Graduate Associate


Maribel Morey

History, PhD candidate


Maribel Morey is a PhD candidate in the History Department, with a focus in U.S. legal history; twentieth century United States; Modern Europe; and, the history of the social sciences. Currently, she is writing a dissertation on a landmark study that the United States Supreme Court, the Truman Administration, Congress, and the public-at-large in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s cited when discussing the urgency for white-black integration in the United States: Gunnar Myrdal's An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy (1944).

This past academic year, Maribel Morey was a guest researcher at Stockholm University's Sociology Department under Fulbright and American-Scandinavian Foundation grants. This year, she is a Samuel I. Golieb Fellow in Legal History at NYU School of Law.

Dissertation Abstract:

In 1937, the Carnegie Corporation of New York commissioned and funded a comprehensive study of African Americans and selected the Swedish economist, Gunnar Myrdal, to direct it. Seven years later, Myrdal's two-volume 1,483-page treatise in favor of racial integration in the United States appeared.  Writing largely to a white liberal American audience whom he perceived to be the dominant group of Americans in the country, the Swedish author argued in An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy that black Americans were just like white Americans and that any differences that existed between these two groups in American society were largely caused by white Americans' discriminatory behavior. Myrdal noted that if white Americans made their individual behavior and public policies reflect their national egalitarian ideals (the "American Creed"), black Americans would become just like them. Soon after its publication, An American Dilemma became central to national race discussions and, since then, has been heralded as a founding text of modern civil rights discourse.

With the intention of placing this postwar American discourse on race in a broader historical and global context, this dissertation manuscript explains why the Carnegie Corporation commissioned, funded, and published Gunnar Myrdal's An American Dilemma and why Myrdal wrote what he did in the two volumes. It argues that An American Dilemma should be understood as a successor to the Carnegie Corporation’s two other comprehensive, policy-oriented studies of white-black relations in British Africa and to Gunnar and Alva Myrdal's analysis of the population problem in 1930s Sweden.


Education: Princeton University, PhD (History), expected 2012-13; Princeton University, MA (History), 2008; NYU School of Law, JD, 2006; U. of Notre Dame, BA (Politics and Romance Languages and Literatures), 2003.  


"Swedish Roots to Gunnar Myrdal's An American Dilemma (1944)," in An American Dilemma? Race, Ethnicity and the Welfare State in the U.S. and Europe, eds. Sonya Michel, Pauli Kettunen and Klaus Petersen (Johns Hopkins University Press, forthcoming).

"A Transatlantic Perspective on Philanthropy and Charity in the Swedish Welfare Model," in Can Nonprofit Save the Swedish Welfare Model, ed. Kurt Almqvist (Ax:son Johnson Foundation Press, forthcoming June 2013).

"Myrdals amerikanska arv," Axess Magasin 1 (Feb. 2013). 

"A Reconsideration of An American Dilemma," Reviews in American History 40 (Dec. 2012).

Review of Racial Justice in the Age of Obama by Roy L. Brooks, Journal of American Ethnic History 32 (Fall 2012), 113-115.

"Reassessing Hannah Arendt's 'Reflections on Little Rock' (1959)," Law, Culture, and the Humanities (Online First, Dec. 2011). 

"The Civil Commitment of State Dependent Minors: Resonating Discourses that Leave Her Heterosexuality and His Homosexuality Vulnerable to Scrutiny," New York University Law Review 81 (2006), 2129.

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