Post-1945 U.S. history, legal history, the history of women and gender, social welfare, disability history, and African American history
Dr. Felicia Kornbluh is the Director of the Program in Women's and Gender Studies and an Associate Professor of History. She is the author of the book, The Battle for Welfare Rights: Poverty and Politics in Modern America (University of Pennsylvania Press, series in modern American politics and culture, 2007). Kornbluh has written many articles for academic and non-academic journals, including Feminist Studies, Radical History Review, the Journal of American History, The Nation, In These Times, the Women's Review of Books, and the Los Angeles Times op-ed page.
Kornbluh holds a Ph.D. in history from Princeton University and a B.A. in Social Studies from Harvard-Radcliffe. A native of New York City, she began her scholarly career at Hunter College High School in Manhattan. Kornbluh has held fellowships from the American Bar Foundation, New York University Law School, the American Historical Association, and the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. Before taking up her position at the University of Vermont, she taught for 8 years in the history department at Duke University, where she specialized in post-1945 U.S. history, legal history, and the history of women and gender. While at Duke, she helped build bridges between the history department and Duke's school of Public Policy Studies, and co-chaired the university's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Task Force.
Kornbluh has been an advocate on issues related to social welfare and women's and children's well-being for over twenty years. She served as a staff member of the U.S. House Select Committee on Children, Youth, and Families, and worked at both the Urban Institute and Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. She was a leader of the children's advocacy organization CHILDREN'S EXPRESS while still in high school, and reported from five cities in Japan (including Hiroshima) and four cities in the Soviet Union, as well as from the 1980 and 1984 national political conventions. She founded the alternative newspaper Subterranean Review while in college, and briefly hosted a radio show in WBAI-FM (Pacifica) after graduating. 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.
Current projects include a study of gender, disability, and the law of equality in the postwar United States, focusing on the activist scholar Jacobus tenBroek; a political history of the New York City World's Fair of 1964-1965 and the civil rights protests that disrupted it; and a synthesis of U.S. welfare history in comparative and transnational perspective (with colleagues Sonya Michel, Sarah Rose, and Laura Frader). As an activist, Kornbluh continues her involvement 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.