Stacy Sewell, Ph.D.

Professor of History
Assistant Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences 

[email protected]

Stacy Sewell is a Professor of History and Assistant Dean for Administration at St. Thomas Aquinas College.  She received her BA in History and Sociology from the New School for Social Research and a Ph.D. in History from Rutgers University.  She has been at St. Thomas Aquinas College since 2000.  Her teaching interests are in 20th century U.S. politics and race relations.


HIST 316    City and Suburb in America

This course examines the evolution of the United States from a rural and small-town society to an urban and suburban nation.  The class will explore the growth of city and suburb as interrelated processes, which involve the creation of physical infrastructures as well the construction of imagined and idealized social spaces.  Themes to be discussed are the impact of industrialization, immigration and internal migration, the onset of racial and urban problems, the formation of new and distinctive urban subcultures, the problems of health and housing, and corrective public policies from the 19th century to the present.  

HIST 314    The 1960s    

This course examines the politics, culture and society of the period and focuses upon the many conflicts over cultural authority and political legitimacy, between the forces of order, consensus, and containment and those of protest, resistance, and liberation.  Topics will include the cold war, civil rights, the student movement, the Vietnam War, sexual liberation and the counterculture.  Students explore multiple documentary sources such as oral history, music, documentary and feature films, newspapers and artifacts to understand how issues raised in the 1960s are still polarizing and playing themselves out in our politics and culture.

HIST 315    American Women’s History

Have women’s status and position in American society simply progressed and improved over time, or is this history more complicated?  Students in this course will scrutinize widely-held presumptions of women’s progress over time.  We will explore the means by which women’s rights and sphere of activity have been transformed since colonial times, and how with the enlargement of women’s rights and independence also came conflict and controversy.  The course will explore the conflicts imbedded in the suffrage and reform movements, friction between women of different classes and generations, and the difficulties that have accompanied women’s attempts to balance work and home life.  

HIST 345    Colonial and Postcolonial Vietnam

This course is designed to bring together the histories of colonialism, nationalism, and anti-communism, using Vietnam as a focal point.  From the French colonial experience to the rise of Vietnamese resistance and United States’ intervention, this course will compare and contrast the ways in which the peoples and nations involved--the dominant and the subjected--understood their roles and viewed their struggles.  Students will examine the views of colonial administrators, Vietnamese nationalists, and American policymakers to uncover how the historical actors regarded one another.  They will also examine popular views of struggles over Vietnam in the media, in literature, and in films.  


My recent research is a social history of urban renewal in the 1960s and 1970s.  At that time, the State of New York demolished 1,150 buildings in the capital city of Albany, displacing more than 7,000 people to make way for the construction of a massive modernist office complex, known today as the Empire State Plaza.  I am working with a small team of researchers on this project, entitled 98 Acres in Albany, which will digitally reconstruct and repopulate the area.  Our project draws upon a wealth of archival and community resources, including oral histories and social media in an effort to determine the fate of the residents of the 98 acres and the enormous construction project that followed.

Urban renewal projects were efforts to dramatically reshape the nation’s cities at a time when urban areas faced population decline, diminishing tax bases, and deindustrialization.  In many of these cities, existing populations—their homes and business—were removed by local governments to make way for new highways, office complexes or shopping centers.  In the name of progress, communities were fractured.  My research aims to ask questions of this history: How did individuals respond to the demand that they relocate? Where did they move?  What did the redevelopment do to their old community and how did it shape new communities?

My previous research examined the civil rights movement’s efforts to end employment discrimination through protest, legislative action and with the help of federal executive orders.      


  • “A ‘Fashionable’ End to Discrimination: The Development of Affirmative Action in the Kennedy-Johnson White House,” White House Studies, Volume 4 No. 3 (Fall, 2004): 355-368.    
  • “The ‘Not-Buying Power’ of the Black Community: Equal Employment Opportunity in the Civil Rights Movement,1960-1964” Journal of African American History 89, 2 (Spring 2004): 135-151.
  • “‘The Best Man for the Job’: Corporate Responsibility and Racial Integration in the Workplace, 1945-1960,” The Historian 65 (Fall, 2003): 1125-1146.        
  • “Left on the Bench: The New York Construction Trades and Racial Integration, 1960-1972,” New York History 83 (Spring, 2002): 203-16.

Presentations/Invited Talks

  • "Who Built Urban Renewal? Labor and Laborers on Albany's Empire State Plaza," 8th Biennial Conference of the Urban History Association, Chicago, October 13-15 2016.
  • “Relocation and Resolution in Rockland County,” 35th Conference on New York State History, Marist College, Poughkeepsie, NY, June 2014.
  • “Roundtable: Sisters in the Brotherhoods,” Annual Meeting, Labor and Working-Class History Association, Chicago, Illinois, May 2009.
  • “Fancy, Fear, or Flight?  New York City’s Postwar Housing Crisis,” St. Thomas Aquinas College Faculty Research Retreat, May, 2008.
  • “Freezing the Flight?  New York City’s Middle-Income Housing Solution,” Researching New York Conference, SUNY Albany, November 16, 2006.
  • “Community Histories” Conference on New York State History, June 10-12, 2004

Professional Affiliations

American Historical Association
Urban History Association


Larry J. Hackman Research Residency, New York State Archives, 2016.
Faculty Development Grant, St. Thomas Aquinas College 2013.
Kerr Prize for New York History 2003.