Robyn Leigh Muncy

Professor Muncy's scholarship has focused especially on social policy and progressive reform movements in twentieth-century America. Her first book, Creating a Female Dominion in American Reform, 1890-1935, analyzes the role of middle-class white women in creating the U.S. welfare state. Her second book, Engendering America, is a documentary history of gender in the U.S. since 1865. This work is co-edited with Professor Sonya Michel and is intended for classroom use.  Her most recent book, Relentless Reformer:  Josephine Roche and Progressivism in Twentieth-Century America, is a political biography of activist Josephine Roche, and it analyzes America’s progressive reform tradition from the Progressive Era through the Great Society. It is part of the Politics and Society Series at Princeton University Press.

While the early twentieth-century first captured Professor Muncy's attention, the postwar period has engaged her more recently.  Her article, “Coal-Fired Reform:  Social Citizenship, Dissident Miners, and the Great Society” (Journal of American History, 2009) argues that dissent among rank-and-file workers helped to spark the reforms of the Great Society, and  "Cooperative Motherhood and Democratic Civic Culture in Postwar Suburbia, 1940-1965," (Journal of Social History, 2004) insists that the commitment to participatory democracy, so central to the New Left, was perfectly in keeping with the  values of many postwar suburban parents.  The focus of earlier articles ranges from women's participation in partisan politics ("'Women Demand Recognition': Women in Colorado's Election of 1912") to the ways that gender informed debates on economic policy early in the century ("Trustbusting and White Manhood, 1898-1914").

Professor Muncy is currently working on an article that analyzes the influence of the Left on mainstream political culture in the U.S. from the 1930s through the 1970s.  Her next book project studies the role of women in the Great Society government.

Professor Muncy has received several grants and fellowships.   In 2007-08, she was a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and she returned to the Center as a public policy scholar in the summer of 2009.  She won a Fulbright (declined), an NEH Summer Stipend, and a research grant from the Franklin Roosevelt Presidential Library. She has served on the Editorial Board of the Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. She chaired the Scott-Lerner Dissertation Prize committee for the Organization of American Historians, and has won many teaching awards. In 2004 and 2005, she was featured in Who's Who Among America's Teachers.

Professor Muncy has made several appearances on broadcast media.  She was a talking head for an episode of The Sixties, a 10-hour documentary broadcast on CNN in 2014.  She appeared in Fire at the Triangle, a PBS documentary on the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, which premiered on The American Experience in 2011.  She was interviewed in The First Measured Century, another PBS documentary that first aired in 2000 and was subsequently excerpted  for  a DVD [The Idea Makers:  The Women of Hull House (Princeton, NJ: Films for the Humanities and Sciences, 2004)] and an eVideo [The Women of Hull House:  Harnessing Statistics for Progressive Reform (New York:  Films Media, 2000)]. C-SPAN’s “Lectures in American History” broadcast one of her classroom lectures, “American Women Did Not Go Home After World War II:  Women’s Labor Force Participation, 1945-2000,” which remains available on the C-SPAN web site.


Taliaferro Hall