American Studies

Mark Brilliant

Associate Professor - History and American Studies

Born in New York City and raised in Denver, Colorado, Mark Brilliant received his bachelor’s degree from Brown University in 1989. He then taught social studies at Lafayette High School in Brooklyn, New York from 1990 through 1994, after which he headed to Stanford University, where he earned his Ph.D. in history in 2002. Following Stanford, he spent two years at Yale University, the first as a post-doctoral fellow at the Howard R. Lamar Center for the Study of Frontiers and Borders and the second as a lecturer in the history department. He then came to the University of California, Berkeley in 2004 as an assistant professor in history and American studies. In 2010, Oxford University Press published his first book,The Color of America Has Changed: How Racial Diversity Shaped Civil Rights Reform in California, 1941-1978. It won the Cromwell Book Prize from the American Society for Legal History and received honorable mention from the Organization of American Historians for the Frederick Jackson Turner Award. He is currently working on book entitled From School Bus to Google Bus: A New Politics, a New Economy, and a New Gilded Age, which examines the relationship between the new (post-industrial, high technology) economy and the new (post-New Deal, post-Great Society, bipartisan neoliberal) politics from the late 1960s through the late 1980s and how they contributed to the rise of the New (or Second) Gilded Age, as it would come to known. Its title alludes to two very different types of buses that represented two very different, but similarly fraught, symbols of their respective heydays that embody two very different conceptions of state capacity and social vision. Its chapters explore the transformations in political economy–and their frequent intersection with public education–that serve as the historical bridge connecting the demise of the school bus to the rise of the Google bus.

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