Lily Geismer, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of History


Kravis Center

Office Hours

On Leave 2018-2019


Lily Geismer’s research and teaching focuses on 20thcentury political and urban history in the United States, especially liberalism. Her book Don’t Blame Us: Suburban Liberals and the Transformation of the Democratic Party (Princeton University Press, 2015) traces the reorientation of modern liberalism and the Democratic Party away from their roots in labor union halls of northern cities to white-collar professionals in postindustrial high-tech suburbs by focusing on the Route 128 corridor around Boston. She is currently working on a book project entitled Doing Good: The Democrats and Neoliberalism from the War on Poverty to the Clinton Foundation, which explores the Democratic Party’s promotion of market-based solutions to problems of social inequality. She is also co-editor of Shaped by the State: Toward a New Political History of the Twentieth Century (University of Chicago Press, 2019). In 2018,  she was named an Andrew Carnegie Fellow by the Carnegie Foundation. Her work has also been supported by the American Council for Learned Societies and the Charles Warren Center at Harvard University.


Ph.D., University of Michigan; B.A., Brown University

Awards and Affiliations

Arnold L. Graves and Lois S. Graves Award in the Humanities, 2014-2015

Urban History Association Board of Directors, 2014-16

Co-Host, Urban History Association Podcast, 2014-present

Co-organizer, Los Angeles History & Metropolitan Studies Group, Huntington Library, 2012-present

Research and Publications

“Good Neighbors for Fair Housing: Suburban Liberalism and Racial Inequality in Metropolitan Boston,” Journal of Urban History (May 2013 vol. 39 no. 3), 454-477

“More Than Megachurches: Liberal Religion and Politics in the Suburbs” in Faithful Republic: Religion and Politics in the 20th Century United States, ed. Andrew Preston, Bruce Schulman, and Julian Zelizer forthcoming, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015

“Kennedy’s Liberalism” in A Companion to John F. Kennedy, ed. Marc Silverstone, Wiley-Blackwell 2014

“Overcoming the Gender and Political History Divide: Teaching and Studying Post-1945 United States History,” Perspectives on History: The Newsmagazine of the American Historical Association (March 2012): 28-30.