Dr. Leilah C. Danielson

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Associate Professor
(BA University of Rochester, MA, PhD University of Texas at Austin, 2003)
U.S. Cultural and Intellectual History, American Radicalism, History Education 
Email: Leilah.Danielson@nau.edu
Office phone: 928-523-8425
Office LA 205

Research and teaching interests 

My main area of interest is the political and cultural history of the modern U.S., with a focus on social movements and the left.  My dissertation, “Not by Might: Christianity, Nonviolence, and American Radicalism,” served as the basis for several articles I published on the role of religion and race in radical politics and the peace movement.  My book, American Gandhi: A.J. Muste and the History of Radicalism in the 20th Century (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014), examines the evolving political and religious thought of A.J. Muste, a leader of the U.S. left.  I argue for his significance to the rich, complex world of radical and reformist politics and ideas from World War I to the mid-1960s. http://www.upenn.edu/pennpress/book/15257.html

My next project builds upon research I conducted on Muste’s role in the workers’ education movement in the 1920s and 1930s.  I hope that this research will feed into my growing interest in labor history as well as my commitment to history/social studies education. I also continue to be interested in the history of the left, labor, and U.S. foreign policy. 

Select publications 

  • American Gandhi: A.J. Muste and the History of Radicalism in the 20th Century (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014)
  • “‘It is a Day of Judgment’:  The Peacemakers, Religion, and Radicalism in Cold War America,” Religion and American Culture:  A Journal of Interpretation 18:2 (summer 2008): 215-48.
  • “Christianity, Dissent, and the Cold War: A.J. Muste’s Challenge to Realism and U.S. Empire,” Diplomatic History 30, no. 4 (September 2006): 645-70.
  • “The ‘Two-ness’ of the Movement: James Farmer, Nonviolence, and Black Nationalism.” Peace and Change: A Journal of Peace Research 29, no. 3&4 (July 2004): 430-53.
  • “‘In My Extremity I Turned to Gandhi’: American Pacifists, Christianity, and Gandhian Nonviolence, 1915-1941,” Church History: Studies in Christianity and Culture 72, no. 2 (June 2003): 361-88.

I have also presented my research in various forums, including the Organization of American Historians, the American Historical Association, the Society for United States Intellectual History, the Peace History Society, the American Studies Association, the North American Labor History Association, and the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations.

Teaching areas

My teaching reflects my interests in cultural and intellectual history; politics and social movements; American empire and race; labor and working-class history; and history/social studies education. 

Courses taught 

  • The U.S. in the World (graduate seminar)
  • U.S. Politics and Culture in the 20th Century (graduate seminar)
  • Labor and the Left in American History (graduate seminar)
  • American Cultural History (graduate seminar)
  • The United States and the Cold War
  • U.S. Culture and Thought since 1865
  • American Intellectual History
  • Labor and Working-Class History of North America
  • Women, Work, and Culture
  • The History of American Radicalism
  • U.S. History since 1865
  • History/Social Studies Teaching Methods
  • Teaching and Learning History and Geography
  • Practicum for History/Social Studies Teacher Candidates

My teaching extends to the mentorship of graduate students and undergraduate honor’s students who share similar interests.  Over the years, my advisees have conducted research on topics such as:

  • Hitch-hiking and post-war American politics and culture
  • Gender, sexuality, and the history of the American pacifist movement
  • The history of the new left and Chicano movement at ASU (subsequently published in the Journal of Arizona History)
  • The history of Mormonism and the modern conservative movement
  • The relationship between the white new left and the black power movement
  • The cultural politics of the anarchist movement at the turn of the century
  • Masculinity and whiteness in postwar popular culture