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  • Alison Parker, Professor of History in the History Department at the University of Delaware

    Professor of History
    University of Delaware
    236 John Munroe Hall
    Newark, DE 19716


    ​Alison M. Parker is the Chair and a Professor of History at the University of Delaware. She has research and teaching interests at the intersections of gender, race, disability, citizenship and the law in U.S. history. She majored in art history and history at the University of California, Berkeley and earned a PhD from the Johns Hopkins University. In 2017-2018, Parker was an Andrew W. Mellon Advanced Fellow at the James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference at Emory University, where she worked on her current book project, a biography of the civil rights activist and suffragist Mary Church Terrell. Unceasing Militant: The Life of Mary Church Terrell is forthcoming with the University of North Carolina Press in its John Hope Franklin Series in African American History and Culture. Parker is the author of two historical monographs, Articulating Rights: Nineteenth-Century American Women on Race, Reform, and the State (2010) and Purifying America: Women, Cultural Reform, and Pro-Censorship Activism, 1873-1933 (1997). She has also co-edited three anthologies and authored numerous articles and book chapters. While a faculty member at the State University of New York, College at Brockport, Parker was awarded the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Activity (2012). Her next book project is a study of the civil rights activist, Mary Hamilton, the first female field director for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). Parker serves as the founding editor of the Gender and Race in American History book series for the University of Rochester Press. As Chair of the History Department at the University of Delaware, Parker is committed to building a coalition of students, faculty, and staff promoting a wide-ranging anti-racism agenda. She is trained to lead antiracism and racial justice workshops and community conversations and will work to recruit and retain a diverse community of faculty and students.


    • Ph.D., The Johns Hopkins University, History, 1993.
    • M.A., The Johns Hopkins University, History, 1990.
    • B.A., University of California, Berkeley, History and the History of Art, Phi Beta Kappa, 1988.


    • Books
      • Unceasing Militant: The Life of Mary Church Terrell, Forthcoming, University of North Carolina Press, John Hope Franklin Series in African American History and Culture.
      • Articulating Rights: Nineteenth-Century American Women on Race, Reform, and the State, Northern Illinois University Press, January 2010.
      • Purifying America: Women, Cultural Reform, and Pro-Censorship Activism, 1873-1933, University of Illinois Press, 1997.
    • Edited Books
      • Interconnections: Gender and Race in American History, edited by Alison M. Parker & Carol Faulkner (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2012, paperback 2014).
      • Beyond Black and White: Race, Ethnicity and Gender in the U.S. South and Southwest, edited by Stephanie Cole and Alison M. Parker, Texas A&M University Press, 2004.
      • Women and the Unstable State in Nineteenth-Century America, edited by Alison M. Parker and Stephanie Cole, Texas A&M University Press, 2000.
    • Book Series Editor
    • Articles
      • "'The Picture of Health': The Public Life and Private Ailments of Mary Church Terrell," in a special issue of the Journal of Historical Biography guest edited by Alison M. Parker, entitled "Disability and Disclosure: The Body, Secrets, and Women's Biography," (2013).
      • "Frances Watkins Harper and the Search for Women’s Interracial Alliances,” in Susan B. Anthony and the Struggle for Equal Rights, edited by Mary Huth and Christine Ridarsky (University of Rochester Press, 2012).
      • "Clubwomen, Reformers, Workers, and Feminists of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era," in Women's Rights in the Age of Suffrage: People and Perspectives, edited by Crista DeLuzio (New York: ABC-CLIO, 2009).
      • "Women Activists and the US Congress, 1870s-1920s," in The American Congress: Building of Democacy, edited by Julian Zelizer, (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2004).
      • "The Case for Reform Antecedents to the Woman Suffrage Movement," in Votes for Women: A Concise History of the Suffrage Movement, Oxford University Press, 2002.
      • "'What We Do Expect the People Legislatively to Effect': Frances Wright, Moral Reform, and State Legislation" in Women and the Unstable State in Nineteenth-Century America, edited by Alison M. Parker and Stephanie Cole, Texas A&M University Press, 2000.
      • "'Hearts Uplifted and Minds Refreshed': The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union and the Production of Pure Culture," in Journal of Women’s History, Summer 1999.
      • "Mothering the Movies: Women Reformers and the Censorship of Popular Culture," in Movie Censorship and American Culture, edited by Francis Couvares, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1996.
    • Digital Articles
      • "Mary Church Terrell" peer-reviewed biographical essay for the series "Black Women and Suffrage" for the Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-200 website, edited by Rosalyn Terborg-Penn and Thomas Dublin (Alexander Street Press, Spring 2015).
      • “Mary Church Terrell’s International Perspective on U.S. Race Relations,” peer-reviewed article with a fully transcribed Primary Source Document Project for the Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000 website, edited by Kathryn Kish Sklar and Thomas Dublin (Alexander Street Press, Spring 2012).
    • Review Essays
      • "Intersecting Histories of Gender, Race, and Disability, "Journal of Women's History (Spring 2015, Vol. 2y, Issue 1).
      • "Twentieth-Century Transformations: Sexualities Defined and Sexual Expression Expanded" Reviews in American History (June 2014).
      • “Reading Race Through U.S. Women’s Biographies,” in the Journal of Women’s History (Autumn, 2012 V. 24, Issue 3).
      • "The Alcotts and the Wilders: Revealing Family Histories,” for Reviews in American History (December 2010).
      • "The Seneca Falls Convention of 1848: A Pivotal Moment in Nineteenth-Century America." Reviews in American History (Sept. 2008).
      • "Women's Rights and 'Speech Communities' in American Legal History," Reviews in American History, Vol. 31, N.1 (March 2003).

    Recent Conference Presentations

    • Dignity and Defiance: A Portrait of Mary Church Terrell Film Screening and Rountable Discussion. Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, Gender & Sexualities, Spring 2020.
    • “Mary Church Terrell and Black Women’s Cross-Class Collaborations,” Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Fall 2019.
    • “Connecting Contemporary U.S. Elections with Histories of Working-Class Women’s Political Mobilization,” Roundtable Participant, Organization of American History, Spring 2019.

    Recent Invited Talks

    • Keynote Panel for the Massachusetts Historical Society Conference “’Shall Not Be Denied’: The 15th and 19th Amendments at the Sesquicentennial and Centennial of Their Ratifications,” October 2020.
    • “Black Women’s Suffrage Activism: 1913-1921,” for the 1619-1919-2019 Landmark Moments in African American History and Culture, Warfield Center for African and African American Studies, the University of Texas at Austin, Fall 2019.
    • “Mary Church Terrell’s Black Feminism,” Boston Seminar, African American History Seminar Series, Co-Sponsored by the New England Biography Series, Massachusetts Historical Society, Fall 2019.





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  • Department of History
  • 46 W. Delaware Avenue
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • University of Delaware
  • Phone: 302-831-2371