Destin Jenkins

Neubauer Family Assistant Professor
Department of History and the College

Destin Jenkins studies the linkages between the American state, racial capitalism, and the built environment. His first book, tentatively titled “Bonded Metropolis: Debt, Redevelopment, and Racial Inequality in Postwar San Francisco,” argues that municipal debt became a key means by which officials in San Francisco delivered infrastructure and social services to the city’s white middle and upper classes. That expansion of a broader social wage was predicated on the dispossession of black renters, regressive taxation, and the rendering of some the city’s neighborhoods unworthy of debt. All the while, bondholders were able to secure guaranteed tax-exempt interest income, effectively turning public housing projects, parks, and schools into artifacts of high federal marginal tax rates, or the precursors to today’s offshore tax havens.

Jenkins’s academic interests include American political development, the illicit economy, uneven development, empire, and, increasingly, the environment. He has written for Process: A Blog for American History and Public Books, where he also edits the capitalism series.

Jenkins, who is also a faculty affiliate of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture, earned his PhD in history from Stanford University. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University’s Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History and most recently held a Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowship from the University of Chicago.

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