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Nancy MacLean

William H. Chafe Distinguished Professor of History and Public Policy
Dept of History, Box 90719, Durham, NC 27708
334 Classroom Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Office hours Late afternoons, by appointment.  


[Note to graduate applicants: Professor MacLean now has a full roster of graduate advisees, so she will not be taking on any new doctoral students for the foreseeable future.]

Nancy MacLean is an award-winning scholar of the twentieth-century U.S., whose most recent 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.” 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 Quarterly, The Boston Review, Feminist Studies, Gender & History, In These Times, International Labor and Working-Class History, Labor, Labor History, Journal of American History, Journal of Women’s History, Law and History Review, The Nation, The New Republic, the OAH Magazine of History, and many edited collections. Often on the radio, she is also a frequent guest on such cable shows as Democracy Now!, Real Time with Bill Maher, and the ReidOut with Joy Reid.

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, PolicyLink, 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.

An award-winning teacher and committed graduate student mentor, she offers courses on twentieth and twenty-first century America, social movements, and public policy history.

Current Appointments & Affiliations

William H. Chafe Distinguished Professor of History and Public Policy · 2012 - Present History, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
Professor in the Department of History · 2010 - Present History, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
Professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy · 2013 - Present Sanford School of Public Policy
Professor in Gender, Sexuality & Feminist Studies · 2018 - Present Gender, Sexuality & Feminist Studies, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences