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Melanie Arias

C. Phil., History, UCLA 2009
M.A., History, UCLA 2007
B.A., History, Carleton College 2002

Fax: 310-206-7833
E-mail: melanie.schmidt.arias at ucla dot edu


20th Century U.S., African American History, Urban History, History of Social Science, Policy History

Research Interests

Through the lens of one of the nation's largest social policy experiments, a test of housing allowances begun in 1970, my work traces federal and local policy responses to the advent of civil and gender rights protections in the 1970s. I am interested in how various stakeholders including community members, elected officials, research institutes and federal policymakers revealed their concerns and hope for social change through their responses to this experiment, and in how their responses shaped housing policy at HUD and beyond.


"Activists in City Hall: The Progressive Response to the Reagan Era" (Book Review) Planning Perspectives 26 (2011) pp. 686-87.

Grants and Awards

Luskin Fellowship Fall 2011
Albert Hoxie Conference Travel Grant May 2011
Carey McWilliams Research Grant Summer 2010
Graduate Summer Research Mentorship Summer 2006


Scot Brown

Conference Presentations

"Purchasing Power and Personal Dignity: The Experimental Housing Allowance Program and Policy Responses to Race and Gender in the 1970s" June 2012 Policy History Conference, Richmond, VA

"Experimental Citizenship: U.S. Government Experiments with Housing Allowances as Racial and Social Policy in the 1970s" (December 2011) Invited Lecture for Stokes Seminar Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia

"HUD's Market-based Housing Assistance Experiment and Changes in Citizenship in the Post Civil Rights Decade" (March 2011) Annual Conference of the Society for History in the Federal Government, National Archives in College Park, Maryland

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