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Communications and Marketing

McCammack wins award for first book

The Organization of American Historians (OAH) presented Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Brian McCammack with their prestigious 2018 Frederick Jackson Turner Award, which is given annually for a first scholarly book dealing with some aspect of American history.

McCammack won the Frederick Jackson Turner Award for Landscapes of Hope: Nature and the Great Migration in Chicago, which was published by Harvard University Press in 2017.

“This beautifully executed book combines environmental and urban history in telling an unexpected story of African Americans in Chicago in the twentieth century,” said OAH in a press release. “McCammack’s illumination of the importance of green spaces in the lives of urban African Americans shapes an unusually perceptive history, sensitive to intraracial conflicts arising from differences of wealth and education among African Americans, and always alert to racist stereotypes and discrimination hampering their lives while emphasizing the hope arising from an engagement with green landscapes.

“McCammack has a fine taste for irony and appreciates past actors’ efforts to make the best of a highly imperfect world. He shows how whites violently rebuffed African Americans’ attempts to integrate Chicago parks and then examines the African American community’s enjoyment of separate green environments, inside Chicago and beyond it, constructed by the black elite as alternatives.

“His apt invocations of African American poetry and literature supplement his consistently engaging narrative voice. McCammack’s conceptualization offers itself for wider use beyond Chicago, refreshing the history of the urbanizing experiences of African Americans via engagement with environmental history.”

The award was presented on April 13 by OAH’s 2017–18 President Edward L. Ayers and 2018–19 President Earl Lewis.

Founded in 1907, OAH is the world’s largest professional association dedicated to American history scholarship. With more than 7,500 members from the U.S. and abroad, OAH promotes excellence in the scholarship, teaching, and presentation of American history, encouraging wide discussion of historical questions and equitable treatment of history practitioners.