PhD, University of Tennessee
BA, University of Massachusetts-Boston
Jennifer E. Brooks joined the Department of History faculty in 2006. A native of East Tennessee, she received a PhD in history from the University of Tennessee in 1997 and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Massachusetts-Boston in 1987, with a BA in history. Her research and teaching interests are the twentieth-century South, particularly the impact of the Second World War in shaping the complex political, social, and economic matrix of the modern South.
In 2004, the University of North Carolina Press published her book on this topic, entitled Defining the Peace: Race, World War Two Veterans, and the Remaking of Southern Political Tradition, the first in-depth examination of the role played by black and white World War Two veterans in southern postwar politics. Essentially, military service empowered the racial, political, and gender identities of veterans of both races, driving them to seek political influence when they returned from the war though they pursued agendas that were diverse and even worked at cross-purposes. This work establishes veteran activism as a key element in defining the war's legacy for the South as a politics of modernization, anti-unionism, and racial tradition.
Currently, her research interests are in southern labor history, specifically the local and regional impact of Cold War politics on working-class communities in the South.
Defining the Peace: Race, World War Two Veterans, and the Remaking of Southern Political Tradition (University of North Carolina Press, 2004).