Participant Info

First Name
Becky
Last Name
Nicolaides
Affiliation
USC and UCLA
Website URL
https://www.beckynicolaides.com/
Keywords
suburban history, American suburbs, urban history, social history, political history
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

Photo
About Me

I’m a Los Angeles-based historian specializing in American suburban history.  I’ve been especially interested in exploring histories of suburban diversity, breaking free of “Ozzie and Harriet” stereotypes to discover what happened when workers, the poor, immigrants and ethnic and racial groups became suburbanites.  My first book My Blue Heaven: Life and Politics in the Working-Class Suburbs of Los Angeles, 1920-1965 (Chicago 2002), told the story of blue-collar suburbanites in southeast Los Angeles, and how their everyday lives shaped their political sensibilities – they ultimately ended up as Reagan Democrats. My second book The Suburb Reader 1st and 2nd editions (Routledge, 2006/2016), is co-edited with my long-time friend and collaborator Andy Wiese.  It’s a big, broad survey of North American suburban history.  My current project, The New Suburbia: Stability, Upheaval and Everyday Life in L.A.’s Suburbs since 1945, explores the history of suburban life in Los Angeles and how social and civic engagement in suburbia evolved over the past half century.  Almost everywhere, suburbia was transforming as Latinos, Asian Americans, African Americans, and immigrants from all over the globe made the LA ‘burbs their home – sometimes alongside whites, sometimes in their wake.  My book explores the dynamics of those transformations.  For this project, I received funding from the NEH, ACLS, Haynes Foundation, Huntington Library, and UCLA.

I’ve worked as a consultant on historic preservation projects for Survey LA, the LA Conservancy, and the state of California. I am a co-editor for the “Historical Studies of Urban America” book series published by University of Chicago Press and co-coordinator of the L.A History and Metro Studies group at the Huntington Library.  And I’ve served on academic and editorial boards over the years, including most recently the Governing Council of the American Historical Association, and Mayor Eric Garcetti’s working group on LA and Civic Memory.

I’m a founding partner of History Studio, a partnership of award-winning historians and scholars providing expert research, script vetting, and original content for the entertainment industry and other creative producers.

I’m currently a research affiliate at USC and UCLA.

 

Recent Publications

Books:

The New Suburbia: Stability, Upheaval, and Everyday Life in the Suburbs of L.A. Since 1945 (forthcoming)

Becky M. Nicolaides and Andrew Wiese, eds., The Suburb Reader, 1st and 2nd Editions (New York: Routledge, 2006/2016).

My Blue Heaven: Life and Politics in the Working-Class Suburbs of Los Angeles, 1920-1965  (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002)

Articles:

“Migrations,” chapter in A Los Angeles County Almanac, edited by William Deverell and Wade Graham (forthcoming)

The Real Suburbs: Unpacking Distortions and Truths about America’s Suburbs,” UCLA Center for the Study of Women Blog, September 2020.

“From Resourceful to Illegal: The Racialized History of Garage Housing in Los Angeles,” Boom California, January 31, 2019.  https://boomcalifornia.com/2019/01/31/from-resourceful-to-illegal/

Becky Nicolaides and Andrew Wiese, “Suburbanization Since 1945,” Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History (online), April 2017.

Suburban Metamorphosis,” UCLA Center for the Study of Women Blog and HippoReads, December 2016.

Becky Nicolaides, with maps by Jennifer Mapes, “Map Room:  Stay-at-Home Moms in Los Angeles County, 1950-2000,” Map Room feature, California History, vol. 93, no. 3 (Fall 2016), 2-8.

Becky Nicolaides and James Zarsadiaz, “Design Assimilation in Suburbia:  Asian Americans, Built Landscapes, and Suburban Advantage in the San Gabriel Valley since 1970,” Journal of Urban History, 43, 2 (2017) published OnlineFirst November 5, 2015.

* 2015 Arnold Hirsch Award, Urban History Association

* 2018 Catherine W. Bishir Prize, Vernacular Architecture Forum

“Introduction: Asian American Suburban History” for the “Special Issue: Asians in the Suburbs,” guest edited by Becky Nicolaides, Journal of American Ethnic History 34: 2 (Winter 2015).  With articles by Willow Lung Amam, Jennifer Fang, and Mark Padoongpatt.

“The Social Fallout of Racial Politics: Civic Engagement in Suburban Pasadena, 1950-2000,” in Making Suburbia, edited by John Archer, Paul Sandul, and Katherine Solomonson (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2015)

Becky Nicolaides and Andrew Wiese, “Suburban Disequilibrium,” New York Times, Sunday Review section, April 7, 2013.  Also on the Opinionator blog:  http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/06/suburban-disequilibrium/

“From Resourceful to Illegal: The Racialized History of Garage Housing in Los Angeles,” Boom California, January 31, 2019.  https://boomcalifornia.com/2019/01/31/from-resourceful-to-illegal/

Media Coverage
Country Focus
United States
Expertise by Geography
United States
Expertise by Chronology
20th century, 21st century
Expertise by Topic
Family, Gender, Local & Regional, Race, Urban History