Matthew (Matt) Lassiter is Professor of History, Professor of Urban and Regional Planning, and Arthur F. Thurnau Professor at the University of Michigan. His newest book, The Suburban Crisis: White Middle-Class America and the War on Drugs, is in the final stages of revision and is forthcoming from Princeton University Press in late 2022 or early 2023. Essays drawn from The Suburban Crisis have appeared in the special Journal of American History issue “Historians and the Carceral State” (2015) and the special Journal of Urban History issue “Rethinking Urban America through the Lens of the Carceral State” (2015). Lassiter is also the author of The Silent Majority: Suburban Politics in the Sunbelt South (Princeton University Press, 2006, Politics and Society in Twentieth-Century America series), winner of the 2007 Lillian Smith Award presented by the Southern Regional Council. He is coeditor of The Myth of Southern Exceptionalism (Oxford University Press, 2009) and The Moderates’ Dilemma: Massive Resistance to School Desegregation in Virginia (University of Virginia Press, 1998). He has published more than twenty essays in academic journals and anthologies and advised more than thirty Ph.D. dissertations. Lassiter also has served on the boards of the Urban History Association, Urban History, the Journal of Policy History, and is currently an editor of the Politics and Culture in Modern America series published by the University of Pennsylvania Press.
Lassiter is deeply committed to publicly engaged scholarship and is involved in a range of collaborative research projects and policy-oriented activities. He is on the steering committee of the U-M Carceral State Project and is the co-PI, along with Heather Thompson, of its Documenting Criminalization and Confinement (DCC) research initiative, which has more than sixty team members and has received a $500,000 major project grant from the U-M Humanities Collaboratory for 2019-2022. He is the director and primary investigator of the Policing and Social Justice HistoryLab, a DCC-affiliated project launched in summer 2018 that involves undergraduate and graduate students in research projects to excavate and publicize histories of police violence and misconduct in Detroit and Southeast Michigan–most notably through the website exhibit Detroit Under Fire: Police Violence, Crime Politics, and the Struggle for Racial Justice in the Civil Rights Era (2021). He is also the founder and coordinator of the Environmental Justice HistoryLab, a research partnership with the Ann Arbor-based Ecology Center to document the history of environmental justice and sustainability campaigns in Michigan. He has led undergraduate research teams in the creation of seven book-length digital exhibits on topics including the anti-Vietnam War, anti-apartheid, and anti-sweatshop movements at the University of Michigan; the history of environmental activism in Ann Arbor and the state of Michigan; and the history of policing and community responses in Detroit. In 2021, the National Historical Landmarks Program released Lassiter’s theme study Civil Rights in America: The History of Racial Discrimination in Housing in the United States, 1866-1975, a book-length report designed to inform the designation of historically significant sites. He also has published historically informed political commentary in the New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Review, Dissent, and other public forums.