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Lisa G. Materson


  • Ph.D., History, UCLA
  • M.A., History, UCLA
  • B.A., Plan II and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Texas at Austin


Lisa Materson is a historian of U.S. women’s and gender history. Her work is focused on women’s involvement in social and political justice movements in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Her book For the Freedom of Her Race: Black Women and Electoral Politics in Illinois, 1877-1932 (UNC Press, 2009) analyzes African American women’s turn to the party system at the local and national levels to undermine institutionalized segregation and disfranchisement. Her current research explores women’s involvement in the movement for Puerto Rico’s independence from the U.S. With her colleague Professor Ellen Hartigan-O'Connor, Professor Materson is also co-editor of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of American Women’s and Gender History. Prior to arriving at UC Davis, she was a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University and a lecturer in the history department at Yale University.

Research Focus

U.S. women’s history, U.S. political history, history of U.S. colonialism, African American history

Selected Publications

  • Materson, L. G. (In preparation) American Nationalist: Ruth Reynolds and the Struggle Against US Colonialism in Puerto Rico.
  • Materson, L. G., Hartigan-O’Connor, E. (Eds.) (Forthcoming) Oxford Handbook of American Women’s and Gender History (under contract at Oxford University Press).
  • Materson, L. G. (2017). Gender, Generation, and Women's Independence Organizing in Puerto Rico. Radical History Review, 128: 121-146.
  • Materson, L. G. (Forthcoming) “African American urban electoral politics in the age of Jim Crow," with Joe William Trotter, Jr., Journal of Urban History.
  • Materson, L. G. (2009) For the Freedom of Her Race: Black Women and Electoral Politics in Illinois, 1877-1932. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
  • Materson, L. G. (2009) "African American women's global journeys and the construction of cross-ethnic racial identity,” Women’s Studies International Forum 32, no. 1: 35-42.
  • Materson, L. G. (2009) “African American Women, Prohibition, and the 1928 Presidential Election,” Journal of Women's History 21, no. 1: 63-86.
  • Materson, L. G. (2006) "Electoral politics," in Encyclopedia of the Great Black Migration, Ed. Steven Reich (Westport, Ct:  Greenwood): 275-79.


Undergraduate lecture courses on U.S. women’s history, the history of sexuality in the U.S., and the U.S. in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era; Undergraduate seminars on U.S. feminism and race in America; Graduate seminars on women’s history, twentieth-century U.S. history, and the histories of gender, colonialism, and nationalism


  • Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lecturer, 2016-2019
  • University of California President’s Faculty Research Fellowship in the Humanities, 2004-2005, 2017-2018.
  • Faculty Research Fellow, UC Davis Humanities Institute, 2017
  • Center for Puerto Rican Studies Historical Preservation and Research Program Grant, 2011
  • Co-Director, SSRC, Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship Program, 2010
  • Charles Warren Fellow, Harvard University, Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History, 2008