Putnam

Lara Putnam

UCIS Research Professor, Department of History, University of Pittsburgh
Areas of Expertise:
  • Civic Engagement
  • Immigration
  • Race & Ethnicity

Connect with Lara

About Lara

Putnam is a historian of race, gender, and migration in the modern Americas.  Her interest in grassroots social movements has led her into local civic organizing in Pittsburgh’s 11th Ward.  She is UCIS Research Professor and Chair of the Department of History at the University of Pittsburgh and president of the Conference on Latin American History of the American Historical Association.

Briefs

Why Democrats Need to Open Doors - And How They Can

  • Robert D. Putnam

Publications

The Company They Kept: Migrants and the Politics of Gender in Caribbean Costa Rica, 1870-1960 (University of North Carolina Press, 2002).

Explores the ways gender roles, kinship patterns, and intimate practice shaped labor migration to the Central American coastal regions where the United Fruit Company’s banana empire was born. 

Radical Moves: Caribbean Migrants and the Politics of Race in the Jazz Age (University of North Carolina Press, 2013).

Argues that key social and cultural movements—from Marcus Garvey’s UNIA to the precursors of reggae dance—arose from the clash of Afro-Caribbean labor migration with race-based anti-immigrant laws in the interwar Americas.

"The Transnational and the Text-Searchable: Digitized Sources and the Shadows They Cast" American Historical Review 121, no. 2 (2016): 377-402.

Argues that historians’ practice has been silently transformed by the advent of disintermediated digital search, in ways that open new opportunities but risk undercutting crucial disciplinary strengths. 

In the News

"There is No Civil War," Lara Putnam, Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, May 17, 2018.
Lara Putnam's research on Michael TomaskyLara Putnam (with Theda Skocpol), "I’m Ready for the Female Takeover of the Democratic Party," The Daily Beast, May 18, 2018.
Lara Putnam quoted on restructuring the Democratic party in Campbell Robertson, "These Women Mostly Ignored Politics. Now, Activism is Their Job." The New York Times, May 10, 2018.
Lara Putnam's research on David LeonhardtLara Putnam (with Theda Skocpol), "Dems in Disarray!," The New York Times, May 10, 2018.
Lara Putnam quoted on the work of women in Democratic races in Julian Zelizer, "Democrats Focus on Midterms" News8000, May 6, 2018.
Lara Putnam quoted on political participation of college-educated women in Michelle Goldberg, "Hope in Arizona" The New York Times, April 23, 2018.
Lara Putnam quoted on the mobilization of Democrats in Matt Grossmann and David A. Hopkins, "Why There is No ‘Liberal Tea Party’" The New York Times, April 17, 2018.
Lara Putnam quoted on grassroots action and the Democratic party in Francis Wilkinson, "Democrats' 'Civil War' is More Civil than War" Bloomberg View, April 17, 2018.
Lara Putnam quoted on anti-Trump resistance in Michelle Goldberg, "Turning Revulsion into Votes" The New York Times, April 9, 2018.
Lara Putnam quoted in Eric Levitz, "Trump Has Turned Millions of Americans into Activists" New York Magazine, April 6, 2018.
Lara Putnam quoted in Dan Sisken, "Change is Coming: Grassroots Organizing, Democratic Politics and the 2018 Elections" Nation of Change, April 4, 2018.
"Digital Fixes Won’t Solve the Democrats’ Problems," Lara Putnam, The American Prospect, April 5, 2018.
"Who Really Won PA 18?," Lara Putnam, Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, March 15, 2018.
Lara Putnam quoted in Jonathan Malesic, "Please, Millennials, Don’t Destroy Us Just Yet" The New Republic, March 7, 2018.
Lara Putnam quoted in David Leonhardt, "The Left is Energized. Now It Needs to Vote." New York Times, February 25, 2018.
Lara Putnam quoted in Heather Digby Parton, "If Democracy Makes a Comeback, White Suburban Women Will Lead It" Salon TV, February 23, 2018.
"Middle America Reboots Democracy," Lara Putnam (with Theda Skocpol), Arguments, Democracy Journal, February 20, 2018.
"The Growing Class Gap," Lara Putnam (with Robert D. Putnam), Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 20, 2008.
"Family and the Cost of Borders," Lara Putnam, University of North Carolina Press Blog, January 30, 2013.
"The Real Scandal the DNC Should Avoid," Lara Putnam (with Robert D. Putnam), Washington Post, November 12, 2017.