Karen Ferguson

Professor

Urban Studies and History

Karen Ferguson

Professor

Urban Studies and History

Education

  • PhD Duke University (History), 1996
  • BA (Hons.) McGill University (History), 1989

I'm a White settler, born in Regina, Saskatchewan on the land of the Blackfoot/Niitsítapi, Métis, and Sioux. My research interests in U.S. history are twentieth-century African American, policy, and urban history. I've published two books on these subjects. The first is Black Politics in New Deal Atlanta, which considers elite African American reformers and their efforts to use the new federal welfare programs of the Great Depression and World War II to improve the lot of Atlanta’s Black community against all odds in the Jim Crow era. The second, Top Down: The Ford Foundation, Black Power, and the Reinvention of Racial Liberalism, is a study of race, power, and politics, examining how the White policy establishment sought to engage and shape Black-power activism in New York City during the 1960s and 1970s.

Currently, I’m engaged in a new research project with my History Department colleague, Luke Clossey, on the spread of Theravadin Buddhist monasticism along the West Coast of North America since the 1980s, among both recent migrants from Southeast Asia and “convert” Buddhists.  Through this case, we’re examining the far-reaching cultural consequences in the region of a converging global middle class of highly skilled and educated Asian migrants and their counterparts in a largely White, so-called “creative” class.

Research

New Work

  • “Birken Buddhist Forest Monastery: Asian Migration, the Creative Class, and Cultural Transformation in the New Pacific British Columbia,” (forthcoming, BC Studies, Winter 2021).

Selected Publications

Commentary

Lectures

Courses

Future courses may be subject to change.