Hillary Jenks is an historian and assistant professor in the University Honors Program at Portland State University whose scholarship focuses on comparative racialization and metropolitan community formation in the twentieth-century United States. She received her Ph.D. in American Studies and Ethnicity from the University of Southern California in 2008. Professor Jenks is currently revising her award-winning dissertation into a book, Home Is Little Tokyo: Race and Metropolitan Development in Twentieth-Century Los Angeles. Using the ethnic enclave of Little Tokyo and the suburb of Gardena in Southern California as case studies, this work argues that racially inscribed spaces such as barrios, ghettos, and enclaves have been key in shaping the distinctive physical and symbolic landscapes of the metropolitan U.S. West.
Her next project, The Color of the City: Urban Revitalization and Regional Identities, 1950-2010, will examine the significance of historic preservation and environmental legislation in redirecting investment capital towards central cities over the latter half of the twentieth century, with particular attention to urban centers in the Sunbelt and the Pacific Northwest. Professor Jenks is currently pursuing this research through a fellowship with the Getty Research Institute.
She has taught many different courses at Portland State University, including “Studies I: Globalization,” “Studies IV: Urban Discourses,” and “Spatial Regimes and Racial Formations” in the Honors Program and a seminar on “Asians in the Americas” for the History Department. Professor Jenks also serves on the Board of the Oregon Nikkei Endowment and is Associated Faculty for PSU’s Institute for Asian Studies.
Phone: (503) 725-9857