Lily Geismer F'18, F'09

Lily  Geismer
Associate Professor
History
Claremont McKenna College

Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowships for Recently Tenured Scholars 2018
Associate Professor
History
Claremont McKenna College
Doing Good: Public Policy and the Market from the Great Society to the Clinton Foundation
For residence at the Institute on Inequality and Democracy at the University of California, Los Angeles during academic year 2020-2021

“Doing Good” examines the promotion of market- based solutions to problems of social inequality, particularly by the Democratic Party, and historicizes the emergence of the larger ethos of “doing well by doing good.” It explores how this approach represents continuities and changes in liberalism and how it contributed to the contraction of the social welfare state. The project addresses this question through a wide range of policies and programs that came to fruition during the Clinton era. It ultimately aims to complicate and challenge prevailing ideas about neoliberalism and show how the Democratic Party and its allies have both embodied and influenced the pervasiveness of individualist, market-oriented, and entrepreneurial-minded ideology in American policy and society.

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships 2009
Doctoral Candidate
History
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Don’t Blame Us: Grassroots Liberalism in Massachusetts, 1960-1990

Through an examination of the political culture and grassroots activism in the liberal suburbs of metropolitan Boston between 1960 and 1990, this dissertation recasts the conventional narratives of postwar political history. It explores how the suburban liberal vision played a crucial role in helping Massachusetts preserve both its liberal reputation and segregated social structures. Tracing the evolution of this outlook through the overlapping arenas of civil rights, housing, education, growth and development, environmentalism, feminism, and antiwar activism, this dissertation demonstrates how suburban liberalism came to shape politics and policies of the Democratic Party locally and nationally in both progressive and problematic ways.