Assistant Professor of History
curriculum vitae (pdf)
Professor Todd-Breland is a historian of 20th-century American urban and social life, African American history, and the history of education. She earned her doctorate from the University of Chicago, where she defended her dissertation, “To Reshape and Redefine our World: African American Political Organizing for Education in Chicago, 1968-1988,” with distinction in 2010. During the following year she held a Mellon/ACLS Early Career Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities at Northwestern University. She began teaching at UIC in Fall 2012.
Professor Todd-Breland's research centers on historical analyses of race, politics, education, and social movements in Chicago during the 20th century. Her book manuscript, A Political Education: Race, Politics, and Education in Post-Civil Rights Chicago, argues that the racial politics of post-industrial cities must be reconsidered in relation to the varied repertoires of civic engagement that residents developed in response to the "urban crisis." More specifically, she draws on archival sources and oral histories to analyze transformations and shifts in modes of organizing, the relationship between Black politics and the Chicago Democratic machine, and the racial politics of education reform between the late 1960s and early 2000s.
Her teaching interests and research agenda further encompass broad interdisciplinary issues animating studies of urban history, including social and economic inequality, urbanization, neighborhood transformation, urban public policy, and civic engagement.