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

Betsy Beasley - American Studies, Yale University

Project: “Serving the World: Energy Contracting, Logistical Labors, and the Culture of Globalization, 1945-2008”

Beasley photo

Betsy A. Beasley is a Ph.D candidate in American Studies at Yale University.  Her dissertation traces the rise of Houston as a global city in the half-century following World War II, arguing that the city’s business elite, especially those in oilfield services companies including Brown & Root, Schlumberger, and Hughes Tool, imagined and enacted a new vision of globalism.  Vehemently resistant to the demands of labor unions, corporate executives positioned the U.S. not as a center of manufacturing and production but as a white-collar headquarters offering expertise in logistics, engineering, and resource management to the rest of the globe.  This project charts the material developments that established Houston as a global center of petrochemical services alongside the cultural narratives that influenced and helped make sense of social, political, and economic change. 

Whereas the most common vision of American global power in the postwar years emphasized the U.S. as an industrial producer whose commodities and high standard of living would be exported around the world, this project highlights an alternative vision based on exporting service and expertise and importing commodities and raw materials, a different globalism that would come to dominate American culture and politics in the post-industrial 1970s.  Drawing methodologically from geography, cultural history, and the history of capitalism, Beasley examines a management vision of U.S. global power while also exploring the resistance of organized labor to this imperial project and the attempts of executives to convince global oil consumers to support U.S. expertise as the best means to ensure access to inexpensive petroleum.   

Beasley holds a B.A. in history from the University of Georgia and an M.S. in Urban Affairs from Hunter College of the City University of New York.  Her work has been supported by the American Historical Association, the New Orleans Center for the Global South at Tulane University, and the Coca-Cola World Fund. She co-hosts and produces "Who Makes Cents: A History of Capitalism Podcast" with David Stein.

Selected Recent Publications

Fighting for a Radical City: Student Protesters and the Politics of Space in 1960s and 1970s Downtown Manhattan.Urban History Review 37, no. 2 (March 2009)

Another New Kind of Marriage.Public Seminar,  July 20, 2015.


Brent Cebul - History, University of Virginia

Project: The Rise of Antigovernment Governance: The Politics of Federal Economic Development and Local Business Mobilization, 1938–1994

Cebul photo

Brent Cebul is the Mellon Postdoctoral Research Scholar in the Digital Scholarship Lab at the University of Richmond.

In 2014-2015, he was a Postdoctoral Visiting Scholar at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He received his Ph.D. in U.S. History from the University of Virginia in August 2014 and continues to serve as an Associate Fellow at UVa's Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture where he is a project investigator for the Thriving Cities Project and serves as the associate director of the program on Culture, Capitalism, and Global Change. Cebul's current book project, Developmental State: Business, Poverty, and Economic Empowerment from the New Deal to the New Democrats, recenters the history of 20th-century liberalism by highlighting the recurring governing pattern of local-national, public-private partnerships begun in the New Deal.

Cebul’s dissertation was a social and political history of local business leaders’ perceptions of the federal government’s proper role in fostering community and economic development from the New Deal through the early 1990s. The project explored how business constituencies in the rural Sunbelt and deindustrializing Rustbelt created kindred public-private institutions that benefited from and sought to expand local, state, and federal developmental capacities. By illuminating the intertwined themes of localism and the evolution of fiscal federalism through the lens of the development policies of the New Deal, the Great Society, and Nixon and Reagan’s New Federalisms, the dissertation challenged assumptions about the decline of liberalism, the rise of conservatism, and business leaders’ embrace of neoliberal policy prescriptions. 


Gretchen Crosby Sims - Political Science, Stanford University

Project: Social Responsibility and the Political Power of American Business

Crosby Sims photo

Fellowship year: 2003

Mentor: Cathie Martin, Boston University

Gretchen Crosby Sims is a Director at Social Finance UK.

She is focused on expanding Social Finance’s advocacy and policy efforts to support and encourage those seeking to redesign public services through outcomes-based commissioning. She is also engaged in supporting specific projects in children, family, and education related areas.

Gretchen’s career prior to Social Finance focused on identifying and scaling social interventions to improve people’s lives and to promoting supportive public policies.  Most recently, she was the chief program executive at The Joyce Foundation, where she oversaw strategy and impact evaluation process for seven grantmaking programs – education, environment, employment, gun violence prevention, democracy, culture, and special opportunities – and helped win evidence-based social policy changes in numerous issue areas. In earlier roles, Gretchen led Joyce’s K-12 education grant making and served as Director of Strategic Initiatives. Gretchen has also worked at the Council on Foreign Relations, CNN, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and as a policy adviser to presidential candidate Bill Bradley. She holds PhD and MA degrees in political science from Stanford University and a BA in government from Harvard University.

Sims's dissertation examined the rise of corporate social responsibility (CSR) among America's most powerful companies as a source of political power. In recent years, many companies have embraced the notion of CSR and invested significant resources in strengthening their communities, supporting their employees, protecting the environment, and making philanthropic contributions. She argued that many of the things firms do in the name of CSR represent the provision of public goods, the practice of self-regulation, or the giving of politically valuable philanthropic gifts. These activities can give firms special standing with three groups of political actors: legislators, regulators, and other interest groups.


Jonathon Free - History, Duke University

Project: Redistributing Risk: The Political Ecology of Coal in Late-Twentieth Century Appalachia

Free photo

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

Jonathon Free’s dissertation traces the U.S. coal industry’s increased reliance on surface mining in the late twentieth century. During the late 1960s and 1970s, Congress passed new mine safety regulations that significantly lowered the number of deaths from explosions, roof-falls, and other underground disasters. Coal companies responded to safety legislation by expanding surface mining operations, which were less accident-prone but more environmentally destructive than underground mines.

This redistribution of the risks of mining had profound implications for the political culture of coal mining communities. In Appalachian states like Kentucky and West Virginia, where coal companies traditionally played a major role in the local economy, the mining jobs that remained became more precious, as did the few mountains left untouched by surface mining operations. Meanwhile, the risks of surface mining became more acceptable to many coalfield residents as the industry depicted it as a way to provide the energy that the nation needed while also improving both the aesthetic quality and economic attractiveness of the land. As a result, the debate over surface mining became a point of fracture in increasingly divided communities.

While scholars of environmental policy, American business, or working-class communities have tended to analyze the history of each subfield separately, this project draws on the history of capitalism, critical geography, and interdisciplinary studies of regulation to argue that the shared history of policymakers, business people, and workers did not unfold in insolated silos. 


Beverly Gage - History, Columbia University

Project: The Wall Street Explosion: Capitalism, Terrorism, and the Origins of the FBI

Gage photo

Beverly Gage is Professor of History and Director of Undergraduate Studies in History at Yale University.

She is a historian of 20th-century American politics and society and teaches courses on modern American political history, liberalism and conservatism, communism and anticommunism, and the craft of historical writing. She is currently writing a major new biography of former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover titled G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the American Century, to be published by Viking in 2017. Her first book, The Day Wall Street Exploded, explored the dramatic story of the 1920 bombing of Wall Street and the history of early-20th-century terrorism. It is currently in production as a documentary film for broadcast on The American Experience (PBS) in late 2015. Gage writes widely for publications including The New York TimesWashington Post, The Nation, and Slate. She appears frequently on the PBS NewsHour, among other outlets, as a historical and political commentator. In 2015-2016, she was elected to serve as the first Chair of Yale’s inaugural Faculty of Arts and Sciences Senate.

Gage received her B.A. in American Studies (magna cum laude, with distinction) from Yale College in 1994, and her Ph.D. in History from Columbia University in 2004. Her dissertation received the 2004 Bancroft Dissertation Award for graduate work in U.S. History. In 2009, she received the Sarai Ribicoff award for teaching excellence in Yale College. She is a Distinguished Lecturer of the Organization of American Historians and an elected member of the Society of American Historians.

Selected Recent Publications

The Day Wall Street Exploded: A Story of America in its First Age of Terror (Oxford University Press, 2009)

"More 'Progressive' Than Thou" The New York Times Magazine, January 12, 2016.


Judge Glock - History, Rutgers University

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

Glock photo

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.


Derek S. Hoff - History, University of Virginia

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

Hoff photo

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.


Elizabeth Ingleson - History, University of Sydney

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

Ingleson photo

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

Kazee photo

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.


Eric Lomazoff - Government, Harvard University

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

Lomazoff photo

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.


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

Otis photo

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.


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

Phillips-Fein photo

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).


Dominique Tobbell - History of Sociology and Science, University of Pennsylvania

Project: Pharmaceutical Networks: The Political Economy of Drug Development in the United States, 1945–1980

Tobbell photo

Dominique Tobbell is Assistant Professor in the Program in the History of Medicine at the University of Minnesota.

Tobbell is a historian of twentieth century medicine and biomedical science and technology with a particular interest in the history of pharmaceuticals, health policy, and academic medicine.

Tobbell's dissertation examined the drug industry's efforts to build political support for itself in the second half of the 20th century and defeat the more radical agendas of pharmaceutical reformers. Critical to this effort was the industry's strategy of offering to the medical and academic communities solutions to their shared problems. These problems included a growing manpower problem in the pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences and the increasing authority of the FDA – and the government more generally – over medical practice. In this way, the current political economy of drug development, and in particular the political culture that sustains it, can be seen as having evolved through the mutually beneficial relations of industry and key sectors of the biomedical community.

Selected Recent Publications

"'Coming to Grips with the Nursing Question': The Politics of Nursing Education Reform in 1960s' America.Nursing History Review 22 (2014): 37-60. 

"Plow, Town, and Gown: The Politics of Family Practice in 1960s' America.Bulletin of the History of Medicine 87, no. 4 (2013).

Pills, Power, and Policy: The Struggle for Drug Reform in Cold War America and its Consequences (University of California Press, 2012).

"Pharmaceutical Politics and Regulatory Reform in Postwar America." in Kim Phillips-Fein and Julian E. Zelizer, eds. What's Good for Business: Business and American Politics since World War II (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012).


← Return to Fellowship home