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Nancy MacLean, William H. Chafe Distinguished Professor of History and Professor of Sanford School of Public Policy and Professor of Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies

Nancy MacLean

Nancy MacLean is an award-winning scholar of the twentieth-century U.S., whose new book, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America, has been described by Publishers Weekly as “a thoroughly researched and gripping narrative… [and] a feat of American intellectual and political history.” Booklist called it “perhaps the best explanation to date of the roots of the political divide that threatens to irrevocably alter American government.” http://bit.ly/2oJklds. A finalist for the National Book Award in Nonfiction, it won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Current Interest, the Lannan Foundation Cultural Freedom Award, and the Lillian Smith Book Award.

MacLean is the author of four other books, including Freedom is Not Enough: The Opening of the American Workplace (2006) called by the Chicago Tribune "contemporary history at its best,” and Behind the Mask of Chivalry: The Making of the Second Ku Klux Klan, named a New York Times "noteworthy" book of 1994. Her articles and review essays have appeared in American QuarterlyThe Boston ReviewFeminist Studies, Gender & History, In These Times, International Labor and Working Class HistoryLabor, Labor History, Journal of American History, Journal of Women’s HistoryLaw and History ReviewThe Nation, the OAH Magazine of History, and many edited collections.

Professor MacLean’s scholarship has received more than a dozen prizes and awards and been supported by fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Humanities Center, the Russell Sage Foundation, and the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowships Foundation. In 2010, she was elected a fellow of the Society of American Historians, which recognizes literary distinction in the writing of history and biography. Also an award-winning teacher and committed graduate student mentor, she offers courses on twentieth-century America, social movements, and public policy history. 

Contact Info:
Office Location:  334 Classroom Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Office Phone:  (919) 684-3014
Email Address: send me a message
Web Page:  http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/authors/2116797/nancy-maclean

Teaching (Spring 2021):

    Online ON, MW 01:45 PM-03:00 PM
    (also cross-listed as RIGHTS 156S.01)
    Online ON, Tu 10:15 AM-12:45 PM
    (also cross-listed as ENVIRON 470S.01, HISTORY 488S.01, RIGHTS 470S.01)
Office Hours:

Late afternoons, by appointment.

MA, magna cum laudeBrown University1981
BA, magna cum laudeBrown University1981

Politics, Public Life and Governance
Labor and Working Class History
Race and Ethnicity
United States and Canada
Global and Comparative
Research Interests:

Nancy MacLean’s scholarship focuses on the role of social movements in changing American culture and public policy, with particular focus on the twentieth century and on the roles of class, gender, race, and region in shaping these movements and determining their outcomes. Her first book, Behind the Mask of Chivalry: The Making of the Second Ku Klux Klan (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), was among the first historical studies to apply a gender analysis to men in order to help make sense of the phenomenon of reactionary populism. Freedom Is Not Enough: The Opening of the American Workplace (Harvard University Press, 2006), examined the role of jobs issues in the African American and Mexican American civil rights movements and the women’s movement, and exposed the enduring conservative opposition to the quest to create inclusive workplaces. Since then, she has produced two books for course use: The American Women’s Movement, 1945-2000: A Brief History with Documents (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2009) and, with Donald T. Critchlow, Debating the American Conservative Movement: 1945 to the Present (Rowman & Littlefield, 2009). She is currently completing Chaining Leviathan (forthcoming with Viking/Penguin, Jan. 2017). An award-winning teacher, she offers courses on post-1945 America, social movements, and public policy history. She is the President of the Labor and Working Class History Association (LAWCHA)

Curriculum Vitae
Current Ph.D. Students  

  • Eladio Bobadilla  
  • Scovill W. Currin Jr.  
  • William Goldsmith  
  • Johnnie Holland  
  • Amanda B. Hughett  
  • Jonathon Free  
Representative Publications   (More Publications)

  1. MACLEAN, N, Freedom Is Not Enough: The Opening of the American Workplace (2006), Havard University Press and the Russell Sage Foundation [catalog.php]
  2. MACLEAN, N, Behind the Mask of Chivalry: The Making of the Second Ku Klux Klan (1994), Oxford University Press [available here]
  3. MACLEAN, N, The American Women’s Movement, 1945-2000: A Brief History with Documents (2008), Bedford/St. Martins [newcatalog.aspx]
  4. Critchlow, DT; MacLean, N, Debating the American Conservative Movement: 1945 to the Present (2009), Rowman & Littlefield [CATALOG.db&eqSKUdata=0742548236]
Selected Grant Support

  • 2008-2009 John Hope Franklin Senior Fellowship, National Humanities Center.      
  • 2008-2009 Senior Fellowship, American Council of Learned Societies.      
  • 1999-2000 Visiting Scholar, Russell Sage Foundation.      
  • 1995-1996 American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship.      

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