Anthony Pratcher II
CAUSE Postdoctoral Fellow
Anthony Pratcher II is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Africanamerican Urban Studies and the Economy in the Department of History at Carnegie Mellon University.
His manuscript, An Ascendant Phoenix: Settler Colonialism and the Making of the Metropolitan Sunbelt, analyzes metropolitan Phoenix as a case study in settler colonialism. His theoretical framework builds upon Patrick Wolfe’s insight that settler colonialism is a structure designed to eliminate indigenous land claims and is indebted to Black studies theorist Robert L. Allen for his explanation on how local elites and external investors collaborate in a domestic colony. This analysis diverges from Sunbelt scholars who understate how this relationship corrodes sovereignty. The work shows civic elites used urban policies to dispossess land from indigenes, Blacks, Chicanos, Asian Americans, and Anglo workers so investors and settlers could profit from metropolitan growth. The narrative starts in the 19th century as segregationists displaced agricultural laborers from municipal Phoenix; it continues in the postwar period as reformers wielded urban annexation to disenfranchise rural residents; and stops in the late 20th century as planners bulldozed annexed districts to build metropolitan infrastructure. Anglo workers saw displacement as necessary for racial supremacy even as external investors influenced zoning decisions and privatized local institutions. The epilogue ends with the foreclosure crisis to show how these tactics so eroded community life that residents lacked tools necessary to sustain civic institutions. This is why controversial conservatives like Joe Arpaio, Barry Goldwater, and Donald Trump, found early constituencies in the Salt River Valley: they argue racialized communities should be sacrificed to shield settlers from civic corrosion following metropolitan development. Settler colonialists can look at the metropolitan Sunbelt to understand how urban policies facilitate land dispossession from local communities to external investors with potential to become affluent new settlers.
His research has been funded by the Arizona Historical Society, the Captain Victor Gondos Research Fellowship, and an NEH/ODH Fellowship on Space and Place in Africana/Black Studies.
He co-edited a textbook on planning history, Planning Future Cities (Dubuque, IA: Kendall- Hunt, 2017), with Walter Greason and has been published by Pennsylvania Magazine of Biography and History, Southern California Quarterly and Technology and Culture.
He earned his Ph. D. in American History in 2017 from the University of Pennsylvania and was awarded a B.A. in History from Howard University