visit campus


apply for admission


Make Admission Finanical Deposit


Laura McEnaney

Department of History
562.907.4200, ext. 4933

Academic History

B.A., M.A., Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison

Academic Focus

  • History of the U.S. after World War II
  • History of Women and Gender

Professional Interests

20th Century United States, Women's/Gender History


Professor Laura McEnaney started teaching at Whittier College in 1996, after receiving her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison that same year. She teaches U.S. History, specializing in the post-1945 era. Her teaching interests include women and gender, military and urban history and social movements. She is the author of Civil Defense Begins at Home: Militarization Meets Everyday Life in the Fifties (Princeton University Press, 2000), and she has published scholarly articles in various journals and edited collections. She is currently at work on Postwar: A Social and Policy History of Peace, 1944-1953, which explores the social and urban history of America’s demobilization from World War II.

Her first article from that project, “Nightmares on Elm Street: Demobilizing in Chicago, 1945-1953,” published in Journal of American History (#92, March 2006), won the Binkley-Stephenson Award for the best scholarly article published in the JAH that year. McEnaney has won a National Endowment for the Humanities grant, a fellowship from Brown University's George A. and Eliza Gardner Howard Foundation and an Arnold L. and Lois S. Graves Award in the Humanities (American Council of Learned Societies).

McEnaney was awarded the Harry W. Nerhood Teaching Excellence Award in 2007. For the past seven years, she has worked with UCLA's National Center for History in the Schools, partnering with Southern California teachers to improve the teaching of U.S. History in high schools.

Professional Activity

Selected Publications

Book manuscript in progress: World War II's "Postwar": A Social and Policy History of Peace, 1944-1953.

"War's Policy Aftermath: World War II's Demobilization and the Politics of Veterans' Welfare," a symposium on Militarization, Health and Society, in Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics, 39 (Spring 2011): 41-47.

"American Home Fronts: Reflections on Domestic Politics after September 11th," The Organization of American Historians Magazine of History (forthcoming September 2011).

"Seeking the 'Abundant Life': Urban Working-Class Women and World War II's Aftermath," in Gender and the Long Postwar: Reconsiderations of the United States and the Two Germanys, 1945-1989, eds. Karen Hagemann and Sonya Michel (Washington, D.C.:Â Woodrow Wilson Center Press, forthcoming 2012).

Comment, "Sexuality and Gender in Foreign Relations: A Special Issue of Diplomatic History," forthcoming, 2012.

"Cold War Mobilization and Domestic Politics: The United States," in The Cambridge History of the Cold War, vol. 1, eds., Melvyn P. Leffler and Odd Arne Westad (Cambridge, UK:

Cambridge University Press, 2010), 757-795.

"Nightmares on Elm Street: Demobilizing in Chicago, 1945-1953," Journal of American History, 92 (March 2006): 1265-1291.

"Teaching the Journal of American History," on-line lesson, based on "Nightmares on Elm Street: Demobilizing in Chicago, 1945-1953," Journal of American History, 92 (March 2006).

Selected Conferences and Paper Presentations

"Women, Gender, and the Post-World War II State in the United States." Roundtable on Gender and the State in Postwar Eras: China, Russia, and the United States. Presented at the Fifteenth Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, 2011, Amherst, MA.

"Warfare States, Welfare States: World War II's Demobilization and the Peace Dividend," Paper presentation at the Organization of American Historians Annual Meeting, 2011, Houston, Texas.

Commentator, "Roundtable: Gender and Sexuality in American Foreign Relations." Presentation at the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations Annual Meeting, June 24-26, 2010, Madison, WI.

Commentator, "Urban Paternalism: Race, Redevelopment, and Criminal Justice in Postwar Urban America." Presentation at American Historical Association Annual Meeting, 2010, San Diego, CA.

"State of Contradictions: Veterans, Demobilization, and Postwar Political Culture in the United States." Invited talk at Research Triangle Seminar Series on the History of the Military, War, and Society, October 2, 2009, Duke University.

"Veterans' Welfare: Reflections on Militarization and the Post-World War II Welfare State in the U.S." Invited talk at Health Legacies: Militarization, Health, and Society Conference, University of Alberta, September 18-19, 2009, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.