Miller Center

Margaret O'Mara

History, University of Pennsylvania

Cities of Knowledge: Cold War Politics and the Roots of the Information Age Metropolis, 1945–75

O'Mara photo

Margaret O'Mara is Associate Professor of History at the University of Washington.

O'Mara's research interests include: Silicon Valley, national politics, economic globalization, postindustrial cities, and higher education. Her current research project examines the technology industry's impact on politics, culture, and place since 1970. She also works with government, business, and civic organizations on projects exploring how innovation drives growth and change.  Most recently, she was the lead curatorial advisor to the Bezos Center for Innovation at Seattle's Museum of History and Industry.

O'Mara's dissertation, "Cold War Politics and the Roots of the Information Age Metropolis, 1945–1975," examined the effect of Cold War politics upon urban space in the United States during the 30 years following World War II. She specifically explored the way in which the increased national focus on higher education and scientific research during the 1950s and 1960s strongly encouraged the suburbanization of people and industry – particularly the rapidly growing advanced scientific sectors – in metropolitan areas in many different parts of the country, including the major metropolitan areas of Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Northern California's Silicon Valley.

Fellowship year: 2002

Mentor: Bruce Schulman, Boston University

Selected Recent Publications

Pivotal Tuesdays: Four Elections That Shaped the Twentieth Century (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015).

"The Environmental Contradictions of High-Tech Urbanism." in Jeff Hou, Ben Spencer, Thaisa Way, and Ken Yocum, eds., Now Urbanism: The Future City is Here (Routledge, 2014).

"The Uses of the Foreign Student.Social Science History 36, no.4 (December 2012).

Cities and Suburbs." in Lynn Dumenil, ed., The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Social History (Oxford University Press, 2012).

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