Louise Tilly in intergenerational perspective

Michael Hanagan, Mary Jo Maynes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Louise Tilly is noteworthy as an historian, amentor, and a distiller of feminist thought. Her work covers a variety of fields. In the field of labor history she produced an important study of political contention in Italy, Politics and Class in Milan, 1881-1901, and, along with Charles and RichardTilly, a widely influential study of collective action, The Rebellious Century (Tilly 1994; Tilly et al. 1975). Her most influential work is in the arena of women’s and family history, most notably Women, Work, and Family, a product of her collaboration with Joan Scott (Tilly and Scott 1978). She was also a member of the Panel on Women’s Work and Technology of the National Research Council, which produced a signal study of the evolution of women’s white collar work and its prospects, Computer Chips and Paper Clips: Technology and Women’s Employment, and she possessed a keen interest in the intersection between demographic and family history as shown in her coedited collection on European fertility decline (Gillis et al. 1992; National Research Council 1986). Before illness forced her to ceasework, shewasmoving into global historywhere her most important contribution was her presidential address to the American Historical Association (AHA) that outlined a distinctive and original approach to world history (Tilly 1994). Through her ideas and pedagogy, Louise Tilly inspired colleagues and younger scholars who, in turn, drew upon her work and teaching methods as they pursued their own careers. Today, Tilly’s intellectual legacy is apparent in the ongoing influence of her scholarship, but also in ongoing conversations across scholarly generations, through her students and her students’ students. Encountering more recent theoretical paradigms, her students have discarded some of her ideas while giving new emphasis or interpretation to others. This special section reconsiders Tilly’s legacies in an intergenerational framework, where cohorts defined by academic career position— graduate students, assistant professors, professors, and so forth—intersect with age cohorts shaped by a succession of intellectual and political influences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-78
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Science History
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jun 3 2015


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