Margaret O'Mara

Margaret O'Mara

Howard and Frances Keller Endowed Professor of History, University of Washington-Seattle Campus

About Margaret

O’Mara's research focuses on the growth of the high-tech economy, the history of U.S. politics, and the connections between the two. O’Mara is the author of Cities of Knowledge (Princeton, 2005), Pivotal Tuesdays (Penn Press, 2015), and The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America (Penguin Press, 2019). Prior to her academic career, she worked in the Clinton White House and served as a contributing researcher at the Brookings Institution.

No Jargon Podcast

In the News

Margaret O'Mara quoted on possibility of strong tech sector benefitting larger economy by Chase DiFeliciantonio and Roland Li , "Good News for Bay Area: Tech Hiring Despite the Coronavirus" San Francisco Chronicle, April 6, 2020.
Margaret O'Mara quoted on obscure but important nature of DPA by Louis Jacobson, "Has President Donald Trump Invoked the Defense Production Act or Not? It’s Complicated" PolitiFact, March 23, 2020.
Margaret O'Mara quoted on wage increase for delivery app workers by Daniel Beekman, "Should Seattle Mandate $16 Per Hour for Workers on Delivery Apps? Campaign coming to City Hall" The Seattle Times, March 2, 2020.
Margaret O'Mara quoted on rise of white-collar tech activism by Chris Mills Rodrigo, "Kickstarter Union Seen as Breakthrough for Tech Activism" , February 20, 2020.
Margaret O'Mara quoted on sanctions against Big Tech firms by Ian Sherr, "Facebook Should be Punished, not Broken Up " CNET, May 14, 2019.
Margaret O'Mara's research on the importance of historians discussed by Knute Berger, "Why We Need History Majors to Understand our Future," Crosscut, April 22, 2019.
"The Tech Talent is Rumbling in Silicon Valley," Margaret O'Mara, LA Times, January 2, 2019.
"A Warning From Seattle to Amazon’s HQ2," Margaret O'Mara, The New York Times, November 6, 2018.
"Winning the Amazon Sweepstakes Will Give One City a Big Boost - If It Happens the Right Way," Margaret O'Mara, Washington Post, September 20, 2017.
"The Other Tech Bubble," Margaret O'Mara, American Prospect, February 19, 2016.
"Don’t Try This at Home," Margaret O'Mara, Foreign Policy, August 6, 2010.


Pivotal Tuesdays: Four Elections That Shaped the Twentieth Century (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015).

Looks back at four pivotal presidential elections of the past 100 years to show how they shaped the twentieth century. During the rowdy, four-way race in 1912 between Teddy Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Eugene Debs, and Woodrow Wilson, the candidates grappled with the tremendous changes of industrial capitalism and how best to respond to them.

"The Environmental Contradictions of High-Tech Urbanism" in Now Urbanism: The Future City is Here, edited by Jeff Hou, Ben Spencer, Thaisa Way, and Ken Yocum (Routledge Press, 2015), 26-42.

Considers the history of high-tech urbanism and traces the environmental discourses embedded within it by sketching short portraits of technological spaces over time and place, from early twentieth-century Cleveland to semiconductor-era Silicon Valley to twenty-first-century Bangalore.

Cities of Knowledge (Princeton University Press, 2005).

Examines why high-tech development became so economically important late in the twentieth century, and why its magic formula of people, jobs, capital, and institutions has been so difficult to replicate.