Sonya Michel Joins Wilson Center as New Director of United States Studies

Jun 01, 2009

Today, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars welcomes Sonya Michel as the new director of United States Studies. Most recently, Michel was professor of history and director of the Nathan and Jeanette Miller Center for Historical Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park.

The Division of United States Studies was established to stimulate research and reflection on the problems of American society, politics, and culture. Through its publications, scholarly workshops, conferences, and meetings with public officials and others, the program seeks to deepen knowledge of relations among ideas, institutions, social movements and public policies, and to examine the United States in the world.

"At this critical moment of economic crisis and political change in our country, I believe that the United States Studies Program can offer an important venue for scholars, policy experts, journalists and public officials to come together to discuss the issues facing the United States today," Michel said. "I plan to explore a broad range of subjects, taking an interdisciplinary, comparative, and transnational approach."

At Maryland, Michel's research and teaching centered on the history of women, men, genders and sexualities as well as on the history of poverty and social welfare, both in the U.S. and in comparative perspective. She is currently completing a book project, Old Age Insecurity: Inequality and Instability in U.S. Retirement Provision, 1945 to the Present.

Lee Hamilton, director and president of the Woodrow Wilson Center, welcomed Michel's arrival at the Center: "We are thrilled to welcome Sonya to the Center. The United States Studies program and the Center as a whole will benefit a great deal from her intellect, energy, and passion."

Sonya Michel has taught at Brown, Harvard, Brandeis, Princeton, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she was director of the Gender and Women's Studies Program. She has received several awards, including Fulbright, NEH, Bunting (Radcliffe), Davis Center (Princeton), and Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars fellowships. She has served in various capacities for the American Historical Association, the Social Science History Association, and the European Social Science History Conference. In 2008, she co-authored a special report for the AHA on "Internationalizing Student Learning Outcomes in History."

Michel is the author of many books and articles, including Civil Society, Public Space and Gender Justice: Historical and Comparative Perspectives, co-edited with Gunilla Budde and Karen Hagemann; and Children's Interests / Mothers' Rights: The Shaping of America's Child Care Policy.

The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars is the living, national memorial to President Wilson established by Congress in 1968 and headquartered in Washington, D.C. The Center establishes and maintains a neutral forum for free, open, and informed dialogue. It is a nonpartisan institution, supported by public and private funds and engaged in the study of national and world affairs.