University of Southern California

Graduate Students

Max Felker-Kantor

Contact Information


Biographical Sketch

I grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah. I graduated from Tufts University in 2006 where I majored in American history. Before entering the Ph.D. program at USC I worked as a research assistant for the American Indian Teacher Training Program (AITTP) as well as a research assistant in the Department of Education, Culture, and Society at the University of Utah. I came to USC in the Fall of 2008 and am currently in my third year at USC. During my time at USC I have served as a Research Assistant for the Institute for California and the West and am currently serving as a Teaching Assistant. My primary areas of interest is twentieth century American history with a focus in the history of race, politics, and freedom struggles. I welcome any questions about the History Department or the graduate program. Exam fields: United States history, Urban History, and Social Movements.


  • BA Tufts University, 05/2006


Summary Statement of Research Interests

  • My primary area of interest has been in twentieth century United States history with a focus on race, politics, urban history, and social movements. I am particularly interested in the long black freedom struggle in urban centers outside of the American South from the New Deal to the conservative restoration in the 1980s. My work centers on the ways in which the African American civil rights movement interacted with other struggles for racial equality and how the meaning of freedom varied in relation to different groups and classes particular historical experience in the United States. My work focuses on the ways struggles for equality responded to changes in the political economy and urban space in the post-World War II period to advance visions of liberation. My most recent projects have focused on African American and Mexican American struggles for equal housing and employment in Los Angeles. In this work I examined the various responses of Los Angeles's African American and Mexican American communities to Proposition 14 the 1964 anti-fair housing initiative in California. In addition, I have worked on a project that investigated how African Americans and Mexican Americans fought for equal employment opportunities in the years after the 1964 Civil Rights Act. My current work focuses broadly on the black freedom struggle between the 1950s and the conservative restoration of the 1980s. My dissertation, entitled “Race, Control, and Resistance: The Struggle for Social Order and Community Empowerment in late-Twentieth Century Los Angeles” explores the relationship between social control and community empowerment between the 1965 Watts rebellion and the 1992 civil disturbance in Los Angeles.

Research Specialties

  • United States, African American History, Urban History, Social Movements, and the Carceral State