The United States in the Twentieth Century: State of the Field

Thursday, April 15, 2021, 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Type: State of the Field

Tags: Gender and Sexuality; General/Survey; Race


This panel will feature contributors to the recently-published Routledge History of the Twentieth-Century United States in discussion on the historiographical trends and themes of the past century with the co-editors of the volume, who observed in their introduction that “an American historian whose work last appeared in the 1970s and 1980s would hardly recognize the discipline today.” The discussants represent a set of diverse backgrounds and perspectives. They will move from them to broader considerations of the directions and trajectories of the study of twentieth-century U.S. history—past, present and future.

Session Participants

Chair: Darren T. Dochuk, University of Notre Dame
Darren Dochuk is Associate Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana.He writes widely on the history of religion, politics, and culture in modern America. Prior to publishing Anointed With Oil: How Christianity and Crude Made Modern America in 2019 (Basic), he published From Bible Belt to Sunbelt: Plain-Folk Religion, Grassroots Politics, and the Rise of Evangelicalism (Norton), which won the John H. Dunning Prize from the American Historical Association and the Ellis W. Hawley Prize from the Organization of American Historians, and was based on a dissertation that was awarded the Allan Nevins Prize from the Society of American Historians. He has also edited several other books in American history, including most recently The Routledge History of the Twentieth-Century United States (Routledge). Dochuk is Associate Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana.

Chair: Jerald Podair, Lawrence University
Jerald Podair is professor of history and the Robert S. French Professor of American Studies at Lawrence University.

He received a B.A. from New York University, a J.D. from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in history from Princeton University.

He is the author of The Strike That Changed New York: Blacks, Whites, and the Ocean Hill Brownsville Crisis (Yale University Press), which was a finalist for the Organization of American Historians’ Liberty Legacy Foundation Award and honorable mention for the Urban History Association’s Book Award in North American urban history.

He is also the author of City of Dreams: Dodger Stadium and the Birth of Modern Los Angeles (Princeton University Press), which received the 2018 Harold Seymour Medal from the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) for best book on the history of baseball and was a finalist for the 2018 PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing.

His other books include Bayard Rustin: American Dreamer; The Struggle for Equality (co-editor); and American Conversations (co-author).

He is co-editor of The Routledge History of the 20th Century United States.

He is the recipient of the Society of American Historians’ Allan Nevins Prize for “literary distinction in the writing of history,” and a Fellow of the New York Academy of History.

His most recent book is the co-written Republican Populist: Spiro Agnew and the Origins of Donald Trump’s America (University of Virginia Press), published in 2019.

His current book project is Promised Lands: A History of the American People in the Twentieth Century, to be published by Princeton University Press, a comprehensive history of the American century written for an educated general readership.

Panelist: Stephen Riley Duncan, City University of New York, Bronx Community College
Stephen R. Duncan is an associate professor of intellectual and cultural history at Bronx Community College-CUNY. He is the author of The Rebel Café: Sex, Race, and Politics in Cold War America’s Nightclub Underground (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018) and other works that examine American culture and politics, including the chapter on social and cultural history in the Routledge History of the Twentieth-Century United States (2018).

Panelist: Jon K. Shelton, University of Wisconsin–Green Bay
Jon Shelton is associate professor of democracy and justice studies at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. He is the author of Teacher Strike! Public Education and the Making of a New American Political Order (University of Illinois Press, 2017), which was the winner of the Labor and Working Class History Association's Herbert Gutman Prize for Best Dissertation and the 2018 First Book Award from the International Standing Conference for the History of Education. The recipient of a 2019 postdoctoral fellowship from the National Academy of Education, he is currently at work on a book project entitled "Education, Economic Opportunity and the Roots of the Twenty-first Century Economic Divide." His work has also appeared in Dissent, Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, and the Washington Post.

Panelist: Clarence Taylor, Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York
I am one of a handful of scholars whose work focuses on the civil rights struggle in New York City. I also write on African-American religion. I have written and edited seven books. The first, The Black Churches of Brooklyn (Columbia University Press, 1994), is a critically acclaimed work that centers on the development of the religious community in Brooklyn, New York.

My second book, Knocking at Our Own Door: Milton A. Galamison and the Struggle to Integrate New York City Schools (Columbia University Press, 1997), is the most extensive work on Milton Galamison, leader of the New York City School integration struggle in the 1950s and 1960s. This work challenges the southern paradigm on civil rights historiography by exploring the efforts of civil rights activists and organizations in New York. The book has received numerous positive reviews and has been cited by numerous scholars working on modern New York City and northern civil rights history. It received Honorable Mention from the Gustavus Myers Program for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights in North America.

My third book, Black Religious Intellectuals: The Fight for Equality from Jim Crow to the 21st Century (Routledge, 2001), focuses on the intellectual and political tradition of the black religious community.

My fourth book, Reds at the Blackboard: Communism,Civil Rights and the New York City Teachers Union (Columbia University Press, 2011), Reds at the Blackboard: Communism, Civil Rights and the New York City Teachers’ Union (Columbia University Press, pring, 2011), explores the battle over teacher unionism in New York City and the entire nation, would take in the mid twentieth century. Despite the attack on academic freedom and the revocation of the TU's charter because of its affiliation with the American Communist Party, the union remade itself into a forceful civil rights pressure group, advocating the teaching of black history, the elimination of racist and biased textbooks in the schools and the hiring of black teachers.

My fifth book, Fight the Power: African American and the Long History of Police Brutality in New York City (New York University Press, 2019) examines raw explosive history of police brutality in New York City and the long history of black resistance to police assaults.

I also co-edited Civil Rights Since 1787: A Reader in the Black Struggle (New York University Press, 2000). It is made up of primary sources and secondary readings from slavery to the late 1990s. The book won the Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award for 2001 and was listed by Sojourner as the best 25 books published in 2000. My other edited work, Civil Rights in New York City: From World War II to the Giuliani Era (Fordham University Press, Spring, 2011), turns to one of the most important centers of civil rights activities. The book is made up of essays by a number of scholars on civil rights struggles in New York City from the 1940s to the late 1960s. The essays cover topics such as the role of the Communist controlled New York City Teachers’ Union, Robert Moses and the effort to create a fully integrated housing complex, Bayard Rustin an the 1968 Teachers Strike, Ella Baker and her efforts in New York City, Milton Galamison and his challenge to New York City liberalism, and the fight for open admissions at the City University of New York.

I have also published several refereed articles, book chapters and book reviews on the topics of civil rights and African-American religion.

My teaching interests are the modern civil rights and Black Power movements, modern New York City History, African American Religion, and African American history from Reconstruction to the present and the history of the American working class.

Panelist: Abigail Trollinger, St. Norbert College
Abigail Trollinger is an Associate Professor of History at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin. She is the author of Becoming Entitled: Relief, Unemployment, and Reform During the Great Depression, anticipated for publication by Temple University Press in 2020. Her research has been supported by grants from the Social Welfare History Archives of the University of Minnesota, and the Chabraja Center for Historical Studies at Northwestern University, and has been published in the Journal of Social History.

Panelist: Cookie Woolner, University of Memphis
Cookie Woolner is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Memphis. She received her PhD in History and Women’s Studies from the University of Michigan in 2014 and has held postdoctoral fellowships at Case Western Reserve University and Kalamazoo College. She is currently completing a manuscript entitled, “The Famous Lady Lovers:” African American Women and Same-Sex Desire before Stonewall. She has been published in the Journal of African American History and has recently been interviewed about her research for the Backstory podcast and the documentary film Unladylike2020. She is a former board member of the AHA affiliate group The Committee on LGBT History. In 2018 she and her University of Memphis colleagues started the Mid-South LGBTQ+ Archive to document local Memphis queer history. She is currently a nominee for a Distinguished Teaching Award at the University of Memphis and the OAH Committee on LGBTQ Historians and Histories.