Professor Donna Murch’s teaching and research specializations are historical studies of mass incarceration/war on drugs, Black Power and Civil Rights, California, social movements, and postwar U.S. cities. She is currently completing a new trade press book entitled Crack in Los Angeles: Policing the Crisis and the War on Drugs, which explores the militarization of law enforcement, the social history of drug consumption and sale, and the political economy of mass incarceration in late twentieth century California.
In October 2010, Murch published the award-winning monograph Living for the City: Migration, Education and the Rise of the Black Panther Party in Oakland, California with the University of North Carolina Press, which won the Phillis Wheatley prize in December 2011. She has published articles in the Journal of American History, Journal of Urban History, OAH Magazine of History, Black Scholar, Souls, Perspectives, New Politics, and Jacobin.
The award winning film maker Stanley Nelson’s Black Panther Party documentary, “Vanguard of the Revolution” featured her research and Murch’s recent essay, “Ferguson’s Inheritance,” on the historical continuities between the Watts rebellion and protests in the St. Louis metro area reached a broader audience beyond traditional academic venues. In addition to appearing in more popular publications, Murch co-edited a special edition of the Journal of Urban History on mass incarceration and urban spaces for the September 2015 issue. While working on a new book on the Reagan Era drug war in Los Angeles, Professor Murch is also completing an edited volume on the late twentieth carceral state entitled Challenging Punishment: Race and the War on Drugs.