Department of History

  • Portrait (head shot photo)
  • Donna Murch
  • Associate Professor of History
  • Degree: Ph.D., History, U.C. Berkeley, 2004
  • Rutgers : At Rutgers since 2004
  • Specialty: African-American and US History: Black Radicalism; History of Mass Incarceration
  • Email:
  • Office: 305 Van Dyck Hall
  • Phone: 848-932-8379




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.



  • 512:322  Drugs: A Social History
  • 512:364  History of Blacks in Urban America
  • 512:379  African American History II
  • 506:401  Postwar Youth Culture From Hip Hop to Crack
  • 506:402  The Black Panther Party and American Social Movements


  • 510: 553 Problems and Directed Readings in African American History
  • 510: 561 History of the Long Sixties, U.S. Colloquium
  • 510:563  Race, Criminalization and the Carceral State, Af Am Colloquium
  • 510:563  The City in Fragments, U.S. Colloquium



  • Co-Director of the Urban History Association Annual Conference, 2016
  • Narratives of Power: New Articulations of Race, Gender, Sexuality and Class
    Co-Director, Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis (2010-2012)
    Rutgers, State University of New Jersey
  • Confronting the Carceral State: Policing and Punishment in Modern U.S. History
    Conference Organizer, March 2010
    Rutgers, State University of New Jersey
  • Black Atlantic Lecture Series
    Director (2008-2013)
    Rutgers, State University of New Jersey
  • Aresty Research Program
    Rutgers, State University of New Jersey
    Faculty Mentor

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