Marisa Chappell specializes in 20th-century U.S. history with a particular focus on politics, social policy, and the political economy of race and gender.
Chappell received her B.A. from Emory University in 1991 and her Ph.D. from Northwestern University in 2002 and taught at the University of California, San Diego and the University of Georgia as a postdoctoral fellow before joining the Oregon State University History Department in 2005.
Her book on the politics of welfare reform in the late 20th century, The War on Welfare: Family, Poverty, and Politics in Modern America, was published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in fall 2009. In spring 2009, Routledge published Welfare in the United States: A History with Documents, a book for undergraduate classes that Chappell coauthored with Premilla Nadasen of Queens College, CUNY, and Jennifer Mittlestadt of Pennsylvania State University. She has also published several articles on the topic of welfare, women’s poverty, and feminist politics.
Chappell’s current research interest is community organizing and grassroots campaigns for economic justice after the 1960s, an effort to uncover a hidden history of progressive activism in an era most noted for conservative political realignment and to explore the complex racial and class politics that shaped the political left at the grassroots in the last three decades of the 20th century.
Chappell teaches 19th- and 20th-Century U.S. History, 20th-Century U.S. Women's History, Sixties America, Poverty in American History, and the Civil Rights Movement in Modern America. She is also creating a public history project for undergraduates on civil rights activism in Portland, Oregon.