diverse activities to understand and shape a more just and equitable urban world.

In addition to hosting an annual conference, UAA sponsors ongoing professional development opportunities; Upsilon Sigma: The Urban Studies Honor Society; and two peer-reviewed journals, the Journal of Urban Affairs and the Journal of Race, Ethnicity and the City. You can find UAA on the web, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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