Greetings! [updated May 2021]
My name is Andy Urban. I use this site to share research and writing, exhibits, teaching materials, and other projects I’m involved in as a professor (along with the occasional hiking photo). Since 2010, I’ve been a member of the American Studies and History departments at Rutgers University, New Brunswick.
My book, Brokering Servitude: Migration and the Politics of Domestic Labor during the Long Nineteenth Century, was published by New York University Press in 2018 (it can also be purchased on Amazon). Brokering Servitude examines how labor markets for domestic service were shaped and governed by philanthropists, missionaries, commercial offices, and the state, and how workers responded to and resisted attempts to restrict their freedom of movement and contract during the period from 1850 to 1924.
My current book project focuses on the history of Seabrook Farms, a frozen foods agribusiness and company town in southern New Jersey that recruited incarcerated Japanese Americans, guestworkers from the British West Indies, and European Displaced Persons and stateless Japanese Peruvians during the 1940s and 1950s. My research on Seabrook Farms is also the subject of an online exhibition hosted by the New Jersey Digital Highway, which I curated with Rutgers’ students in 2015-16, and the focus of a 2018 National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute that focused on how to incorporate histories of incarceration, relocation, and resettlement during the World War II era into K-12 curriculum. In the spring 2021, I worked with the Seabrook Educational and Cultural Center to host two public meetings that invited stakeholders to address how content, programming, and community collaborations might better capture this historic site’s complex and layered histories.
My academic writing has appeared in the Journal of Asian American Studies, Journal of American Ethnic History, Journal of American History, Journal of Policy History, Gender and History, The Public Historian, Radical History Review, and American Studies. My opinion pieces have appeared in the Washington Post, Newark Star-Ledger, South Jersey Times, Public Radio International, and Inside Higher Ed. I’m currently serving as a member of the Immigration and Ethnic History Society’s Executive Board, and as a member of the Executive Council of the Rutgers AAUP-AFT union.
It’s been a bit of a trip in the last couple years… during the spring 2019, I held Fulbright Fellowship in American Studies at the University of Klagenfurt in Austria, where I worked with students on the history of Displaced Persons and camps in the province of Carinthia, and how post-World War II refugee histories might be made part of Austrians’ public memory. On July 31, 2019, my wife Helena and I welcomed Isaac bach, who spent his first four months of life in Fishguard, Wales. As of October 2020 we’ve been back in Brooklyn.
When not working or dadding, I enjoy walking and biking around Brooklyn and Manhattan. I’m known to have tricked unsuspecting friends into almost ridiculously long walks. I also like hiking. Secretly, I hope you are more impressed with my hiking photos than my academic CV.
In May 2016, I spent an amazing two months working as a Term VI Visiting Professor at Deep Springs College, in Inyo County, California.