Michael Katz (In Memoriam)

Michael Katz

Walter H. Annenberg Professor of History

Michael Katz was Walter H. Annenberg Professor of History and Research Associate in the Population Studies Center at the History Department. Educated at Harvard, he has been a Guggenheim Fellow and a resident fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study, the Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies (Princeton), the Russell Sage Foundation, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; he also has held a fellowship from the Open Society Institute. He was a fellow of the National Academy of Education, National Academy of Social Insurance, the Society of American Historians, and a member-elect of the American Philosophical Society. In 1999, he received a Senior Scholar Award -  a lifetime achievement award - from the Spencer Foundation. From 1989-1995, he served as archivist to the Social Science Research Council's Committee for Research on the Urban Underclass and in 1992 was a member of the Task Force to Reduce Welfare Dependency appointed by the Governor of Pennsylvania. From 1991-1995 and 2011-2012, he was Chair of the History Department at the University of Pennsylvania; from 1983-1996 he directed or co-directed the University’s undergraduate Urban Studies Program; in 1994, he founded the graduate certificate program in Urban Studies, which he co-directs. He is a past-president of the History of Education Society and of the Urban History Association. In 2007, he was given the Provost’s Award for Distinguished Graduate Student Teaching and Mentoring.

His work focused on three major areas: the history of American education (The Irony of Early School Reform [1968, reprinted with a new introduction, 2001]; Class, Bureaucracy, and Schools: The Illusion of Educational Change in America [1971, expanded edition 1975]; Reconstructing American Education [1987]); the history of urban social structure and family organization (The People of Hamilton, Canada West: Family and Class in a Mid-Nineteenth Century City [1975, winner Albert C. Corey Prize, American and Canadian Historical Associations]; The Social Organization of Early Industrial Capitalism [1981]); and with Mark J. Stern, One Nation Divisible: What America Was and What It Is Becoming (2006; paperback, 2008); and the history of social welfare and poverty (Poverty and Policy in American History [1983]; In the Shadow of the Poorhouse: A Social History of Welfare in America [1986, expanded edition 1996]; The Undeserving Poor: From the War on Poverty to the War on Welfare [1990, a finalist for the American Sociological Association's Distinguished Book Award]; The "Underclass" Debate: Views from History[1993]; Improving Poor People: the Welfare State, the "Underclass," and Urban Schools as History [1995]); and The Price of Citizenship: Redefining the American Welfare State (Metropolitan/Holt, 2001; Owl Books, 2002; updated edition, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008); and with Christoph Sachsse, he has edited The Mixed Economy of Social Welfare: England, Germany, and the United States from the 1870s to the 1930s (1996). With Michelle Fine and Elaine Simon, he is author of the essay, “Poking Around: Outsiders View Chicago School Reform” - based on five years of periodic interviews and observations (Teachers College Record,  Fall 1997). With Thomas Sugrue, he edited, W.E.B. Du Bois, Race, and the City:  “The Philadelphia Negro” And Its Legacy (1998. An article co-authored with Mark J. Stern and Jamie J. Fader, “The New African American Inequality,” appeared in the June 2005 Journal of American History and was awarded the Binkley-Stephenson Prize from the Organization of American Historians for the best article published in the journal in 2005. His presidential address to the Urban History Association, “Why Don’t American Cities Burn Very Often?” was published in the January 2008 Journal of Urban History. He currently works on immigration and has co-authored a report on immigration to Greater Philadelphia with the Brookings Institution. His co-authored article, “Immigration and the New Metropolitan Geography” won the prize for the best article in the Journal of Urban Affairs in 2010. His most recent book, Why Don’t American Cities Burn? (2012) was published by Penn Press in fall 2011. With Mike Rose, he is the author of the forthcoming [June 2013] Public Education Under Siege. Also forthcoming is, The Underserving Poor: America’s Enduring Confrontation with Poverty [October 2013].


Courses Taught
  • HIST 153 The Transformation of Urban America
  • HIST 214 The Immigration Debate: The View From History
  • HIST214 Modern American Cities
  • HIST 440 Perspectives on American Poverty
  • HIST 463 The History of American Education
  • HIST 608 Proseminar in Urban Studies: The Political Economy of Urban Space
  • HIST 610 Immigration and Public Policy in American History