With the passing of Zane L. Miller in 2016, academia lost a renowned scholar and one of the key founders of new urban history—a branch of the discipline that placed urban life at the center of American history and treated the city as an arena for civic and political action. He was a devoted, tireless mentor who published or fostered dozens of books and articles on urban history. He also co-founded Temple University Press’ foundational series Urban Life, Landscape, and Policy.
Bringing the Civic Back In provides a critical overview, appreciation, and extension of Miller’s work as scholar, editor, mentor, colleague, and citizen. Included are three excerpts from Miller’s final, unfinished work, in which he presented cities as the source of a civic nationalism he viewed as fundamental to the development of American democracy. The editors—along with contributors Robert B. Fairbanks and Charles Lester—reflect on the life and work of their friend as well as his role in creating a Cincinnati school of urban history. These original essays by practitioners of Miller’s approach highlight the power of ideas to shape social change.