OAH Distinguished Lecturer Profile

OAH Distinguished Lectureship program 40 years 1981-2021

Marcia Chatelain

Portrait of Marcia Chatelain

Marcia Chatelain is an associate professor of history and African American studies at Georgetown University and the Eric and Wendy Schmidt Fellow at the New America Foundation. The author of South Side Girls: Growing Up in the Great Migration (2015) and Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America (2020), Chatelain is a scholar of African American life and culture. In 2014 she organized her fellow scholars in a social-media response to the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, entitled #FergusonSyllabus. #FergusonSyllabus has led to similar online initiatives and has shaped curricular projects in K–12 and university settings. A frequent public speaker and consultant to educational institutions, Chatelain delivers lectures and workshops on inclusive teaching, social movements, and food justice. She has contributed to TheAtlantic.com, Time.com, Ms. Magazine, and the Chronicle of Higher Education, which also named her a "Top Influencer in Higher Education" in 2016; she has appeared on local and national television outlets including C-SPAN, MSNBC, CNN, BBC America, and PBS. She hosts "Office Hours: A Podcast," in which she talks to millennials about issues most important to them. In 2017 she joined the team of "Undisclosed," a podcast featuring a 16-episode arc about the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore in 2015. She has won several teaching awards at Georgetown, where she also has served on its Working Group on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation. She is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities Faculty Fellowship and a Andrew Carnegie Fellowship.

NEW IN 2020: Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America (W. W. Norton & Company)

Featured Lecture

OAH Lectures

Chatelain explores the distinct challenges in writing girls' history using the case of her first book, "South Side Girls: Growing up in the Great Migration." Chatelain will discuss the questions scholars of girls and girlhood have taken up recently, and she will discuss how to create an archive on girlhood using nontraditional sources.
Chatelain will discuss her experiences as a historian who has used Twitter, podcasts, and other forms of media to engage contemporary social issues, as well as bring history to audiences outside of campus. Chatelain will talk about ways that history teaching and training can interface with a larger public for the greater good.
Chatelain will discuss her experiences as a member of the Georgetown University Working Group on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation in order to provide insights into what happens when an institution looks back and tries to imagine the way forward.