Julie Gallagher

Associate Professor, History and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Office Phone: 610-892-1464
Office Location: Vairo Library, 124

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Julie Gallagher is an Associate Professor of History and Women’s Studies at Penn State Brandywine. She received her PhD in History from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, a MA in Education from the University of Michigan, a BA in Economics from Fordham University, and a Certificate in International Relations at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA).

Her book, Black Women and Politics in New York City, was published by the University of Illinois Press in 2012 (reprinted in paperback in 2014).  In it, she traces the evolution of African American women as political actors in various roles – as activists, as voters, as appointees, and elected officials – across seven decades.  The book documents three generations of black women in New York City including familiar figures like civil rights and human rights feminist, Pauli Murray, civil rights lawyer and federal judge, Constance Baker Motley, and Brooklyn congresswoman and 1972 Democratic Party presidential candidate, Shirley Chisholm, as well as less known women like Anna Arnold Hedgeman, Ada B. Jackson, and Bessie Buchanan, who endeavored to work through the structures of government to undo racial and gender-based discrimination while advocating locally and nationally for the needs of women, African Americans, and the economically disadvantaged.  Ultimately, Black Women and Politics in New York City tells a story of halting, incremental change, but real change nonetheless.  Party politics, American liberalism, the civil rights movement, and the women’s rights movement all look different when considered from the perspective of these activists.

Professor Gallagher’s current research examines how, why, and to what effect, members of civil society who engage in activism, especially in periods of state upheaval, tap into the discursive, policy, and normative resources of the international bodies, especially the United Nations, to challenge oppressive practices within their homelands.  As part of her work, she has recently given presentations in Puerto Rico, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States on the history of Liberia’s civil war and the women’s activists who helped bring it to an end.

In addition to her scholarly work, Professor Gallagher has been a long-time human rights advocate, serving as a volunteer legislative advocate with Amnesty International, observing elections in a number of former Soviet countries with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and working with survivors of sexual assault. 

Publications include:


Black Women and Politics in New York City (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, June 2012; paperback 2014).

Dismantling Historical Boundaries:  Essays Centering Women's Non-Traditional Lives, eds. Julie Gallagher and Barbara Winslow (forthcoming University of Illinois Press, 2017)

Current Book Project in Progress:

“Frontline Battles for Justice in an Age of Universal Human Rights:  A Comparative Gender History” (working title)


“Political Trailblazers: African American Women and Electoral Politics in New York City, 1930s-1950s”
in New York Archives (New York:  Archives Partnership Trust, Fall 2014).

“How did Shirley Chisholm, the First African American Woman Elected to the U.S. Congress, Advance an Inclusive Feminist Politics in the 1960s and 1970s?”  Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000, 17:1 (March 2013).

“The National Council of Negro Women, Human Rights, and the Cold War,” in Breaking the Wave:  Feminism in the Mainstream, 1945-1985, eds. Jacqueline Castledine and Kathleen Laughlin (NY:  Routledge Press, Fall 2010.)

 “Revisiting Constructs and their Tyrannical Inclinations,” Feminist Formations, (formerly National Women’s Studies Association Journal) (Vol. 22, 1, Spring 2010), 81-86.

 “African American Women and Power Politics in New York City, 1944-1972,” Journal of Women, Politics & Policy (Fall 2007), 101-130.

“Waging ‘The Good Fight’:  The Political Life of Shirley Chisholm, 1953-1982,” Journal of African American History (Summer 2007), 393-416.

Newspaper Article:
“Congress Can Take Step to Close Guantanamo Detention Center,” The Morning Call, November 20, 2013.