Andy Horowitz is an Assistant Professor of History at Tulane University, where he specializes in modern American political, cultural and environmental history. He received his Ph.D. from Yale University in 2014.
Over the past decade, his work on two places in particular - New Orleans, "the Land of Dreams," and New Haven, "the Model City" - has explored how people respond when faced, by choice or by circumstance, with the loss of their homes and the need to re-imagine their communities.
Horowitz's current book project, tentatively entitled "How to Sink New Orleans: Katrina's History, America's Tragedy, 1915-2015," is under contract with Harvard University Press. The book means to offer the definitive history of Katrina while exploring the questions the disaster gives rise to about race, class, community, trauma, inequality, the welfare state, urban and suburban development, extractive industry and environmental change.
Horowitz's dissertation on the causes and consequences of disaster in metropolitan New Orleans won the Southern Historical Association's C. Vann Woodward Prize for best dissertation in Southern history and Yale's George Washington Egleston Prize for best dissertation in American history. His writing has appeared in the Journal of Southern History, Southern Cultures, Historical Reflections, the Journal of American History, The Atlantic, Slate, Salon, the Washington Post and the New York Times.
Horowitz's teaching covers five centuries of American history: north, south, east and west, from city to wilderness. As a graduate student, he was awarded Yale's Prize Teaching Fellowship twice. In 2015-2016, he was a William L. Duren '26 Professor at Tulane.
Before he began work on his Ph.D. in 2008, Horowitz was the founding director of the New Haven Oral History Project, directed the Imagining New Orleans documentary project after Katrina and was a research associate at American Routes, the national public radio program. He received a B.A., magna cum laude, from Yale in 2003.
Areas of Expertise (5)
Awards to Louisiana Artists and Scholars Grant, Louisiana Board of Regents
2017 - 2018
Monroe Fellow, New Orleans Center for the Gulf South
2015 - 2016
Scholarly Retreat, A Studio in the Woods
William L. Duren '26 Professorship
2015 - 2016
University of Michigan Society of Fellows
Yale University: Ph.D. 2014
Yale University: B.A.
Media Appearances (5)
Meet the 2 Black Women Vying to Be the Next New Orleans Mayor
Next City online
“In 2010, the immediate state of the city was still tremendously uncertain,” says Andy Horowitz of Tulane University, who studies disasters and their political impacts. “When we were voting in 2010, it was much more voting out of hope and fear than strong sense of reality”...
Crime plummeted in Houston during Harvey. So why do many assume otherwise?
Houston Chronicle online
“Though disasters often spawn widespread reports of (major crime), in actuality, that rarely happens,” said Andy Horowitz, a Tulane University history professor who focuses on natural disasters.
“Floods just don’t cause societies to fall apart or fall into savagery,” he said. “People don’t go crazy just because there’s water in the streets”..
How Humans Make Disasters Worse
Time Magazine online
“Nature isn’t racist. Nature doesn’t target the poor,” my fellow disaster historian Andy Horowitz of Tulane University tweeted after Hurricane Harvey first struck. “So if you see disparate impacts with Harvey, ask what human choices caused them.”
What Horowitz describes is one of the key tenets of the half-century-old field of disaster studies. A natural hazard — the hurricane, earthquake, tornado or mudslide — is not a disaster on its own. If a hurricane blows over a deserted island, or if an earthquake rocks an unpopulated mountain, it is not a disaster. What makes the hazard a disaster is when it comes into contact with people and our societies. Disasters are social events, shaped and experienced through the features and distinctions we have built through our human choices. As a result, even though the wind and rain draw no distinctions of race, class or immigration status, the disasters they create often replicate and deepen social inequalities...
Why the Gulf Coast Is Uniquely Vulnerable to Disasters
The Atlantic online
In terms of the social history of the region, there are several chapters in the volume that address the environmental injustice that has this long history in the region. For instance, Andy Horowitz, a professor at Tulane University, looks at the 1900 Galveston storm in Texas as a “part of the ongoing disaster of racial terror in Texas at the turn of the 20th century”..
Tulane professor's op/ed on flood maps draws critique from public officials
But officials with several agencies say Andy Horowitz, assistant professor of history at Tulane, mischaracterized both the maps and the role of the National Flood Insurance Program in the column. The criticism came from officials with FEMA, the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, east bank levee authority, Army Corps of Engineers, and a University of Maryland engineering professor who advises the Army Corps of Engineers on risk issues...