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Northwestern Historian Named Humanities Center Fellow

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May 13, 2008
EVANSTON, Ill. — Nancy MacLean, professor of history and African American studies and chair of the history department at Northwestern University, has been named a 2008–09 fellow of the National Humanities Center, where she will hold the John Hope Franklin Senior Fellowship.

The 42 fellows were chosen from more than 400 applicants in the United States and abroad to conduct leading research in the humanities. MacLean proposed a study of the push to privatize public services and decision making that she titled "Freedom Is the Answer: The Strange Career of School Vouchers." She will focus on conservative advocacy of vouchers after the Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision. Her project, which is expected to result in a book, will also research the 1959–64 closing of public schools in Prince Edward County, Va., in opposition to desegregation.

At the National Humanities Center, MacLean will also hold a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies. She was among 65 chosen from 1,034 applicants.

MacLean studies the workings of class, gender, race and region in 20th-century social movements and public policy. Her most recent book, "Freedom Is Not Enough: The Opening of the American Workplace" (Harvard University Press, 2006), has received awards from the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights, the Law and Society Association, the Labor and Working Class History Association, the International Association of Labor History Institutions, the Industrial Relations Section at Princeton University, the Southern Regional Council and the Social Science History Association.

A recipient of fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Russell Sage Foundation and Northwestern's Institute for Policy Research and Alice Kaplan Humanities Center, MacLean is one of the history department's Charles Deering McCormick Professors of Teaching Excellence. She has taught at Northwestern since 1989.