Miller Center

Miller Center National Fellowship

Beginning in the 2017-2018 academic year, the National Fellowship Program, a longstanding initiative of the Miller Center, will fall under the leadership of the Jefferson Scholars Foundation at U.Va.. The Jefferson Scholars Foundation, created in 1980, currently offers the premier graduate fellowship and undergraduate scholarship at the University. To learn more about the National Fellows Program, including how to apply, click here.

Meet The Fellows

Joseph Crespino - History, Stanford University

Project: Strategic Accommodation: Civil Rights Opponents in Mississippi and their Impact on American Racial Politics, 1953–1972

Crespino photo

Joseph Crespino is Professor of History at Emory University.

Crespino's Research considers white Southerners more directly in the context of the emerging conservative politics of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s to reflect the complicated role that race has played in the emergence of modern conservatism.

Crespino's dissertation, "Strategic Accommodation: Civil Rights Opponents in Mississippi and their Impact on American Racial Politics, 1953–1972," won the 2003 Dissertation Award from the Jepson School of Leadership at the University of Richmond. It examined the impact of racial desegregation on political culture in the American South by providing a case study of resistance and accommodation to civil rights reform in Mississippi's white community. His project revealed how key policy makers along with local economic elites led an accommodation to racial change that accepted token forms of desegregation in ways that preserved racial and economic privilege and forestalled further civil rights reform.

Selected Recent Publications

Strom Thurmond's America (Hill and Wang, 2012)


Maxine Eichner - Political Science, University of North Carolina

Project: Reinstating Family: Rethinking the Relationship Between the Family and the State

Eichner photo

Fellowship year: 2002

Mentor: Molly Shanley, Vassar College

Maxine Eichner is Reef C. Ivey II Professor of Law at University of North Carolina School of Law.

Her teaching and research interests include sex equality, family law, legal theory and torts. She writes on issues of liberal theory, feminist theory, and family law. Eichner's recent scholarship focuses on the stance that the state should take with respect to family ties among citizens. Eichner received a B.A. and a J.D. from Yale University (where she was an articles editor of the Yale Law Journal), before pursuing her M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina. She held a Women's Law and Public Policy Fellowship through Georgetown Law School, and clerked for Judge Louis Oberdorfer in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, as well as for Judge Betty Fletcher in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She practiced civil rights, women's rights, and employment law for several years at the law firm of Patterson, Harkavy, and Lawrence in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Eichner's dissertation, "Reinstating Family: Rethinking the Relationship Between the Family and the State," explored the relationship between state and family by examining the understandings of the family-state relationship embodied in three different areas of contemporary United States law. Specifically, she studied the intersection between parenting and the workplace, the state and federal laws delineated "family" and the laws governing the relationship among parents, children, and public schools. She argued that a more nuanced, richer understanding of the relationship between family and state should be incorporated into American law.

Selected Recent Publications

The Supportive State: Families, Government, and America's Political Ideals (Oxford University Press, 2010). 

"The New Child Abuse Panic." The New York Times, July 11, 2015.

"Market-Cautious Feminism." in Austin Sarat, ed. Special Issue: Feminist Legal Theory Studies, in Law, Politics and Society 69 (Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2016): 141 - 187.

"The Supportive State: Government, Dependency, and Responsibility for Caretaking." in Care Ethics and Political Theory (Oxford University Press, 2015).


Michael Fein - History, Brandeis University

Project: Public Works: New York Road Building and the American State, 1880–1956

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Michael Fein is an Assistant Dean of Arts and Sciences and an Associate Professor of History at Johnson & Wales University.

Fein's dissertation led to Paving the Way: New York Road Building and the American State, 1880–1956 (Kansas University, 2008), which won the Annual Archives Award for Excellence in Research from the New York State Archives. Fein has also published a collaborative work with Professor David Moss at the Harvard Business School. 

Fein's dissertation, "Public Works: New York Road Building and the American State, 1880–1956," examined the link between infrastructure and political development. The project used New York State as a case study to explore the expansion of state capacity, providing a historical perspective on the development of New York's massive public works program, from the paving of the first state roads to the construction of the Thruway. In so doing, Fein shed light on the ways in which public construction helped to reconfigure landscapes and communities, as well as political and economic structures. From that study, he drew important insights on a vital question in policy history: How have the units of the state addressed modern problems that are national in scope but local in implementation?

Selected Recent Publications

Paving the Way: New York Road Building and the American State, 1880-1956 (University Press of Kansas, 2008)

Tunnel Vision: ‘Invisible’ Highways and Boston’s ‘Big Dig’ in the Age of Privatization." Journal of Planning History 11, no. 1 (2008): 47-69.


George Xuezhi Guo - Political Science, University of Virginia

Project: The Guanxi (Interpersonal Relations) of Chinese Communist Elite: Theory and Practice

Guo photo

Fellowship year: 2002

Mentor: Lowell Dittmer, University of California, Berkeley

George Xuezhi Guo is Professor of Political Science at Guilford College.

Guo specializes in comparative politics, international politics, East Asian politics, and comparative political thought.

Guo constructed his dissertation around the model of guanxi, an ideal which has deep cultural roots embedded in Chinese philosophy and thought as well as the inspired ideal personality which is preoccupied with a man-centered social system and ethic-oriented social norms. His dissertation, "The Guanxi (Interpersonal Relations) of Chinese Communist Elite: Theory and Practice," established a theoretical model of guanxi in Chinese interactions as exemplified in a study of Chinese Communist Party elite politics. While guanxi is used as an instrument to acquire social resources or political advantages, Guo argued that it also functions as a social norm to comply with social rituals, as a vehicle for communicating emotional attachments, and as a moral obligation to uphold mutual dependence and to ensure mutual stability between people within their networks. In this respect, Guo fundamentally disagreed with the prevalent view of guanxi as consisting only of cunning tactics for pursuing individual personal interests.


Ronald Krebs - Political Science, University of Washington

Project: A School for the Nation? Military Institutions and the Boundaries of Nationality

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Fellowship year: 2002

Mentor: Elizabeth Kier, University of Washington

Ronald Krebs is Professor of Political Science at the University of Minnesota.

Krebs was named a McKnight Land-Grant Professor for 2006–2008. He has been awarded research fellowships by the Donald D. Harrington Faculty Fellows Program at the University of Texas at Austin, the John M. Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard, and the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard. Krebs conducts research at the juncture of international relations and comparative politics, with a particular interest in the consequences of war and military service. Krebs has recently begun a major research project exploring the effects of war on democratic institutions and processes. His book, Fighting for Rights: Military Service and the Politics of Citizenship, explores the conditions under which and the mechanisms through which military participation policies shape contestation over citizenship rights. He received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 2003.

Krebs' dissertation, "A School for the Nation? Military Institutions and the Boundaries of Nationality," explored the political consequences of patterns of military inclusion and exclusion in several historical and national contexts, including the United States, Israel, and imperial Germany. In it, Krebs surveyed the political legacy of the desegregation of the U.S. armed forces, including a case study of African-Americans' military service in the 20th century which explained why black claims-making premised upon military service failed to move white audiences after World War I.

Selected Recent Publications

Narrative and the Making of US National Security. (Cambridge University Press, August 2015)

"Rhetoric, Legitimation, and Grand Strategy." ed. with Stacie E. Goddard. Special issue of Security Studies. 24, no. 1 (January-March 2015).

In War's Wake: International Conflict and the Fate of Liberal Democracy. Edited with Elizabeth Kier. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010.


Sean L. Malloy - History, Stanford University

Project: Henry L. Stimson and the American Foreign Policy Tradition

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Sean Malloy is Associate Professor of History at University of California, Merced.

Malloy's research interests include the study of war and morality, particularly with respect to the targeting of civilians in wartime. Most recently, Malloy's work has focused on the American decision to use atomic weapons against Japanese cities and civilians in August 1945. 

Malloy's dissertation, "Henry L. Stimson and the American Foreign Policy Tradition," focused on the former Secretary of War's conceptions of international relations and political economy and their contribution to the development of American foreign policy in the 20th century. He also examined the variety of methods that Stimson sought to employ in order to ensure the level of international stability that he believed necessary for American security. Malloy focused particularly on Stimson's link between the growth of American trade and the propagation of democracy and peace, both in the developed and developing world.

Selected Recent Publications

Atomic Tragedy: Henry L. Stimson and the Decision to Use the Bomb Against Japan (Cornell University Press, 2008).

"Liberal Democracy and the Lure of Bombing in the Interwar United States." in Bruce Schulman, ed., Making the American Century: Studies in 20th Century Culture, Politics, and Economy. (Oxford University Press, 2014): 109-123. 

"Uptight in Babylon: Eldridge Cleaver's Cold War." Diplomatic History 37, no. 3 (June 2013): 538-571.

"'A Very Pleasant Way to Die': Radiation Effects and the Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb Against Japan.Diplomatic History 36, no. 3 (June 2012): 515-545.


Patrick McGuinn - Political Science, University of Virginia

Project: The Institutionalization of Federal Education Policy, 1965–2000

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Fellowship year: 2002

Mentor: Maris Vinovskis, University of Michigan

Patrick McGuinn is Professor of Political Science and Education at Drew University.

Partick McGuinn has assumed full professorship as Professor of Public Policy and Education at Drew University (Summer 2016). He recently co-edited with former Miller Center fellow, Chris Loss, a publication, The Convergence of K-12 and Higher Education with Harvard Education Press (2016.) McGuinn's first book, No Child Left Behind and the Transformation of Federal Education Policy, 1965-2005was honored as a Choice outstanding academic title.  He is also the editor (with Paul Manna) of Education Governance for the 21st Century: Overcoming the Structural Barriers to School Reform.  Patrick has published many academic articles and book chapters and has produced a number of policy reports for the Brookings Institution, the American Enterprise Institute, the Center for American Progress, and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.  He is a regular commentator on education policy and politics in media outlets such as Education Week, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the NJ Star Ledger and was recognized in the top 100 of the Education Week Edu-Scholar rankings for the past three years.  He is a former high school social studies teacher and the father of four daughters in public school.

In his dissertation, "The Institutionalization of Federal Education Policy, 1965–2000," McGuinn argued that the expansion and institutionalization of federal education policy must be understood in the context of the institutional incentives that shape the behavior of political actors in the national government. The development and eventual public acceptance of a powerful equity rationale for federal intervention in education during the 1960s led to the creation of new educational institutions for research, policymaking, and administration at the national level.

Selected Recent Publications

The Convergence of K-12 and Higher Education (Harvard Education Press, 2016)

No Child Left Behind and the Transformation of Federal Education Policy, 1965-2005 (University Press of Kansas, 2006)

The New Politics of Education: Analyzing the Federal Education Policy Landscape in the Post-NCLB Era.” with Elizabeth DeBray-Pelot, Educational Policy 23, no. 1 (2009): 15-42. 


Ajay Mehrotra - History, University of Chicago

Project: Creating the Modern American Fiscal State: The Political Economy of U.S. Tax Policy, 1880–1930

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Fellowship year: 2002

Mentor: Elliot Brownlee, University of California, Santa Barbara

Ajay Mehrotra is director of the American Bar Foundation

Ajay K. Mehrotra is currently director of the American Bar Foundation.  He is a legal scholar whose research focuses on the history of American law and political economy, and the relationship between taxation and state formation in historical and comparative contexts.  

Prior to his ABF Directorship, Ajay Mehrotra was Professor of Law and Louis F. Niezer Faculty Fellow at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law. From 2012-2015, he also served as the school's associate dean for research. He was also an adjunct Professor of History at Indiana University and an Affiliated Faculty member of the Vincent and Elinor Ostrom Workshop on Political Theory and Policy Analysis.  From 2007-2011, he was Co-director (with Michael Grossberg) of the Indiana University Center for Law, Society & Culture.  Mehrotra was previously a Doctoral Fellow at the American Bar Foundation while completing his Ph.D. in History from the University of Chicago. He received his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and his B.A. in Economics from the University of Michigan. After law school and prior to his graduate training in history, Mehrotra was an associate in the Structured Finance Department in the New York offices of J.P. Morgan.

Mehrotra's writings have appeared in student-edited law reviews and interdisciplinary journals including Law & Social Inquiry, Law & History Review, and Law & Society Review.  His scholarship and teaching have been supported by grants and fellowships from the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the William Nelson Cromwell Foundation, and the Social Science Research Council.

Selected Recent Publications

Making the Modern American Fiscal State: Law, Politics, and the Rise of Progressive Taxation, 1877-1929 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013).

"Charles A. Beard and the Columbia School of Political Economy: Revisiting the Intellectual Roots of the Beardian Thesis." Articles by Maurer Faculty, Paper 1311 (2014)

From Seligman to Shoup: The Early Columbia School of Taxation and Development.” in W. Elliot Brownlee, Yasunori Fukagai & Eisaku Ide, eds., The Political Economy of Transnational Tax Reform: The Shoup Mission to Japan in Historical Context (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013).
From Programmatic Reform to Social Science Research: The National Tax Association and the Promise and Perils of Disciplinary Encounters.” with J. Thorndike, Law & Society Review 45, no. 3 (2011): 593-630.


Nicole Mellow - Political Science, University of Texas, Austin

Project: Rising Partisanship: A Study of the Regional Dimensions of Conflict in the Post-War House of Representatives

Mellow photo

Nicole Mellow is Associate Professor of Political Science at Williams College.

Her research interests are in American political development and she is currently at work on a book entitled Legacies of Loss in American Politics with Jeffrey Tulis (Princeton, forthcoming). She is also working on a project on national identity and state building at the beginning of the twentieth century, tentatively titled, How White Ethnics Got Themselves a New Deal: Nation Building and the Interventionist State, 1900 to 1940

Mellow's dissertation, "Rising Partisanship: A Study of the Regional Dimensions of Conflict in the Post-War House of Representatives," studied American political parties in the post-World War II era. She argued that the resurgence of congressional party conflict in recent decades after years of decreasing conflict, and the rise in partisanship since the 1970s, was in part the result of a regional restructuring of the party system, one in which the geographical bases of the two major parties shifted. Tensions within the New Deal party system contributed to the development of new regional orientations within the parties and this led to greater conflict between them. Mellow's research combined aggregate data analysis with historical case studies of conflict in the policy areas of trade, welfare, and abortion.

Selected Recent Publications

The State of Disunion: Regional Sources of Modern American Partisanship (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008).

The Anti-Federal Appropriation.” with Jeffrey Tulis, American Political Thought 3, no. 1 (Spring 2014).

How the Democrats Rejuvenated Their Coalition.” in Michael Nelson, ed., The Elections of 2012 (Washington D.C.: CQ Press, 2013).

Foreign Policy, Bipartisanship, and the Paradox of Post-September 11 America.” with Peter Trubowitz, International Politics 48, no.2-3 (2011): 164-187.


Andrew Morris - History, University of Virginia

Project: Charity, Therapy, and Poverty: Private Social Service in the Era of Public Welfare

Morris photo

Fellowship year: 2002

Mentor: Alice O'Connor, University of California, Santa Barbara

Andrew Morris is Associate Professor of History at Union College.

Morris teaches 20th century American political history. 

Morris's dissertation examined how voluntary social welfare agencies came to terms with the expansion of the public welfare state from the 1930s through the 1960s. By examining a group of private family welfare agencies, Morris traced how these charities reinvented themselves from dispensers of material aid in the 1910s and 1920s to providers of therapeutic counseling services in the 1940s and 1950s. The Depression and World War II proved key turning points, demonstrating to private agencies the need for a relatively strong public welfare state to meet the basic needs of the poor, as well as the need for such agencies to clearly distinguish themselves both from their charitable past and from public welfare entities. By embracing a variety of counseling techniques rooted in the psychological training of their professional social workers, private family agencies helped build a therapeutic culture in the postwar United States, and decisively influenced the adoption of rehabilitative social work as an element of welfare reform in the early 1960s.


Margaret Pugh O’Mara - History, University of Pennsylvania

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

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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.

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).


Damion Thomas - History, University of California, Los Angeles

Project: "The Good Negroes": African-American Athletes and the Cultural Cold War, 1945–68

Thomas photo

Fellowship year: 2002

Mentor: Jeffrey Sammons, University of North Carolina

Damion Thomas is Assistant Professor of Physical Cultural Studies and affiliate faculty in the African American Studies Department at the University of Maryland.

Thomas's research interests include:  Sport and United States race relations, Black internationalism, African American popular culture, U.S. foreign relations, and Black masculinity. His book, Globetrotting: African American Athletes and Cold War Politics, provides a transnational perspective to the study of domestic American racial affairs by examining U.S. government attempts to manipulate international perceptions of U.S. race relations during the early days of the Cold War.  As nations in Africa, Asia, and Latin American gained their independence, the State Department began to send prosperous African Americans overseas to showcase African Americans as the preeminent citizens of the African Diaspora, rather than as victims of racial oppression. Athletes were prominently featured in the State Department goodwill tours, designed to undermine anti-Americanism. However, as African-American athletes began to provide counter narratives to State Department claims about American exceptionalism—most notably during the 1968 Mexico City Olympic protest—the transatlantic relationships these tours fostered were co-opted as a means to foster African Diasporic cultural and political agendas.

Thomas's dissertation, "'The Good Negroes': African-American Athletes and the Cultural Cold War, 1945–1968," examined State Department attempts to manipulate international perceptions of United States race relations by sending African-American athletes abroad as cultural ambassadors. This project argued that the politics of symbolism associated with the African-American athletes and integrated teams were designed to give legitimacy to existing racial inequalities in American society during the Cold War/Civil Rights Era. The symbol of the integrated athlete allowed the government to argue that the racial order was not an impediment to the advancement of individual African Americans.

Selected Recent Publications

Globetrotting: African American Athletes and Cold War Politics (University of Illinois Press, 2012).


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