Liette Gidlow - Associate Professor

Liette Gidlow earned a Ph.D. in U.S. history from Cornell University, a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Chicago, and a master's degree in history from Ohio State University. Before joining academe she worked as a legislative staffer in the U.S. Congress and as chief of staff to a member of the Ohio Senate.

A specialist in twentieth century politics, women's history, and mass culture, she has published two books: The Big Vote, which analyzes how massive, non-partisan voter turnout campaigns in the 1920s helped establish new norms of "expert citizenship" and "consumer citizenship"; and Obama, Clinton, Palin, a collection of essays by top-ranking historians that takes the long view on the historic 2008 presidential election.


Her next book is a study of the disfranchisement of American women after the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution in 1920 granted them suffrage. In 2012 the project was awarded a President's Research Enhancement Grant, the largest humanities research grant offered by Wayne State and in 2014 the project won support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her previous work has won the support of grants from four presidential libraries and the Bunting Institute at Harvard University. Between 2004 and 2007, she spearheaded a $1 million grant project from the U.S. Department of Education to improve K-12 history teaching in northwest Ohio.


Professor Gidlow’s teaching has been featured on C-SPAN's "Lectures in History" series, and in 2014 she was awarded Wayne State's Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award. She has presented public talks on U.S. politics and women, past and present, at The Henry Ford, the Gerald Ford Presidential Museum, and other venues.

She lives in Saline, Michigan, with her husband and two children.




Ph.D., Cornell University

M.A., Ohio State University

A.B., University of Chicago


Select Publications



Obama, Clinton, Palin: Making History in Election 2008, ed. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2012.




The Big Vote: Gender, Consumer Culture, and the Politics of Exclusion, 1890s-1920s. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press: 2004.



The Chicago Study on Access and Choice in Higher Education, by Gary Orfield, Howard Mitzel, Liette Gidlow, et al. Chicago: University of Chicago Committee on Public Policy Studies, 1984.


Articles, Chapters, and Review Essays

“The Deeper Meaning of Tupperware: Consumer Culture and the American Home.” The Journal of Women’s History 24 (Autumn, 2012): 195-203.


"The Michigan Women’s Commission and the Struggle Against Sex Discrimination in the 1970s."  In The History of Michigan Law, eds. Paul Finkelman and Martin Hershock (Ohio University Press, 2006). Winner, 2006 State History Award from the

Historical Society of Michigan, and a 2007 Michigan Notable Book.


"Delegitimizing Democracy: 'Civic Slackers,' the Cultural Turn, and the Possibilities of Politics." Journal of American History 89 (December 2002): 922-957.


Select Awards 

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Teaching Award, 2014

Humanities Center Faculty Fellowship Award, Wayne State University, 2014-2015

National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend, 2014 

President's Research Enhancement Grant, Wayne State University, 2012-2013 

Teaching American History grant, U.S. Department of Education, 2004-2007. Co-principal investigator and, for 2004-05, academic director. 

Merrill Grant for research in twentieth-century U.S. political history, Organization of American Historians, 1999

Summer Fellowship at the Mary Ingraham Bunting Institute of Harvard University, Berkshire Conference of Women Historians, 1999


Courses Regularly Taught

American Civilization from 1945 to present (HIS 1050)

Women in America, 1600s to present (HIS 5200)

U.S., 1877-1914 (HIS 5050/7050)

U.S., 1914-1945 (HIS 5060/7060)

Sixties America, a capstone research seminar for undergraduates (HIS 5996)

Cultural History of U.S. Presidential Elections, 1788-present (HIS 3995)

Introduction to Graduate Research and Methods (HIS 7830)

Graduate Readings and Research on Modern U.S. Politics (HIS 7990)

Graduate Readings on Women in America (HIS 7200)

3103 FAB
Research Area
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