New book, The Fifth Freedom: Jobs, Politics, and Civil Rights in the United States, 1941-1972, by Anthony S. Chen receives 2008 President's Book Award

October 29, 2008

The Fifth Freedom: Jobs, Politics, and Civil Rights in the United States, 1941-1972 (Princeton University Press, forthcoming), a book authored by Anthony S. Chen, Associate Professor of Public Policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, has been selected as the 2008 President's Book Award winner by the Social Science History Association (SSHA). The award is given each year to mark a meritorious first work by a scholar, according to SSHA.

Tony received the award during the SSHA Annual Conference, held Oct. 23–28 in Miami. Entries were judged based on scholarly significance, interdisciplinary reach and methodological innovativeness. Manuscripts from beginning scholars—those who have not previously published a book—are considered for the President's Book Award.

"I feel really fortunate to be have been given this award," Tony said. "There are many talented authors and terrific books out there that are equally deserving of recognition."

The Fifth Freedom, an expansion on Tony's doctoral dissertation, chronicles the forgotten origins of affirmative action. It connects the advent of affirmative action with battles over fair employment practices legislation from the 1940s to the 1970s, highlighting the ironic and often overlooked role played by conservatives.

"This book takes a second look at where affirmative action came from and searches further in the past for the answers," Tony said. "I wanted to rethink the political history of affirmative action with this book."

The Fifth Freedom: Jobs, Politics and Civil Rights in America, 1941-1972 will be released early next year. Tony will continue to build on his work examining affirmative action with future publications, including a collaborative book that examines the policy's use in undergraduate college admissions practices.

Tony, also an Associate Professor of Sociology in the College of Literature Science and the Arts, teaches Special Topics in Race and Civil Rights Policy at the Ford School and will serve as Interim Director of the school's PhD program in 2009.