Joan Malczewski

Picture of Joan Malczewski
Associate Professor, History
School of Humanities
Ph.D., Columbia University, 2002, History
Phone: History Department: (949) 824-6521
University of California, Irvine
200 Krieger Hall
Mail Code: 3275
Irvine, CA 92697
Research Interests
Education, Foundations and Interest Groups, American Political Development, Progressivism, American South
Short Biography
Joan Malczewski is Associate Professor of History in the School of Humanities at the University of California Irvine. Her work focuses on the relationship between education and state formation, including research on southern schools, fiscal policy reform, and higher education policy during the Cold War.

Malczewski wrote Building a New Educational State: Foundations, Schools and the American South (University of Chicago Press: 2016). It examines the dynamic process of black education reform during the Jim Crow era in North Carolina and Mississippi, including the initiatives of foundations and reformers at the top, the impact of their work at the state and local level, and the agency of southerners—including those in rural black communities—to demonstrate the importance of schooling to political development in the South.

Malczewski's recent work, published in the History of Education Quarterly, explores education fiscal policy reform in California, particularly debates about taxation, during the progressive era. The work demonstrates that fiscal policy reform was both a symptom and a cause of social change in the state. Debates about taxation are particularly important for schooling, which represents the largest expense in most state budgets and one of the most important relationships between the state and its citizens. In California, anti-tax business crusaders sought to maintain private property rights and opposed progressive reformers who conceptualized an expanded state that would address equity across diverse communities and groups, particularly in education.

In another project, Malczewski explores the increase in federal funding for higher education during the Cold War that resulted from the 1947 Truman Commission Report, “Higher Education for American Democracy.” The American Council on Education played a central role in developing the Truman Commission Report and in shaping higher education policy between 1947 and 1972. While the Commission Report called for expansive federally funded student aid, the complicated policy environment came to define educational equity as access, and prioritized quantity over quality, which has had significant implications for the aspirations of underrepresented and educationally disadvantaged students in the present. This work can be seen in the Peabody Journal of Education.
Joan Malczewski, Building a New Educational State: Foundations, Schools and the American South (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2016).
Joan Malczewski, “More Business and Less Politics!” Schooling, Fiscal Structure, and the 1923 California State Budget,” History of Education Quarterly, 63 n 4 (November, 2023).
Joan Malczewski, “The Strength to Meet Which National Need? The American Council on Education, Federal Support for Student Aid, and Equal Educational Opportunity” Peabody Journal of Education, 98 n 3 (June, 2023).
Joan Malczewski, “The Larger Gifts of Taxation’: Foundations and Tax Reform in the Jim Crow South,” Journal of Policy History, (April, 2022).
Joan Malczewski, “Interstitial Collaboration: Education Reform in the Jim Crow South,”Studies in American Political Development, 31, no. 2 (October, 2017).
Joan Malczewski, “Philanthropy and Progressive Era State Building through Agricultural Extension Work in the Jim Crow South.”History of Education Quarterly, 53, no. 4 (November, 2013).
Joan Malczewski, “‘The Schools Lost Their Isolation’: Institutions and Agency in Educational Policy Development, 1909 –1935.”Journal of Policy History, 23, no. 3 (June, 2011).

Joan Malczewski, Debra Plafker-Gutt, and Robert Cohen, “Teaching about Starbucks and Consumer Literacy.”Social Education (June, 2011).
Joan Malczewski,“Weak State, Stronger Schools: Northern Philanthropy and Organizational Change in the Jim Crow South,”Journal of Southern History, 75, no. 4 (November, 2009).
2011 Spencer Foundation, “Building a New Educational State: Institutions and Agency in the Jim Crow South,” $40,000 2010.
Steinhardt Challenge IDEA Award, “Building a New Educational State,” $5,000.
Last updated