Skip to main content

Marsha E. Barrett

Profile picture for Marsha E. Barrett

Contact Information

421 Gregory Hall
810 S. Wright Street
Urbana, IL 61801

Assistant Professor

Research Interests

United States political history
Policy history
African American history

Research Description

My research examines the political and social history of the United States during the twentieth century. I am particularly interested in how public sentiment, racial dynamics, and social movements have influenced modern U.S. politics, policy, and political culture after 1945. My work explores the policy agendas and rhetoric of elected officials and bureaucrats in an effort to understand how politics shapes the lives of Americans of varied backgrounds.

My book, Nelson Rockefeller's Dilemma: The Fight to Save Moderate Republicanism, will be published by Cornell University Press's Three Hills imprint in August 2024. Nelson Rockefeller's Dilemma is a political study of the New York governor and vice president under Gerald Ford and his relationship with the electorate during the conservative turn of the Republican Party. Rockefeller's career serves as a lens for examining the fate of moderate Republicanism and the broader transformation of the political landscape after the passage of 1960s federal civil rights legislation. 


PhD, History, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
BA, History, Yale University


2012 Research Travel Grant, Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation
2011 Grant-In-Aid Research Grant, Rockefeller Archive Center
2010 Larry J. Hackman Research Residency Grant, New York State Archives
2010 Grant-In-Aid Research Grant, Rockefeller Archive Center

Awards and Honors

2019 Lincoln Excellence for Assistant Professors (LEAP) Scholar
2019 American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship
2015-2017 Summer Institute on Tenure and Professional Advancement Fellowship, Duke University
2014 Dixon Ryan Fox Manuscript Prize, New York State Historical Association

Courses Taught

HIST 172 US History Since 1877
HIST 287 African-American Women
HIST 293 The President and the People
HIST 394 Hidden Political Figures
HIST 488 The American Political Divide

Additional Campus Affiliations

Assistant Professor, History

Recent Publications

Barrett, M. E. (2022). Defining Rockefeller Republicanism: Promise and Peril at the Edge of the Liberal Consensus, 1958–1975. Journal of Policy History, 34(3), 336-370.

Barrett, M. E. (2021). 'Millionaires are More Democratic Now': Nelson Rockefeller and the Politics of Wealth in New York. New York History, 102(1), 52-81.

Barrett, M. E. (2019). ‘Both Parties Hedging’: Reassessing Party Loyalty Among Black New York Voters, 1952-1961. Afro-Americans in New York Life and History, 40(2), 7-51.

Barrett, M. (2016). My First Year on the Tenure Track. Perspectives on History, 1-2.

Barrett, M. E., Geismer, L., Phillips-Fein, K., & Good, C. (2016). What is the State of American Political History? Process: a blog for american history.

View all publications on Illinois Experts