• About Margaret

    Margaret O’Mara is the Scott and Dorothy Bullitt Professor of American History at the University of Washington. She writes and teaches about the growth of the high-tech economy, the history of U.S. politics, and the connections between the two.


    Margaret is a leading historian of Silicon Valley and the author of two acclaimed books about the modern American technology industry: The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America (Penguin Press, 2019) and Cities of Knowledge: Cold War Science and the Search For The Next Silicon Valley (Princeton, 2005). She also is a historian of the American presidency and author of Pivotal Tuesdays: Four Elections that Shaped the Twentieth Century (Penn Press, 2015). She is a coauthor, with David Kennedy and Lizabeth Cohen, of the widely used United States history college textbook, The American Pageant (Cengage).


    Her writing on technology, politics, and society has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, WIRED, MIT Technology Review, The American Prospect, and other major national and international publications. Margaret’s historical perspective on current events also has been seen and heard on a range of major broadcast television and radio outlets, including CNN, MSNBC, PBS, BBC, CBC, and NPR. She is an active public speaker, regularly lecturing before general and academic audiences about Silicon Valley's evolution and the impact of its people, companies, and politics on the United States and the world. She also speaks often (especially in election years) about the past, present, and future of the American presidency.


    Margaret is an OAH Distinguished Lecturer and a past fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the National Forum on the Future of Liberal Education. She is a series editor of the Politics and Society in Modern America series at Princeton University Press and serves on the editorial board of Modern American History. 


    She received her MA/PhD from the University of Pennsylvania and her BA from Northwestern University. She is an alumna of Little Rock Central High School. Prior to her academic career, she served in the Clinton Administration, working on economic and social policy in the White House and in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


    Margaret lives outside Seattle with her husband Jeff, two teenage daughters, and world's best dog.


    (Last name pronounced “O-mare-a.”)


    Downloadable bio

    Full CV

    UW History faculty page

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