Liette Gidlow

Liette Gidlow

Associate Professor


313-577-6987 (fax)

3103 Faculty/Administration Building

Youtube Videos

Liette Gidlow

Liette Gidlow earned a Ph.D. in U.S. history from Cornell University, a master's degree in history from Ohio State, and a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Chicago. 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.

Research Interest/Area of Expertise

  • Modern U.S.

  • Women's/Gender History


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.

Education – Degrees, Licenses, Certifications

  • Ph.D., Cornell University, 1997
  • M.A., Ohio State University, 1990
  • A.B., University of Chicago, 1985

Awards and Grants

  • National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend, 2014

  • Wayne State University Presidential Research Enhancement Grant, 2012-2014

  • U.S. Department of Education, Teaching American History K-12 Education Grant, 2004-2007 ($999,874)

  • Berkshire Conference Fellowship, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, Harvard University, 1999

  • Organization of American Historians Merrill Grant, 1999

Selected Publications


OBAMA, CLINTON, PALIN: MAKING HISTORY IN ELECTION 2008 (U. Illinois Press, 2012) at A Choice recommended title.

THE BIG VOTE: GENDER, CONSUMER CULTURE, AND THE POLITICS OF EXCLUSION, 1890s-1920s (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004) at

Selected Articles/Chapters

"The Sequel: The Fifteenth Amendment, the Nineteenth Amendment, and Southern Black Women's Struggle to Vote, 1890s-1920s." Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, vol. 17, no. 3 (July 2018).

"Resistance after Ratification: The Nineteenth Amendment, African American Women, and the Problem of Female Disfranchisement after 1920." Women and Social Movements in the U.S., 1600-2000 21 (March 2017).

“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 (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2006). Winner of the Historical Society of Michigan's 2006 State History Award;
designated 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.

Public Scholarship

"3 Strategies Today's Activist Women Share with Their Foremothers," op-ed published at, 26 Jan. 2018. 5,000+ views.

"We Must Protect Voting Rights." Detroit News, 14 Jan. 2018,

"Some People Still Think It Was a Mistake to Give Black People the Right to Vote," History News Network, 25 Jan. 2018.

Currently Teaching

  • His 8150 Research Seminar in History of Women, Gender, and Sexuality in the Modern U.S., 3 credits, Winter 2017

  • His 8030 Research Seminar in Modern U.S., 3 credits, Winter 2017

  • His 1050 American Civilization Since 1945, 4 credits, Winter 2017

Other qualifications directly relevant to courses taught

Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award, Wayne State University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, 2014
Undergraduate Research Opportunity Mentor Award, 2013