Research & Practice Areas
Urban, political, social and cultural history; Global history of cities, digital humanities, visual culture, intellectual history, theory of history.
Center, Institute & Lab Affiliations
- Center for Transformative Scholarship, Co-Director
- Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities, Fellow
- Population Dynamics Lab, School of Policy, Planning and Development, Faculty researcher
- Urban History (Cambridge University Press), North American Editor
- USC History Lab,
Philip J. Ethington is Professor of History, Political Science, and Spatial Sciences in the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences at the University of Southern California. An interdisciplinary historian, Ethington is completing an epic, multi-volume history, titled Ancient Metropolis: The Los Angeles Region and its Place in Global History, from the Pleistocene to the Present, which is under contract with University of California Press. Expected release of Volume 1 in 2024. Ethington is the Principal Investigator of the large, multi-institutional collaborative study “Los Angeles Landscape History” (LALAH) which is mapping the native ecology of the pre-urbanized Los Angeles region at a neighborhood scale. Our first public release is set for September 2023. As a leader in multimedia scholarly publishing, he has been a lead developer of the Mellon- and NEH-funded scholarly publishing platform, Scalar. An historian of architecture and photography, he wrote the award-winning documentary Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman, narrated by Dustin Hoffman (Arthouse Films, 2008). Ethington’s cartography and photography have been exhibited in museum exhibits internationally. He is the author of numerous essays on the theory and methods of the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Ethington is the former Multimedia Editor of the journal Urban History (Cambridge University Press), and a former member of the Board of Editors of the American Historical Review (Oxford University Press). At USC he has previously served as the Chair of the University Research Committee, President of the Dornsife College Faculty Council, and Chair of the Department of History.
- Ph.D. , Stanford University, 1/1989
Tenure Track Appointments
- Professor of History and Political Science, University of Southern California, 01/01/2005 –
- Professor of History, University of Southern California, 01/01/2003 – 01/01/2005
- Associate Professor of History, University of Southern California, 01/01/1995 – 01/01/2003
- Assistant Professor of History, University of Southern California, 01/01/1993 – 01/01/1995
Research, Teaching, Practice, and Clinical Appointments
- Member, Board of Editors, American Historical Review, 2010-01-01-2013-12-31
- Multimedia Editor, Urban History (journal), Cambridge University Press, 2010-01-01-2012-12-31
- Associate Dean for Regional Initiatives, University Libraries, USC, 2002-01-09-2007-08-31
- Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University, Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History, 2007-2008
Visiting and Temporary Appointments
- Getty Scholar, Getty Research Institute for the History of Art and the Humanities, 1996-1997
- Visiting Scholar, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe College, 1992-1993
- Visiting Assistant Professor, Brandeis University, Department of History, 01/01/1989-01/01/1991
Summary Statement of Research Interests
Philip J. Ethington is Professor of History and Political Science at the University of Southern California, North American Editor and Multimedia Editor of the journal Urban History (Cambridge University Press), and Co-Director (with Tara McPherson) of the USC Center for Transformative Scholarship in the Digital Age. He is also a member of the Board of Editors of the American Historical Review. A multidisciplinary historian, Ethington explores the past as a cartography of time. His recent published work includes theoretical writings toward a spatial theory of history; political science studies of the spatiality of institutions and regional sources of political power; quantitative sociological studies of residential segregation; large-format maps of urban historical change, called “chronographs”; Online interactive Web 2.0 tools, archives, and publications for urban studies; and museum exhibit collaborations. He is co-PI of the geohistorical collaborative research platform, HyperCities (funded in part by the MacArthur Foundation). Most recently, Ethington wrote the award-winning film Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman (Art House Films, 2009), narrated by Dustin Hoffman. His photography and cartography have been published and exhibited internationally. He is currently completing a large-format graphic book, interactive online publication, and public art exhibit, titled Ghost Metropolis: Los Angeles, since 13,000 BP. Please see website.
Urban history, society, politics, and culture, visual culture, digital humanities, theory of history, immigration, race relations, segregation, American Political Development
Contracts and Grants Awarded
- Broadening the Digital Humanities: The Vectors-CTS Summer Institute on Digital Approaches to America, (National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of D), Philip J. Ethington $248,492, 2010-2011
- Mapping Los Angeles Research Online with HyperCities: An Open Access Publishing and Collaboration Pl, (The John Randolgh Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundatio), Philip J. Ethington $75,000, 2010-2011
- “HyperCities” Digital Media and Learning Grant, (MacArthur Foundation), Todd Presner, UCLA $238,000, 2008-2009
- Provost Collaboration Fund – Renewal. Center for Transformative Scholarship Digital Scholars Program To Support Digital Humanities Publishing $15,000, 2011-2012
- Provost Collaboration Fund. Center for Transformative Scholarship Digital Scholars Program To Support Digital Humanities Publishing $30,000, 2010-2011
- Deep Historical Regionalism: Los Angeles and the Institutional Ecology of a Global Metropolis, Since 13,000 Before Present Lecture/Seminar, Plains Humanities Alliance, University of Lincoln,, Invited, Lincoln, Nebraska, 2011-2012
- Deep Historical Regionalism: Los Angeles and the Institutional Ecology of a Global Metropolis, Since 13,000 Before Present Lecture/Seminar, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Science Sociales, Invited, Paris, 2010-2011
- Visualizing Geohistorical Urban History: The HyperCities Platform for Interactive and Participatory Mapping , Urban History AssociationTalk/Oral Presentation, Urban History Association, Las Vegas, NV, 10/20/2010 – 10/23/2010
- Now Urbanism, Now Seattle , Now Urbanism: City-Making in the 21st Century and BeyondKeynote Lecture, John E. Sawyer Seminar in the Study of Comparative, Invited, University of Washington, 10/07/2010
- “Mapping the Deep Regional Past of a Global Metropolis: Los Angeles since 13,000 Before Present” , Cityscapes in History: Creating the Urban Experience WEDNESDAY, JULY 28Keynote Lecture, Center for Advanced Studies, Ludwig-Maximilians-Un, Invited, Munich, 2009-2010
- HyperCities Ghost Metropolis, Los Angeles , Social Science History AssociationTalk/Oral Presentation, Social Science History Association, Long Beach, California, 11/15/2009
- Geographic Institutionalism: The Metropolis and the Regional Regimes of American Political Development (with David Levitus) , 32nd Annual Meeting of the Social Science History Association (SSHA)Talk/Oral Presentation, Social Science History Association, Chicago, 11/16/2007
- Journal Publishing Workshop: How to Get your Article Published , 12th National Conference on Planning HistoryWorkshop, Society for American City and Regional Planning Hi, Invited, Portland, Maine, 10/28/2007
- Living Together: Multiculturalism and Race Relations , 19th Annual Envisioning California Conference”Talk/Oral Presentation, California State University Northridge, Invited, Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, 09/19/2007
- Mapping the Haunted Spaces of Los Angeles Talk/Oral Presentation, Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities, Invited, USC, 04/06/2007
- (with Christian Redfearn) Neighborhood Stability and Change: Unbundling the Dynamics of Place and Race in Los Angeles, 1940-2000 , SPPD Research SeminarTalk/Oral Presentation, Lusk Center for Real Estate, USC, Invited, School of Policy, Planning, and Development, USC, 02/14/2007
- “Ghost Trajectories” (With Robbert Flick and Tomo Isoyama) , L.A. Palimpsest: Recovering Los Angeles’ Hidden Stories and Forgotten CommunitiesTalk/Oral Presentation, Scripps College Humanities Institute, Invited, Claremont, CA, 02/06/2007
- Global Spaces of Los Angeles in the 20th Century: Oil, Hollywood, and Counterrevolution , Images and Realities of Cities in the 21st Century: Global Cities, Creative Cities, and Sustainable Talk/Oral Presentation, Urban Research Plaza, Osaka City University, Invited, Nishinara Plaza, Osaka, Japan, 12/22/2006
- The Cultural Creativity of Cities in the 20th Century , Images and Realities of Cities in the 21st Century: Global Cities, Creative Cities, and Sustainable Talk/Oral Presentation, Urban Research Plaza, Osaka City University, Invited, Osaka City University, Osaka, Japan, 12/19/2006
- Keynote-Roundtable ‘The Urban West’ , 3rd Biennial Meeting of the Urban History AssociationTalk/Oral Presentation, Invited, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, 10/21/2006
- The Haunted Landscapes of Los Angeles: A Cartography of Time, 1940-2000 , Annual Rena Sivitanidu Research Symposium: Models and Stories: Explaining the Long Processes of CitiTalk/Oral Presentation, Lusk Center for Real Estate, USC, Invited, School of Policy, Planning, and Development, USC, 02/27/2006
- La Metrópolis Fantasma. Los Angeles: Una Cartografía del Tiempo visiting lectureship, Invited, University of A Coruña, Spain, 11/21/2005
- Round Table on the City and American Political Development , Annual Meeting of the Social Science History AssociationTalk/Oral Presentation, SSHA, Portland, Oregon, 11/03/2005
- Los Angeles and the Question of ‘Urban Decline,’ 1940-2000 , bi-annual meeting of the Urban History AssociationTalk/Oral Presentation, Urban History Association, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 10/10/2004
- La Raza Cósmica Contra Los Ángeles: The Borderland Capital of the Mexican Counterrevolution, 1910-1929 , Annual Meeting of the Organization of Americal HistoriansTalk/Oral Presentation, Boston, Mass., 03/24/2004
- La fotografia como «cronoscopia»: Métodos de encontrar la presencia del pasado urbano en el presente , Diplomado-taller “Las fotográfías de la Ciudad de México”Workshop, El Instituto de Investigaciones Dr. José María Lui, Invited, Mexico City, 10/09/2003
- The Global Spaces of Los Angeles, 1920s-1930s , seminarTalk/Oral Presentation, Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies, Invited, Princeton University Department of History, 10/02/2003
- Mapping the Deep Regional Past of a Global Metropolis: Los Angeles Since 13,000 Before Present, Cityscapes in History: Creating the Urban Experience, Munich, 2009-2010
- Ethington, P. J. (2011). “Sociovisual Perspective: Vision and the Forms of the Human Past”. A Field Guide to a New Meta-Field: Bridging the Hu pp. 123-152. Chicago, Ilinois: University of Chicago Press.
- Ethington, P. J. (2010). Ab urbe condita: The Regional Regimes of Los Angeles since 13,000 Before Present. A Companion to Los Angeles (Blackwell Companions t pp. 177-215. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.
- Ethington, P. J., Levitus, D. (2009). “Placing American Political Development: Cities, Regions, and Regimes, 1789-2008”. pp. 154-176. New York: Routledge.
- Ethington, P. J. (2008). “Global Spaces of Los Angeles, 1920s-1930s,” in The Spaces of the Modern City: Imaginaries, Politics, and Everyday Life. pp. 58-98.. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
- Ethington, P. J. (2006). Context and Contingency: Los Angeles, New York City, and Other Global Nodes”. Osaka: Osaka City University.
- Ethington, P. J. (2001). Ghost Neighborhoods: Space, Time, and Alienation in Los Angeles. in Michael Roth and Charles Salas, Eds., Looking for Los Angeles: Architecture, Film, Photography, and the Urban Landscape, (Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute, 2001). (Vol. Looking For Los Angeles: Architecture, Film, Photo) Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute for the History of Art and the Humanities.
- Ethington, P. J. (2010). Comment and Afterword: Photography and Placing the Past. Journal of Visual Culture. Vol. 9 (2), pp. 439-448.
- Ethington, P. J. (2010). Global California Contra Greater California. California History Magazine. Vol. 2010, pp. 10.
- Ethington, Philip J. (Ed.). (2009). “Transnational Urbanism in the Americas”. Cambridge University Press. Vol. 36 (2), pp. 194 – 356.
- Ethington, P. J. (2007). ‘Placing the Past: ‘Groundwork’ for a Spatial Theory of History,’ forum with responses to Ethington’s essay by Thomas Bender, David Carr, Edward Casey, Edward Dimendberg, and Alun Munslow. Rethinking History. Vol. 11 (4 (Dec. 2007))
- McManus, R., Ethington, P. J. (2007). Suburbs in Transition: New Approaches to Suburban History. Urban History/Cambridge University Press. Vol. 34 (2), pp. 317-336.
- Ethington, P. J., Schwartz, V. R. (2006). special issue, “Urban Icons,” and “Introduction: an atlas of the Urban Icons project,”. Urban History/Cambridge University Press. Vol. 33 (1)
- Ethington, P. J. (2005). Cronoscopia: La fotografia de la historia espacial de Los ingeles y MExico. Sequencia: Revista de historia y ciencias sociales. Vol. 61 (Jan-April 2005), pp. 46-58.
- Ethington, P. J. (2005). Georg Simmel y la cuestión de la espacialidad. Trayectorias: Revista de Ciencias Sociales. Vol. 19 (Sept-Dic 2005), pp. p. 46-58.
- Ethington, P. J.The Public City: The Political Construction of Urban Life in San Francisco, 1850-1900, UC Press, 2001.
- Ethington, P. J.Los Angeles and the Problem of Urban Historical Knowledge. American Historical Review, 105:5, December 2000.
- Ethington, P. J.The Metropolis and Multicultural Ethics: Direct Democracy versus Deliberative Democracy in the Progressive Era, In Sidney Millkis and Jerome Mileur, eds., Progressivism and the New Democracy, Amherst: University of Massachusettes Press, 1999.
- MDA 399a+b Researching the LA Riots, Multidisciplinary Activities, 2007-2008
- TO 104 Change and the Future “Don Quijote in Los Angeles”, Thematic Option, Fall 2005
- Multimedia Scholarship, Los Angeles and the Problem of Urban Historical Knowledge. American Historical Review, 105:5, December 2000, 12/01/2000
- Multimedia Scholarship, “Urban Icons,” Multimedia Companion to Urban History.
- Multimedia Scholarship, “HyperCities” (http://www.hypercities.com) is a spatio-temporal collaborative learning and research platform built atop Google Map/Google Earth, funding by the MacArthur Foundation, with Ethington as Co-PI., 2008-2009
- Multimedia Scholarship, Multimedia Companion to Transnational Urbanism in the Americas,” Urban History Special Issue 36:2 (August 2008) Cambridge Journals Online, 2008-2009
- Documentary Film, Ethington co-wrote the award-winning film Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman (Art House Films, 2009), which is narrated by Dustin Hoffman., 2008-2009
- Editor, Multimedia Publication, A study in Modern(ist) urbanism: planning Vancouver, 1945-1965 by Rhodri Windsor Liscombe, Urban History (Cambridge Journals Online), Volume 38, Issue 01: 124-149. , 2010-2011
- Co-Author, Online Multimedia Publication, http://hypercities.com/LA/
Los Angeles Citizen Research Collections: A Collaborative Mapping and Visualization Platform Linking Community Organizations, Academic Researchers , and the Citizens of Los Angeles Funded by the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation, 2010-2011
- Nominee, Steven B. Sample Teaching and Mentoring Award, 2010-2011
- USC Center for Interdisciplinary Faculty Fellowship, 2004-2005
Other Advisement or Time Devoted to Students
- Senior Thesis Adviser, Alex Hofmann, “The Solitude of Hallowed Ground: The Southern Agrarians and the Paradox of Mass Culture.”
- Senior Thesis Adviser, Joyce Fienman, “The Power of Place:
- Santa Monica, Venice Beach, and Santa Catalina Island, 1920-1960″
- Senior Thesis Adviser, Jenna Katherine Ross, “Fighting for Uncle Sam: American Political Ideology and the Common Soldier in Vietnam”
- Co-Director, Center for Transformative Scholarship., 2008-2009
- Associate Dean for Regional Initiatives, University Libraries, 09/01/2002-08/31/2007
- Joint Provost-Academic Senate University Research Committee, 2011-2012
- Vice President, Dornsife College Faculty Council, 2011-2012
- Joint Provost-Academic Senate University Research Committee, 2010-2011
- Board of Editors, American Historical Review, 2010-2011
- Faculty Tenure and Privileges Appeals Committee, Office of the Provost., 2009-2010
- Joint Provost-Academic Senate University Research Committee, 2009-2010
- Joint Senate-Provost Library Advisory Committee, 2008-2009
- Advancing Scholarship in the Humanities and Social Science Initiative Committee, 2008-2009
- History Department Program Committee, and Co-Director of the USC History Seminar., 2008-2009
- Strategic Plan Working Group, Office of the Provost, 2008-2009
- History Department Program Committee, 2007-2008
- College Natural Sciences and Mathematics Personnel Committee, 2007-2008
- Dean of Libraries Search Committee, 2006-2007
- Advancing Scholarship in the Humanities and Social Science Initiative Committee, 2006-2007
- History Department Appointments Committee, 2005-2006
Media, Alumni, and Community Relations
- Chair, Academic Community Advisory Board for the Los Angeles City Human Relations Commission,
- Member, Executive Committee, LA as Subject Archives Forum,
- Organizer, First Annual Los Angeles Archives Bazaar, Huntington Library and Gardens, 11/04/2006
- Co-organizer, “Transnational Urban History: The Local-Global Nexus.” Funded by the Los Angeles-Osaka Comparative Urban Studies Project University of Southern Calif, University of Southern California, 10/24/2005 – 10/25/2005
- Co-organizer, “Urban Icons: Studies in Urban Visual History” , USC, 03/04/2004 – 03/05/2004
Editorships and Editorial Boards
- Board of Editors, American Historical Review”, 2010 – 2013