Nancy MacLean

William H. Chafe Professor of History and Public Policy

Office hours: 

Late afternoons, by appointment.


Nancy MacLean is an award-winning scholar of the twentieth-century U.S., whose new 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.” 

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, MacLean is the William H. Chafe Professor of History and Public Policy. 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 OAH Magazine of History, and many edited collections.

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, 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. Also an award-winning teacher and committed graduate student mentor, she offers courses on post-1945 America, social movements, and public policy history. 

MacLean, N. "Bringing the Organizing Tradition Home: Campus-Labor-Community Partnerships for Regional Power." In Labor Rising: The Past and Future of Working People in America,edited by D Katz and RA Greenwald. New Press, 2012.

MACLEAN, N. "Neo-Confederacy versus the New Deal: The Regional Utopia of the Modern American Right." In The Myth of Southern Exceptionalism,edited by J Crespino and M Lassiter. Oxford University Press, 2010.

MACLEAN, N, and Maclean N, . "Southern Dominance in Borrowed Language: The Regional Origins of American Neo-Liberalism." In New Landscapes of Inequality: Neoliberalism and the Erosion of Democracy in America,edited by MD Leonardo and J Collins. School of American Research, 2008.

MacLean, N. "White Women and Klan Violence in the 1920s: Agency, Complicity, and the Politics of Women's History." In A History of Gender in America: Essays, Documents, and Articles,edited by S Hoffert. Prentice Hall, 2003.

MACLEAN, N. "Postwar Women’s History: From the ’Second Wave’ to the End of the Family Wage?." In A Companion to Post-1945 Amerca,edited by R Rosenzweig and J-C Agnew. Blackwell, 2002.

MACLEAN, N. "From the Benighted South to the Sun Belt: The South in the Twenieth Century." In Making Sense of the Twentieth Century: Perspectives in Modern America,edited by H Sitkoff. Oxford University Press, 2000.

MacLean, N. "Redesigning Dixie with Affirmative Action: Race, Gender and the Integration of the Southern Textile Mill World." In Gender and the Southern Body Politic,edited by N Bercaw. Oxford: Univesity of Mississippi Press. (Essay)

MacLean, N. "The Civil Rights Act of 1964: The Difference a Law Can Make." Labor Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas 11, no. 3 (September 1, 2014): 19-24. Full Text

MacLean, N. "Women’s History for the Future: Gerda Lerner’s Last Agenda-Setting." Journal of Women's History 26, no. 1 (2014): 37-43. Full Text

MacLean, N. "Community Partnerships: Hope for an Embattled Labor Movement? A Conversation with Andrea van den Heever." Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas 9, no. 3 (2012).

MacLean, N. "Getting New Deal History Wrong." International Labor and Working-Class History 74, no. 01 (September 2008): 49-49. Full Text

Maclean N, . "Getting New Deal History Wrong." International Labor and Working Class History 74, no. Fall (2008): 49-55.

MacLean, N. "Achieving the Promise of the Civil Rights Act: Herbert Hill and the NAACP’s Fight for Jobs and Justice." Labor: Studies in Working-Class History in the Americas 3 (2006): 13-19.


MacLean, N. "A Longstanding Movement or a Multivalent Tactic?." Labor: Studies in Working-Class History in the Americas 8.1, no. Buying Power: A History of Consumer Activism in America (2011): 21-23. (Journal issue)

MACLEAN, N. "The Civil Rights Act and the Transformation of Mexican American Identity and Politics." Berkeley La Raza Law Journal 18, no. More Than Whiteness: Comparative Perspectives on Mexican American Citizenship from Law and History (2007): 123-133. (Journal issue)

MacLean, N. "Gender Is Powerful: The Long Reach of Feminism." OAH Magazine of History 20, no. Social Movements in the 1960s (October 2006): 19-23. (Journal issue)

MacLean, N. "Shining Sunlight on a Secretive Lobbying Group." NC Policy Watch (May 17, 2013). (Editorial Comment)

MacLean, N. "Changes to Our Unemployment Insurance a Cruel Blow." Star News Online (February 12, 2013). (Editorial Comment)

MacLean, N. "A Safety Net with a History." Raleigh News & Observer (May 22, 2012). (Editorial Comment)

MacLean, N. "The Civil Rights Movement: 1968-2008." Freedom Stories: Teaching African American Literature and History (2010).

MacLean, N. "White Blight." In These Times (September 12, 2006).

MacLean, N. "The Ku Klux Klan." Edited by E Arnesen. Encyclopedia of U.S. Labor and Working-Class History (2006). (Essay)

MacLean, N. "Affirmative Action." Edited by E Arnesen. Encyclopedia of U.S. Labor and Working-Class History (2006). (Essay)

MacLean, N. "The Ku Klux Klan." Edited by SA Reich. Greenwood Encyclopedia of the Great Black Migration (2006). (Essay)

MacLean, N. "Affirmative Action." Edited by G Mink and A O'Connor. Poverty in the United States: An Encyclopedia of History Politics, and Policy (2004). (Essay)