University of Vermont

Center for Cultural Pluralism

Professor Felicia Kornbluh Reappointed to State Women's Commission

Felicia Kornbluh, director of the Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies Program and associate professor of history, has been reappointed to serve on the Vermont Commission on Women (VCW).

A historian of social welfare, law and grassroots politics in the twentieth century United States, Kornbluh's first book was The Battle for Welfare Rights: Politics and Poverty in Modern America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007). 

Kornbluh is finishing up a sabbatical year in which she was a visiting scholar at both UC-Berkeley School of Law's Center for the Study of Law and Society and at McGill University's Institute for Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies.  She is pursuing two research projects: an exploration of Jacobus tenBroek, a blind activist and legal scholar who contributed to the movement for welfare rights, and an overview of four major social movements for the rights of women, LGBT people, African Americans, and disabled people.

Kornbluh holds a doctorate in history from Princeton University and a bachelor's in social studies from Harvard-Radcliffe. Before taking up her position at the University of Vermont, she taught at Duke University, where she specialized in post-1945 U.S. history, legal history, and the history of women and gender. Kornbluh has been a long-standing advocate on issues related to social welfare and women's and children's wellbeing.  She served in Washington, D.C. as a staff member of the U.S. House Select Committee on Children, Youth, and Families.  She worked at two major think tanks, the Urban Institute and the Institute for Policy Studies.  From 1995 to 2005, she participated actively in the Women's Committee of 100, an organization of feminist scholars and writers that was created to block punitive welfare reform. Kornbluh continues her interest in networking scholars around the country to add their voices to social policy debate. Her most recent efforts have involved the economic stimulus package of the Obama administration and its impact on women, and resulted in the creation early in 2009 of a national coalition of historians, economists and other social scientists.

Kornbluh contributes both her rich academic background and abundant skills and expertise to the Vermont Commission on Women's meetings. "Dr. Kornbluh is able to contribute a valuable historical perspective on our work," says Vermont Commission on Women's executive director Cary Brown. "This information enriches our deliberative discussions.  We are fortunate to have her at our table."