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

Josh Ashenmiller - History, University of California, Santa Barbara

Project: The Strange Career of Environmental Impact Assessment

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Josh Ashenmiller is Professor of History at Fullerton College in California.

Ashenmiller has taught U.S. history at Fullerton College since 2006. Prior to that, he taught at Scripps College, Claremont-McKenna College, Cal State Northridge, Campbell Hall School, and River Oaks School. He has published articles in the Pacific Historical Review and various historical encyclopedias. In addition to teaching, he has worked on the Faculty Senate, Program Review Committee, and the accreditation self-study.

Ashenmiller wrote his dissertation on environmental impact assessment (EIA) and discussed a strong continuity between environmental impact assessment and the long tradition of federal attempts to manage economic growth, dating to the establishment of the Interstate Commerce Commission in 1887.


Fritz Bartel - History, Cornell University

Project: "The Privatization of the Cold War: Global Finance and the Fall of Communism"

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Fellowship year: N/A

Mentor: Daniel Sargent, University of California, Berkeley

Fritz Bartel’s dissertation examines the growth of communist states’ sovereign debt to Western banks and governments from the 1973 oil crisis through the end of the Cold War. Between 1970 and 1989, the Eastern Bloc accumulated over $90 billion of sovereign debt to Western banks and governments.  The core argument of the project is that this sovereign debt – and the bankers and policymakers on both sides of the Iron Curtain who managed it – decisively influenced the end of the Cold War.  Through studies of the financial history of Poland, Hungary, East Germany, and the Soviet Union, the project tracks the growth of Western financial power in the Eastern Bloc.  Based on extensive archival research across Europe and North America, it demonstrates the significant role that this Western financial power played in the years of transition from communism to democratic capitalism.  In so doing, The Privatization of the Cold War analyzes the rise of financial capitalism and the end of the Cold War as part of the same global history.  It is a history that illuminates the powerful role of non-state financial actors, as well as the challenges that global financial markets present to democratic governance, state sovereignty, and labor movements.


Christy Chapin - History, University of Virginia

Project: Ensuring America's Health: Publicly Constructing the Private Health Insurance Industry, 1945–1970

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Fellowship year: 2010

Mentor: Deborah Stone, Dartmouth College

Christy Chapin is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Her interests include political, business, and economic history as well as capitalism studies. Chapin has published articles in Studies in American Political Development and the Journal of Policy History. Her book, Ensuring America’s Health: The Public Creation of the Corporate Health Insurance System, was published by Cambridge University Press in summer 2015.  Professor Chapin is now at work on a new project entitled The U.S. Economy and the Emergence of Financial Capitalism.

Her dissertation explored how insurance companies became the primary financiers and coordinators of health care by evaluating how federal policy and debates interacted with two institutional levels: first, trade and professional associations and second, ground-level organizations such as individual firms and physician offices. She showed that by 1970, government policy had helped create an expensive, corporate model of health care. Cost problems were built into the system, because doctors behaved as semi-autonomous "managers" whose interests and pecuniary concerns diverged from those of the financiers – insurance companies. Chapin concluded that federal policy helped position insurance companies at the heart of a distinctive public-private system.


Anthony Chen - Sociology, University of California - Berkeley

Project: From Fair Employment to Equal Opportunity and Beyond: Race, Liberalism, and the Politics of the New Deal Order, 1941–1971

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Anthony S. Chen is Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of Undergraduate Studies at Northwestern University.

Previously, Chen was Assistant Professor of Sociology and Public Policy at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. In addition to holding appointments in the Department of Sociology and the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, he was also a Faculty Associate in the Program in American Cultures. From 2005 to 2007, he held the position of Robert Wood Johnson Scholar in Health Policy Research at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, San Francisco. Chen's book, The Fifth Freedom (Princeton, 2009), won the President's Book Award from the Social Science History Association. Chen received his B.A. from Rice University 1994 and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 2002.

Selected Recent Publications

The Fifth Freedom: Jobs, Politics, and Civil Rights in the United States, 1941-1972. (Princeton University Press, 2009)

Political Parties and the Sociological Imagination: Past, Present, and Future Directions.” with Stephanie L. Mudge. Annual Review of Sociology 40 (2014): 305-330.


Jeannette Estruth - History, New York University

Project: "A Political History of the Silicon Valley: Structural Change, Urban Transformation, and Local Movements, 1945-1995"

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Fellowship year: 2017

Mentor: Mark Brilliant, University of California, Berkeley

Jeannette Estruth has been selected as the Miller Center/ Hagley Library Dissertation Fellow in Business and Politics.

It has become accepted wisdom that the history of Silicon Valley represents something universal about the power of technology to transform national and global economies in the twenty-first century. While acknowledging the influence of the Valley on technologies like computing, telecommunications, and surveillance, Jeannette Estruth’s dissertation takes a wider view, interrogating the relationships between the politics of urban development, labor organizing, and social inclusion to understand how the technology industry became synonymous with California’s South Bay Area in the postwar period. By drawing from a variety of archival sources-- oral histories, corporate memos, activist pamphlets, and union newspapers-- it argues that debates over land use, race, gender, labor, and the urban environment shaped the technology industry’s growth in the Valley in the twentieth century. Estruth posits that local claims to economic inclusion and the concurrent rise of the technology industry combined to produce a new normative political discourse by the 1990s. Defining this impulse as “techno-libertarianism,” she asks how an industry with its roots in federal defense spending came to see itself in opposition to the state; how the culture of participatory entrepreneurship sought to replace the culture of participatory left politics as the hallmark of progressivism; and how the collectivist ideals of the local political left were appropriated into a global promise of universal human liberation through market technologies. By uniting the technological history of the Silicon Valley with its urban and political history, her project prompts new understandings of the emergence of global economies in the postwar period.


Beth A. Freeborn - Economics, University of Virginia

Project: Drug Laws and the Market for Cocaine

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Fellowship year: 2003

Mentor: Peter Reuter, University of Maryland

Beth Freeborn is an Economist at the Bureau of Economics at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

Freeborn was previously Assistant Professor of Economics at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg where she taught courses on Microeconomics and Industrial Organization. Her research focuses on industrial organization, applied microeconomics, economics of crime and econometrics.

Freeborn's dissertation was an economic study of the market for powder and crack cocaine using data collected from the Drug Enforcement Agency from 1984 to 2001. She examined how drug dealers make decisions regarding what type of cocaine package to produce. The benefit to dealers is the total revenue they receive from the packages they sell, and the cost to dealers is both the monetary cost of purchasing the wholesale cocaine and the legal penalty if they are caught selling cocaine. These legal penalties vary greatly by state, providing different incentives to dealers based on geographical location. This project created and estimated a model of the market for cocaine. This model can then be utilized to analyze a number of different public policy questions.

Selected Recent Publications

"Determinants of Tacit Collusion in a Cournot Duopoly Experiment." with Lisa R. Anderson and Jason P. Hulbert, Southern Economic Journal 81, no. 3 (January 2015): 633-652.

"Report to Congress Under Section 319 of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003." with Julie Miller, Federal Trade Commission (2015)

"Accuracy of Information Maintained by U.S. Credit-Bureaus: Frequency of Errors and Effects on Consumers' Credit Scores." with L. Douglas Smith et al.  Journal of Consumer Affairs 47, no. 3 (2013): 588-601.

"Competition and Crowding-Out in the Market for Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment." with Andrew Cohen and Brian McManus, International Economic Review 54, no. 1 (2013): 159-184.


Judge Glock - History, Rutgers University

Project: “The Search for a Balanced Economy: The Origins of Federal Intervention in the Mortgage Market, 1916-1960”

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Visiting Assistant Professor

Judge Glock is currently a visiting assistant professor at the College of Business and Economics at West Virginia University. Glock's research focuses on American Economic History and the history of central banking and money. His work explores the origins of lender of last resort functions, the development of mortgage markets and the creation of government-sponsored enterprises (GSE). He also works on the history of monetary thought.

Glock earned his PhD in American History at Rutgers University, where his research focused on the political and financial history of the early 20th century. Before coming to Rutgers, Glock did historical research on Native American and environmental affairs for the Department of Justice and taught English in China. He received both his B.A. and M.A. in history from the College of William and Mary, where he completed a thesis on the electric streetcar and urban real estate in Richmond, Virginia.

Glock’s dissertation investigates how and why the federal government became involved in the mortgage market beginning in the 1910s. He hopes to show that a desire for “economic balance” between different sectors, such as agriculture and industry, led the government to create a series of implicitly-guaranteed but nominally private financial corporations, such as the Federal Land Banks, the Federal Home Loan Banks, and Fannie Mae, which could subsidize mortgages in supposedly backward areas of the economy. In practice, however, these corporations focused less on balancing economic sectors than on protecting the financial system and ensuring its overall liquidity. He has presented his work at numerous national conferences, where he most recently discussed the long-term interest rate in the theories of John Maynard Keynes, and the effect of the Federal Housing Administration on American cities. He recently reviewed Matthew Gordon Lasner's book High Life: Condo Living in the Suburban Century, for Planning Perspectives.

Selected Recent Publications

"The Roots of Government Meddling in Mortgages," The Wall Street Journal, November 3, 2014.


Charles Halvorson - History, Columbia University

Project: "Valuing the Air: The Politics of Environmental Regulation from the Clean Air Act to Carbon Trading"

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Charles Halvorson has been selected as the 2016 Mellon/American Council of Learned Societies Dissertation Completion Fellow.

Fifty years ago, the environmental movement convinced Americans that strong regulations were needed to protect human health and the natural world against the compounding detritus of industrial society. Meanwhile, environmental economists offered a different solution: let markets value the environment by pricing the social effects of degradation. Congress went with the environmentalists, passing legislation in the early 1970s to protect the public health from noxious emissions and effluents, regardless of the costs involved.

But as the new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) quickly discovered, defending major regulatory interventions against an onslaught of criticism from regulated industries required environmental advocates to convincingly establish the economic benefits of environmental protection. Over the 1970s, EPA officials invested millions of dollars in staffing economists at the agency and funding critical new research on the pecuniary benefits of regulatory protection at universities across the country. In the late 1970s, the agency began experimenting with emission trading and other market and economic incentive programs, putting EPA at the forefront of the larger regulatory reform movement.  

By leaning on cost/benefit analysis to justify regulations and turning to market trading to lower the costs of enforcement, EPA contributed to the ascendance of economics in policymaking. Yet by simultaneously rejecting economists’ calls to let markets price the environment, EPA preserved into the present the political salience of the moral and romantic values of 1970s environmentalism. 


Robert Henderson - University of Maryland

Project: “Dream Deregulated: The Transformation of Housing Finance, 1968–1985”

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Robert Henderson is a writer and analyst at Sage Computing.

His dissertation sheds light on the historical roots of a most vexing current political and economic dilemma – the deregulation of America’s housing markets. While many scholars have explored the political ideology of suburbanization, Henderson pushes the field in new directions by investigating the financial and regulatory mechanisms underpinning the markets themselves. His dissertation is titled “Dream Deregulated: The Transformation of Housing Finance, 1968-1985.”


Derek S. Hoff - History, University of Virginia

Project: Are We Too Many?: The Political Economy of Population in the Twentieth-Century United States

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Derek S. Hoff is Associate Professor of History at the University of Utah.

Hoff's research interests include the role of natural monopoly theory in the rise of the regulation of the telephone industry in the 19th century, development of inheritance tax, and the history of income inequality across industrialized nations.

Hoff's dissertation discussed a history of the population debate in the modern United States. In particular, it focused on the subset of that debate that focuses on the interrelationship between demography and the economy. Most histories of "population" in America center on cultural and ethnic questions such as the early-century eugenics movement and the nation's recurrent anti-immigrationism. Hoff's study returned the economic-demographic debate to the center of not only the course of population thought and policy, but also the larger American political economy. 

Selected Recent Publications

The State and the Stork: The Population Debate and Policy Making in US History (University of Chicago Press, 2012).

The False Alarm over U.S. Fertility." New York Times, April 16, 2013.

Fighting Foreclosure: The Blaisdell Case, The Contract Clause, and the Great Depressionwith John Fliter (University Press of Kansas, 2012).

A Modest Proposal for a New Population Debate." Need to Know, PBS, July 2012.


Benjamin Holtzman - History, Brown University

Project: Crisis and Confidence: Reimagining New York City in the Late Twentieth Century

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Fellowship year: 2016

Mentor: Suleiman Osman, The George Washington University

Crisis and Confidence: Reimagining New York City in the Late Twentieth Century uses the sweeping transformation of post-1960s New York City to understand the broader remaking of the United States in the latter twentieth century. The project begins in the crisis-plagued New York City of the 1960s, the inauguration of more than a decade of widespread economic and political turmoil, and ends with the city’s proclaimed resurgence in the 2000s. During this period, diverse groups of city-dwellers, including grassroots organizations, non-profit foundations, elites, and elected officials worked to reshape New York as overlapping crises disrupted long-standing logics of urban governance and economics. In chronicling these varied initiatives, Crisis and Confidence reveals a defining characteristic of the period: as different sectors simultaneously embraced the sentiment that city government no longer worked, many turned toward market-based governing logics to sustain key areas of city life. These turns illustrate the powerful connection between local conditions and the broader shift toward a marketized political economy.


Elizabeth Ingleson - History, University of Sydney

Project: The End of Isolation: Rapprochement, Globalisation, and American Trade with China, 1972-1979

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Fellowship year: 2016

Mentor: Thomas Borstelmann, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Elizabeth Ingleson is a history PhD student at both the University of Sydney and the United States Studies Centre. Elizabeth’s research examines the origins of the contemporary trade relationship between the United States and China. Beginning in 1972—when President Nixon and Chairman Mao ended over twenty years of economic and political isolation—she explores how the new trade relationship was re-established and became part of the politics of rapprochement.

She explores businesspeople as crucial agents of diplomacy, looking at the American trade culture that developed, and applying cultural and business history methodologies to the diplomatic history of rapprochement. Additionally, she explores the American political ideas about trade with China, which assumed burgeoning trade ties would assist the rapprochement process by creating mutual interests from which political negotiations could develop. This reflected the 1970s context in which the notion of interdependence became a key idea in American foreign policy: an idea that was in many ways a precursor to that of globalization.

Her research raises questions about the relationships between politics, economics, culture and business in America. She argues that even though America’s trade with China in the 1970s was important politically, by the end of the decade rather than shaping the politics of rapprochement the reverse became true. The trade between the two countries was instead substantially influenced by political considerations—none more so than the political desire for interdependence.

The historical experience of the 1970s shows the nuances in the contemporary correlation made between trade and peace in Sino-American relations. Rather than a linear dynamic, politics deeply influenced trade, highlighting the key role that deliberate cultivation and political willpower played in supporting and encouraging what is today the world’s most important trade relationship.

Selected Recent Publications

"History lessons from China for future relations with Cuba." The Conversation, February 11, 2015.


Nicole Kazee - Political Science, Yale University

Project: Wal-Mart Welfare?: The Role of Low-Wage Employers in American Antipoverty Policy

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Nicole Kazee is Director of Health Policy and Programs for the Office of the Vice President for Health Affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Kazee monitors federal, state, and local health policy changes that impact the university’s clinical operations; analyzes and communicates to internal and external audiences their potential impacts; and provides strategic guidance for university leadership on how policy affects operations, revenue streams, and other aspects of health system practice. She also provides programmatic leadership for initiatives related to Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act, including building care coordination models, developing a community health assessment, and applying for federal and state grants and contracts. 

Kazee's dissertation explored how antipoverty programs have increasingly helped low-income workers and their families. This change expanded the relevant interest group community to include employers and their organizations, which have a new stake in the type and generosity of government policies that are used to support the poor. Second, policymaking authority has devolved to the states, which increasingly make decisions about which policies to enact and who will be eligible for them – and vary widely in these choices. This project asked why some states offer greater work support than others, and why particular policies are chosen over the alternatives. Most importantly, the project emphasized the role of employers in policy choices, determining the conditions under which the business community will shape antipoverty policies and the nature of its influence.

To answer these questions, her dissertation created an original scale of Work Support in all 50 states, looking primarily at three very different policy areas: Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program, state minimum wages, and state earned income tax credits. A quantitative analysis considered a wide range of variables that could potentially explain these state policy outcomes, and identified broad patterns across states. Finally, three states are studied in depth through media analyses, the examination of government documents, and, most importantly, numerous personal interviews. These case studies captured the more subtle, contextual elements of policymaking that ultimately shape state outcomes.

Selected Recent Publications

"Tax Can Help Workers, Employers." The State, May 7, 2008.


Zane Kelly - Political Science, University of Colorado, Boulder

Project: Finance at War: Debt, Borrowing, and Conflict

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Fellowship year: 2010

Mentor: Erik Gartzke, University of California, San Diego

Zane Kelly is Post-Doctoral Research Associate at the University of Washington.

Kelly's areas of specialization include international relations, comparative politics, and political methodology.

In his dissertation, Kelly argued that the foreign policy options available to states are strongly conditioned by their financial circumstances and relationships. Sovereign debt and access to international credit influence the range of choices available to even the most powerful nations; yet international relations literature largely overlooks the impact of finance on state behavior. War finance involves strategic choices between taxes and debt, and between international and domestic creditors. By making government accountable to a diverse international constituency, borrowing abroad allows leaders to sidestep the conventional relationship between taxpayers and government.

His dissertation contributed to existing literature in three ways: by offering an alternative explanation for peace among nations; by expanding regime characteristics to include variation in credit-worthiness; and by enlarging state-capacity beyond taxation and domestic elements. Kelley argued that as the ratio between wartime demand for capital relative to domestic capacity increases, so does the likelihood that states will seek foreign investment during wartime. He then explored four main conclusions: first, states that are able to raise money through sovereign debt will be more likely to engage in conflicts and international borrowing is more likely to precede major wars; second, controlling for other measures of state capacity, overall higher levels of sovereign debt will act as a constraint on belligerent leaders; third, mutual holdings of debt will make states less likely to engage in conflict with one another; fourth, changing terms of foreign loans reflect both the likelihood of interstate war and the probability that one side will prevail over another.


Eric Lomazoff - Government, Harvard University

Project: The Life and Death of the Hydra-Headed Monster: Antebellum Bank Regulation and American State Development, 1781–1836

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Eric Lomazoff is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Villanova University.

Lomazoff's dissertation engaged the long, discontinuous, and tortured life of the Bank of the United States (1791–1811 and 1816–1836), the lynchpin of Federalist political economy which grew into a regulatory role vis-a-vis state-chartered commercial banks. Lomazoff used this neglected policy instrument of the Early Republic to address both micro- and macro-level themes within the broad literature on institutional development. A focus on multiple short-run episodes in the life of the Bank – its creation, conversion, postwar resurrection, and demise – permits the testing of standing disciplinary hypotheses concerning institutional choice, change, reproduction, and decline. By contrast, zooming out from these discrete historical moments presents an opportunity to evaluate early, if failed, national state-building efforts over the long durée. That is, the Bank's protracted and uneven career begs for a chronicle of antebellum financial state development and the forces which explain its sharp vicissitudes over time. Lomazoff argued that we may learn just as much about the early state of "court and parties" from the institutions which died away as from those which persistently organized antebellum American politics.

Selected Recent Publications

"Symmetry and Repetition: Patterns in the History of the Bank of the United States." in Randall Parker and Robert Whaples, eds., Routledge Handbook of Major Events in Economic History (New York: Routledge, 2013): 3-14. 
"Turning (Into) 'The Great Regulating Wheel': The Conversion of the Bank of the United States, 1791-1811." Studies in American Political Development 26, no. 1 (April 2012): 1-23. 
"Speak (Again), Memory: Rethinking the Scope of Congressional Power in the Early American Republic.Tulsa Law Review 47, no. 1 (Summer 2011): 87-98. 
"Approval Regulation and Endogenous Consumer Confidence: Theory and Analogies to Licensing, Safety, and Financial Regulation." with Daniel Carpenter and Justin Grimmer, Regulation & Governance 4, no. 4 (December 2010): 383-407.


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

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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.


Mary Christina Michelmore - History, University of Michigan

Project: With the First Penny Paid: Welfare Reform, Tax Policy and Political Change, 1960–1980

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Molly Michelmore is Associate Professor of History at Washington and Lee University.

Michelmore's research interests lie in 20th century American politics, and specifically in the relationship between fiscal policy, the politics of taxing and spending, and content of post-New Deal liberalism. She explored these concepts in her first book Tax and Spend: The Welfare State, Tax Politics and the Limits of American Liberalism.

Michelmore's dissertation placed the "Reagan Revolution" in historical context by studying the politics of welfare reform and tax policy between 1960 and 1980. Ronald Reagan's 1980 election represented the culmination of a decade-old re-evaluation of national political priorities, the result of which was a political settlement centrally concerned with the costs of the liberal state.

Her dissertation explores how and why "welfare" grew from a policy problem of interest to only a small group of experts into an issue of national political importance, and examines the era's larger political, economic and social changes. Examining social and fiscal policies considered or enacted between 1967 and 1980, Michelmore's dissertation analyzed the process by which taxes and welfare became two sides of the same coin and were politicized to an unprecedented extent in the 1970s. Specifically, she argued that both welfare and taxes became important weapons in the arsenal of the conservative attack on the state and its reification of the market, that the politics and policies of welfare reform played a significant role in the rise of conservatism and the repudiation of the postwar liberal paradigm.

Selected Recent Publications

"Why the income tax is worth celebrating." Washington Post Opinions, February 17, 2013.

Tax and Spend: The Welfare State, Tax Politics and the Limits of American Liberalism (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012).

"'What Have You Done for Me Lately?': The Welfare State, Tax Politics and the Search for a New Majority, 1968-1980." Journal of Policy History 24, no. 4 (October 2012): 709-740.

"Don't Just Blame the Republicans for the No-Tax Pledge -- Democrats are Allergic to Tax Hikes, Too." History News Network, July 9, 2012.


Katie Otis - History, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Project: Everything Old is New Again: What Policymakers and Baby Boomers Can Learn from the History of Aging and Retirement

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Katie Otis is a visiting Lecturer in the History Department at the University of North Carolina.

Otis's dissertation explored the history of aging in mid-to-late 20th-century America through the lens of retirement life in Florida, a state long synonymous with shuffleboard and park benches. She explained that Social security and private pensions sparked the growth of mass retirement among the working and middle classes. On the whole, seniors are healthier and wealthier than ever before. Their growing numbers, moreover, captured the attention of politicians, policymakers, and advocacy groups who worked to improve the quality of later life. The need for dignified, cost-effective elder care remained woefully unfulfilled. Drawing on government documents, gerontological studies, popular retirement literature, and oral histories, Otis's work melded institutional and political history with the cultural and social experiences of aging in the postwar world to give voice to older Americans as they negotiated the promises and pitfalls of old age and retirement.


Julia Ott - History, Yale University

Project: When Wall Street Met Main Street: the Quest for an Investors' Democracy and the Emergence of the American Retail Investor, 1900–1930

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Fellowship year: 2006

Mentor: Meg Jacobs, Princeton University

Julia Ott is Assistant Professor of History at the New School's Eugene Lang College.

Ott's interests include 20th century American history, financial and business history, political conservatism, consumer culture, and women's and gender history.

Given the depths of populist and progressive hostility toward Wall Street in the decades before the World War I, few could have predicted that the nation's stock and bond markets would emerge as icons of a new era of permanent prosperity, even before the late 1920s stock market boom. Roughly 30 million Americans acquired federal war bonds, while the number of corporate shareholders likely increased fivefold in the 1920s. Ott's dissertation explained these transformations in political attitude and social practice by relating an intertwined history of investors and investorism. By analyzing the marketing of stocks and bonds by the federal government, corporations, and the financial industry, as well as new investorist theories of political economy formulated by a range of economic thinkers, her study revealed the early twentieth century origins of the idea of an ownership society in American political culture. Without the ideological validation considered in this dissertation, the United States would have never developed its first broad, national, impersonal market for financial securities in the 1920s.

Selected Recent Publications

When Wall Street Met Main Street: The Quest for an Investors’ Democracy, (Harvard University Press, 2011).


Kimberly Phillips-Fein - History, Columbia University

Project: Top-Down Revolution: The Birth of Free Market Politics in America and the Backlash Against the New Deal

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Kimberly Phillips-Fein is Associate Professor of Economic Thought and History at New York University's Gallatin School of Individualized Study.

As a historian of twentieth-century American politics, she teaches courses in American political, business, and labor history. Her first book, Invisible Hands: The Making of the Conservative Movement from the New Deal to Reagan, was published by W. W. Norton in 2009. She has contributed to essay collections published by Harvard University Press, University of Pennsylvania Press, and Routledge and to journals such as Reviews in American History and International Labor and Working-Class History. She is a contributing editor to Labor: Studies in Working-Class History in the Americas, where her work has also appeared. Professor Phillips-Fein has written widely for publications including The Nation, London Review of Books, New Labor Forum, to which she has contributed articles and reviews. She was given a fellowship at the Cullman Center for Scholars, Artists and Writers at the New York Public Library for 2014-2015 for work on her forthcoming book, Fear City: The New York City Fiscal Crisis and the Rise of the Age of Austerity.

Selected Recent Publications

 “Why Workers Won’t UniteThe Atlantic, March 16, 2015.

Invisible Hands: The Making of the Conservative Movement from the New Deal to Reagan (W.W. Norton & Company, 2009).


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