College Fellows and Staff

Professor Gerstle

Professor Gary Gerstle

Fellow in History

College Room: MH5

Dept. Tel: +44 1223 3 35309


Web: Department, Personal Webpage

Personal Biography

Gary Gerstle is the Paul Mellon Professor of American History.  He arrived in Cambridge in 2014 after a three-decade career in the United States, most recently at Vanderbilt University where he was the James G. Stahlman Professor of American History. He is a social and political historian of the twentieth century, with substantial interests in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. He received his BA from Brown University and his MA and PhD from Harvard University. Gerstle has received many fellowships, including a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, a National Endowment of the Humanities Fellowship, and a Membership at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. He has served as the Annenberg Visiting Professor at the University of Pennsylvania and as Visiting Professor at the Ecoles des hautes études en sciences sociales in Paris. In 2012-2013, Oxford elected him to the Vyvyan Harmsworth Professorship in American History. He has lectured throughout North America and Europe, and in Brazil, Israel, Japan, South Africa, and South Korea. He was elected to the Society of American Historians in 2006 and named a Distinguished Lecturer of the Organization of American Historians in 2007. He has testified before the US Congress on immigration matters. His writings have been translated into Arabic, Dutch, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish.  He is a fellow of the British Academy and of the Royal Historical Society.

Gerstle is often consulted by newspaper reporters, magazine writers, and radio and television producers on matters pertinent to his areas of historical expertise. He served as an advisor and on-screen commentator for the 2013 Public Broadcasting Service documentary, Latino Americans and as an advisor to the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, on the exhibit, Many Voices, One Nation, which opened in June 2017. He is the creator and presenter of a four-part radio programme, America: Laboratory of Democracy, which will be broadcast on BBC World Service in October-November 2017. 

Selected Publications

Gerstle’s interests are wide-ranging.  He has written extensively about immigration, race, and nationality, with a particular focus on how Americans have constituted (and reconstituted) themselves as a nation and the ways in which immigration and race have disrupted and reinforced that process.  He has also studied the history of American political thought, institutions, and conflicts, and maintains a longstanding interest in questions of class and class formation.  Two of his books have won prizes: American Crucible (2001; reissued 2017) for the best book in immigration and ethnic history; and Liberty and Coercion (2015) for the best book in American political history.  A paperback of Liberty and Coercion will soon be published by Princeton University Press, and a Spanish edition will be issued at the end of 2017.  He is currently at work on a new book, The Rise and Fall of America's Neoliberal Order, 1970-2020


Book Publications:

Liberty and Coercion: The Paradox of American Government from the Founding to the Present (Princeton, 2015); winner of 2016 Hawley Prize for best book on political economy, politics, or institutions of the United States

Liberty, Equality, Power: A History of the American People (co-authored), Seventh Edition (Cengage, 2015)

Ruling America: A History of Wealth and Power in a Democracy, co-edited with Steve Fraser (Harvard, 2005)

American Crucible: Race and Nation in the Twentieth Century (Princeton, 2001) winner of 2001 Saloutos Award for best work in immigration and ethnic history; new and expanded edition published in 2017

E Pluribus Unum? Contemporary and Historical Perspectives on Immigrant Political Incorporation, co-edited with John Mollenkopf (Russell Sage, 2001)

America Transformed: A History of the United States Since 1900, co-authored with Emily Rosenberg and Norman Rosenberg (Harcourt Brace, 1999)

Working-Class Americanism: The Politics of Labor in a Textile City, 1914-1960 (Cambridge, 1989)

The Rise and Fall of the New Deal Order, 1930-1980, co-edited with Steve Fraser (Princeton, 1989)