Assistant Professor of History Lily Geismer wins Graves Award

The funding will help pay for book research and a new course that Geismer is developing

Assistant professor of history Lily Geismer has received an Arnold L. and Lois S. Graves Award in the Humanities.

The biannual award, administered by Pomona College under the auspices of the American Council of Learned Societies, encourages and rewards outstanding accomplishment in teaching in the humanities by younger faculty members.

“Receiving the Graves Awards is a testament to the ways in which CMC has been an ideal place to be as a junior faculty member,” Geismer said. “Over my last four years at CMC, I have discovered that much as my research interests have shaped my teaching, the reverse has become equally true. Teaching has helped refine my research agenda.

“My interactions with students and faculty at CMC have instilled in me a greater interest in issues of political economy, and have inspired me to make the development of the post-industrial high-tech economy a more central part of my scholarship and teaching,” Geismer added.”

For her second book project, Geismer hopes to fuse her teaching and research interests even more tightly, by conceptualizing and researching the new project along with the development of a new course.

The funding that accompanies the Graves Award ($8,500) will help Geismer with the research-related expenses of her new book–– tentatively titled: From Yippies to Yuppies–– which will examine the bipartisan promotion and the privatization of public policy, and the pervasiveness of market-based and individualist ideology in American policy, culture, and society.

Geismer says the book will span from the 1960s to the Obama administration, and focus on the network that emerged as individuals and ideas have moved between government, academia, and business–– especially in the financial services and high technology sectors.

“I plan to use the award, in part, to fund several research trips to visit the presidential libraries of Bill Clinton, Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan, as well as the records at the Department of Education, the Department of Labor, Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of the Treasury,” she said.

Geismer also plans to use the funds for a new course she is developing for spring 2016 on the transformation of corporate culture and work in the U.S. since the end of World War II, called: “From Organization Man to Office Space: The Rise of the Service Sector and Its Consequences.”

The course will address a wide range of similar themes as the book, including education and academia and the college experience, health care, the work-family debate and globalization.

“Like many of the other classes I have designed at CMC, it will examine the links between political economy and popular culture, and will encourage the students to examine how large scale social, political and economic issues have a direct impact on everyday life and ordinary people,” she said.