Amanda Kass Receives 2023 Alma H. Young Emerging Scholar Award

Dr. Amanda Kass (DePaul University) was selected as the recipient of the 2023 Alma H. Young Emerging Scholar Award.

This annual award is given to a promising Ph.D. candidate or early career researcher whose work demonstrates a commitment to rigorous and impactful research and service. It was renamed in 2004 in honor of Alma H. Young to commemorate her long standing service to UAA, and her particular commitment to mentoring graduate students and junior faculty.


“The Alma H. Young Emerging Scholar Award Committee is pleased to announce Dr. Amanda Kass, from the DePaul University, as the recipient of the 2023 award. Dr. Kass’s dissertation, entitled: “Profit and Precarity: Real Estate Investing After the Global Financial Crisis” uses a mixed-methods approach to explore how certain financial actors pursue profit under conditions of crisis and racial exploitation, and how the broader logics of capitalism and racism operate in these circumstances. More specifically, it focuses on investor activity in the residential housing market that emerged in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis (GFC), situating it within the historical context of the United States’ racialized housing market. Her dissertation research makes important policy and intellectual contributions as municipalities grapple with the effects of the foreclosure crisis followed by the uneven effects of our recent public health and fiscal crisis. Her analysis sheds light on a key dimension of racial inequality at a time where some policy makers, residents, and activists are finally grappling more fully with the reality of racial violence and inequality that underpins our cities, housing markets, and more.

Dr. Kass has already achieved an impressive record as an emerging scholar including 15 academic and policy publications while completing her dissertation. She has shown an extraordinary ability to work across multiple domains and disciplines while establishing a growing media presence. Her work on public pensions and municipal finance have already made important contributions and will make her an influential urban affairs scholar. Lastly, Dr. Kass’s overall dossier represents what the Urban Affairs Association aspires to be: an integration of academic and practitioner-oriented pursuits from an interdisciplinary perspective.”


Deirdre Oakley, Georgia State University (Chair); Robin Bartram, Tulane University; Mark Davidson, Clark University; Matthew McLeskey, Oswego State College, SUNY; Brenda Riddick, California State University-Dominguez Hills


Amanda Kass is an interdisciplinary scholar who holds a PhD in Urban Planning and Policy, a MA in Geography and BA in Geography and International Studies. Her research interests include public finance (with a subspecialty in public pensions), housing markets, urban governance, and financialization. Amanda’s long-term research agenda addresses the ways in which finance shapes and is shaped by geographies of economic and racial inequality, particularly at the local scale. For her dissertation she examined investor activity in Chicago’s residential housing market following the 2008 global financial crisis. Her current project, supported by the Joyce Foundation, focuses on the American Rescue Plan Act’s State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund program, which delivered $350 billion in emergency aid to U.S. states, cities, counties, towns and villages. Her work has been published in Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, Progress in Human Geography and Urban Affairs Review. She has appeared in various media outlets, including the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times and WTTW’s Chicago Tonight. Amanda is currently an assistant professor in the School of Public Service at DePaul University.


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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