Bench Ansfield recipient of the 2021 Theron Rockwell Field Prize for graduate and professional school students

May 25, 2021

It is our pleasure to announce that Bench Ansfield is the recipient of the 2021 Theron Rockwell Field Prize for graduate and professional school students.  Judged and awarded together with the Porter Prize, the Field Prize is one of few prizes awarded university-wide, across all disciplines.  The award was established in 1957 by Emilia R. Field in memory of her husband, Theron Rockwell Field.

Bench Ansfield’s dissertation, “Born in Flames, Arson, Racial Capitalism, and the Reinsuring of the Bronx in the Late 20th Century,” examines a series of fires that coursed through the Bronx and other U.S. cities in the 1970s. Though commonly confused with the uprisings of the 1960s, Ansfield demonstrates that these fires were not lit in protest, but for profit, most of which went to FIRE industries: finance, insurance, real estate. The dissertation examines how the financial rationality of absentee landlords and state-sponsored fire insurance restructured U.S. cities over the past five decades, reshaping poor neighborhoods of color in the post-civil rights era, and giving rise to new forms of urban political organizing.

The Office of the Secretary and Vice President for University Life posted a video featuring the graduate winners of the Porter and Field prizes is now posted

[0:14] – Bench Ansfield, Born in Flames: Arson, Racial Capitalism, and the Reinsuring of the Bronx in the Late Twentieth Century (Field Prize)

Many congratulations to you!