Areas of Specialty
crime, policing, and incarceration in American history; postwar American political and legal history; histories of state violence; urban history; African American history
Current Research Interests
Melanie’s research focuses on the policies and institutions of urban criminal justice systems in the United States since the 1950s. She is currently working on a book that is tentatively titled Community of the Condemned: Chicago and the Transformation of American Jails, under contract with University of Pennsylvania Press. Looking to America’s largest jail, she explores how contests over reform, human rights, and race shaped everyday experiences of state violence among marginalized people in American cities.
“The Utah Eagle Forum: Legitimizing Political Activism as Women’s Work,” in Oral History, Community, and Work in the American West, edited by Jessie L. Embry, (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2013), 247-266.
Melanie Newport hails from Tulsa, Oklahoma and Tacoma, Washington. She took her BA from Pacific Lutheran University in 2006. She completed an MA at the University of Utah in 2009 and her PhD at Temple University in 2016. Melanie’s research has been supported by the University of Illinois at Chicago Libraries, Black Metropolis Research Consortium, the University of Chicago, and the Center for the Humanities at Temple. As a graduate student, Melanie worked as a preceptor in African American Studies at Princeton University and taught at Temple University, Community College of Philadelphia, and Garden State Youth Correctional Facility in New Jersey. She has trained with the Inside-Out Prison Education exchange.