Colin Gordon

Department Chair

Drop-in Hours: Tuesday and Thursday, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., or by appointment

Colin Gordon writes on the history of American public policy and political economy. He is the author of Patchwork Apartheid: Private Restriction, Racial Segregation, and Urban Inequality (Russell Sage Foundation, 2023), Citizen Brown: Race, Democracy, and Inequality in the St. Louis Suburbs (University of Chicago Press, 2019);  Mapping Decline: St. Louis and the Fate of the American City (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008); Dead on Arrival: The Politics of Health in Twentieth Century America (Princeton University Press, 2003), and New Deals: Business, Labor and Politics, 1920-1935 (Cambridge University Press, 1994).

He has written for the NationIn these TimesJacobin, and Dissent (where he is a regular contributor). His digital projects include online companions to Patchwork Apartheid, Citizen Brown, Mapping Decline; the data-visualization project Growing Apart: A Political History of American Inequality (Institute for Policy Studies, 2013); and public history on the history of racial segregation in Iowa counties, and in St. Louis.

His recent research support includes a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship (2021-22), a visiting scholar fellowship at the Russell Sage Foundation (2022-23), and a Mellon Foundation Higher Learning Grant (2023-26).  He is a senior research consultant at Common Good Iowa for which he has written or co-written reports on health coverage, economic development, and wages and working conditions (including the biennial State of Working Iowa series).

Professor Gordon is the recipient of an F. Wendell Miller Professorship (2016), the University of Iowa Regents Award for Faculty Excellence (2016), the University of Iowa Award for Distinguished Achievement in Publicly Engaged Research (2015), and the College of Liberal Arts and Science Collegiate Fellowship (2014).


Courses recently taught by Professor Gordon include:

  • HIST:1219  Big Ideas: Equality, Opportunity, and Public Policy in America
  • HIST:1262  American History 1877-Present
  • HIST:2151  Introduction to the History Major – Iowa History
  • HIST:2195  Digital History Workshop
  • HIST:3232  History of American Inequality
  • HIST:4264  USA in a World at War 1931-1945
  • HIST:4266  The New Era and the New Deal 1920-1940
  • HIST:6001  First Year Graduate Colloquium
  • HIST:7192  Pre-Dissertation Writing Seminar
  • HIST:7241  Readings in U.S. Social Policy
  • HIST:7263  Readings in Contemporary United States

Awards and service

  • Chair, Department of History, University of Iowa, 2006-2011, 2023-present
  • Mellon Foundation Higher Learning Grant, 2023-26
  • Russell Sage Foundation Visiting Scholar, 2022-23
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, 2021-22
  • F. Wendell Miller Professor of History, July 2016
  • University of Iowa Regents Award for Faculty Excellence, May 2016
  • Major Research Grant, UI Internal Funding Initiative, September 2015
  • Distinguished Achievement in Publicly-Engaged Research Award, University of Iowa, 2015
  • CLAS Collegiate Fellow, 2014
  • May Brodbeck Fellowship, 2007-08
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, 2004-05
  • Arts and Humanities Initiative Grant, University of Iowa, 2002-03
  • Obermann Center Interdisciplinary Research Grant, Summer 2002
  • Director of Graduate Studies, Department of History, University of Iowa, 2000-04
  • Faculty Scholar Award, University of Iowa, 1998-2000
  • Central Investment Fund for Research Enhancement Grant, 1997




Commentary and Popular Writing

Research areas
  • 20th Century U.S. history
  • American Public Policy
  • American Political Economy
  • American Urban History
Colin Gordon
DEO Office

276 Schaeffer Hall (SH)
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States


270 Schaeffer Hall (SH)
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States