MacArthur Fellows Program

Michael Ryan Davis

Historian | Class of 1998

Los Angeles, California
52 at time of award
October 25, 2022
Area of Focus
American History
Published July 1, 1998

About Mike's Work

Mike Davis is an historian whose writings span a range of urban, political, environmental, and social issues.

Davis merges academic scholarship and journalistic critical commentary into writing that is inspiring, informative, and provocative. His book, City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles (1992) is an accessible history of Los Angeles that combines academic reportage, ethnography, and investigative journalism. Davis's Prisoners of the American Dream (1986) provides a similarly accessible history of the working class and of labor organizations in the United States in the postwar period. He is also the author of Ecology of Fear: Los Angeles and the Imagination of Disaster (1999), Magical Urbanism: Latinos Reinvent the US Big City 2000 (2000), Late Victorian Holocausts: El Niño Families and the Making of the Third World (2002), and Dead Cities and Other Tales (2002). Davis is a frequent contributor to The Nation and The Los Angeles Times.


Davis is a professor of history at the University of California, Irvine. He served previously as a professor of history at the State University of New York, Stony Brook, and as an instructor in architecture at the Southern California Institute of Technology.

Davis received a B.A. (1968), an M.A. (1970), and a C.Phil. (1979) from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Last updated January 1, 2005

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