Colin Gordon

Professor of History, University of Iowa
Areas of Expertise:
  • Race & Ethnicity
  • Health Care
  • Public Health

About Colin

Gordon is a historian of American public policy, with particular expertise in labor, health and urban policies.  He has worked extensively with planning and historical organizations in St. Louis on the roots – and implications – of racial segregation. He is also a senior research consultant with the Iowa Policy Project, a state-level affiliate of the Economic Analysis Research Network and the State Fiscal Analysis Initiative.

In the News

Colin Gordon quoted by Hanna Holthauys, "Kirkwood and Meacham Park Residents Still Feel Separate 10 Years after Shooting" Webster Journal, March 21, 2018.
Regular contributions by Colin Gordon to Dissent.
Guest to discuss unrest in Ferguson on NPR's All Things Considered, Colin Gordon, August 26, 2014.
Colin Gordon quoted on segregation by Seth Freed Wessler, "Why Did Ferguson Erupt? The Answer Depends on Your Race" NBC News, August 23, 2014.
Colin Gordon quoted on city development, "Editorial: Lessons from Ferguson: We Earned This" St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 22, 2014.
Colin Gordon quoted on Ferguson residents by Tracey Meares, "Ferguson’s Schools are Just as Troubling as Its Police Force" New Republic, August 22, 2014.
Colin Gordon quoted on municipal fragmentation by Patrik Jonsson, "Ferguson: How the Balkanization of Greater St. Louis Fueled the Strife" Christian Science Monitor, August 21, 2014.
Colin Gordon quoted on racist laws by Jeannette Cooperman, "St. Louis: A City Divided" Al Jazeera America, August 18, 2014.
Colin Gordon quoted on tight zoning restrictions by Tim Logan & Molly Hennessy-Fiske, "Ferguson’s Mounting Racial and Economic Stress Set Stage for Turmoil" Los Angeles Times, August 16, 2014.
Colin Gordon quoted on city dynamics of St. Louis by Peter Coy, "The Country Map that Explains Ferguson’s Tragic Discord" Bloomberg Businessweek, August 15, 2014.
Colin Gordon quoted on race relations by Martin Gelin, "Confidence in the Police Force has Collapsed" Dagens Nyheter, August 15, 2014.
"Ferguson Protests: How Did We Get Here?," Colin Gordon, Bloomberg, August 15, 2014.
Colin Gordon's research on city demographics discussed by Pamela Engel, "The Maps of St. Louis Segregation are Depressing," Business Insider, August 15, 2014.
Colin Gordon quoted by David Dante Troutt, "Less than Human: Do Some Police Take a Step beyond Simple Prejudice?" Reuters, August 14, 2014.
Colin Gordon quoted on changing city demographics by Bryce Covert, "The Racist Housing Policies that Helped Fuel the Anger in Ferguson" Think Progress, August 14, 2014.
Colin Gordon quoted on migration of Black families, "The Death of Michael Brown" New York Times, August 12, 2014.
Colin Gordon quoted on racial history of St. Louis by David Von Drehle, "The Long, Tangled Roots of the Michael Brown Shooting" Time, August 12, 2014.
"States of Recession," Colin Gordon, CEPR, August 22, 2013.


"Growing Apart: A Political History of American Inequality," Institute for Policy Studies, 2013.

Presents a web-based account, leaning on interactive data visualizations, of the emergence of inequality in modern America.

New Deals: Business, Labor and Politics in America (Cambridge University Press, 1994).

Presents a reinterpretation of the American response to the Great Depression, focusing on the recasting of business-government relations in the 1920s and 1930s. 

Mapping Decline: St. Louis and the Fate of the American City (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008).

Traces the roots of racial segregation and urban decline, from the early 20th century to the present, in Greater St. Louis.

Dead on Arrival: The Politics of Health in 20th Century America (Princeton University Press, 2003).

Presents a historical account of the failure of American health policy.