Julia L. Mickenberg grew up in Connecticut, about 90 miles from New York City. She holds an A.B. degree in American Civilization from Brown University and a Ph.D. in American Studies (with a minor in Feminist Studies) from the University of Minnesota. Prior to graduate school, she did work in public history, at the Smithsonian Institution, the Old York Historical Society (in York Maine), and with the National Park Service in Stehekin, Washington. Before starting as an assistant professor at UT in 2001 she taught history at Pitzer College in Claremont, California. In her spare time, she enjoys yoga, running, hiking, and reading fiction.
Publications and Scholarly Work
Julia Mickenberg's book, American Girls in Red Russia: Chasing the Soviet Dream, was published in spring 2017 by University of Chicago Press. Expanding on that research, in the fall of 2019 she published “The Bolshevik Revolution Had Descended on Me": Madeleine Z. Doty’s Russian Revolution, extracted from Doty’s Behind the Battle Line, annotated, and with a new introduction. Mickenberg is also the author of Learning from the Left: Children's Literature, The Cold War, and Radical Politics in the United States (Oxford UP: 2006), which won awards from the Society for the History of Children and Youth, the Children's Literature Association, the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association, and the UT Cooperative Society. She is also co-editor of Tales for Little Rebels: A Collection of Radical Children's Literature (NYU: 2008) and The Oxford Handbook of Children's Literature (2011), which won the Children's Literature Association's 2011 Edited Book Award. She has also published articles and book chapters in venues including the Journal of American History, American Quarterly, The Children's Literature Association Quarterly and American Literary History. She recently published "Radical Children’s Literature for Adults at the Inner City Goose” in the open-access journal Barnboken. Learn more about American Girls in Red Russia: Chasing the Soviet Dream here.
Professor Mickenberg is an interdisciplinary historian of women, children, and radical cultures in the twentieth century. She is interested in the cultural milieu of leftist political movements involving women and children; and in the tension between utopian desire (for more just and satisfying social arrangements) and the practical realities of human fallibility, abuse of power, and limited resources. She is drawn toward unexplored and repressed dimensions of the historical record, including stories of individuals and communities (local, national, and international) whose significance has heretofore been overlooked. Her effort to understand and reveal these dynamics is undergirded by deep archival research, close reading, and oral history. Through courses taught and in her role as a leader of the campus conversations and chair of the faculty innovation task force, she became increasingly interested in higher education as an institution of both liberatory possibility and social control. As a Provost Teaching Fellow she is working on highlighting the value of the humanities.
Professor Mickenberg teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on U.S. cultural history, the cultures of American radicalism, Americans abroad, childhood studies, women radicals and reformers, life writing, and the 1960s. She regularly teaches a Plan II Honors course on College and Controversy, and collaboratively taught a course with Kate Catterall (Design) and Rich Reddick (Educational Administration) on the History and Future of Higher Education, subject of their co-authored article in Radical Teacher.
Rag Radio, American Girls in Red Russia: Chasing the Soviet Dream
Stars and Tsars: Backstory with the American History Guys
Rag Radio, the History and Future of Higher Education
Book TV, discussing Tales for Little Rebels
To the Best of Our Knowledge, discussing Learning from the Left
The Leonard Lopate show, WNYC, discussing Tales for Little Rebels
Against the Grain, KPFA, discussing Tales for Little Rebels
Sean's Russia Blog podcast
March 17th, 2021 | Season 3 | 51 mins 55 secs
american stories, communism, history, social movements, soviet union, women's history
In honor of Women's History Month, we have a special episode featuring American Studies professor Dr. Julia Mickenberg who joins us to talk about her spectacular book "American Girls in Red Russia" which explores the intimate lives of American women who traveled to the USSR chasing the "Soviet Dream." We hope you enjoy!