Kenneth Alyass

Kenneth Alyass

Ph.D. Candidate in History
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Kenneth is a doctoral candidate and teaching fellow in the Department of History at Harvard University. He studies the social and political history of the United States in the twentieth century, focusing on race, class, ethnicity, and labor in social movements, politics, and policing in post-industrial urban spaces. He is also interested in African American studies, Arab and Asian American history, and the history of capitalism and liberalism.

 

Kenneth's dissertation, "Controlling the Urban Crisis," examines how a broad set of urban stakeholders, from policymakers, city workers, and community and labor organizers to police departments, corporations, and foundations attempted to control, manage, and mitigate the effects of the spiraling urban crisis of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s in Detroit, Michigan. To that end, he centers the twenty-year tenure of the city's first African American mayor, Coleman A. Young, who was the foremost Black politician in the United States in the last quarter of the century. Doing so will allow him to use Detroit and the Young Administration as a case study to understand how residents of declining cities like Detroit survived the social crisis of deindustrialization and in the process reshaped the politics of the city. The project will have chapters relating to the War on Drugs, movements for environmental justice, the relationship between Black Power, class, and religion, and the politics of Black liberalism and police reform, among other topics.

 

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