Yans-McLaughlin, Virginia


Contact Information

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Tel: 848-932-8240

Office: 221Van Dyck Hall


M.A., Ph. D., State University of New York at Buffalo

Research Interests

US cultural history; women's history; history of immigration.

Biographical Notes

Professor Yans-McLaughlin is currently working on a biographical study of the anthropologist Margaret Mead. She has produced and written a 90 minute documentary film "Margaret Mead: An Observer Observed", which aired nationally as a PBS Television Special and continues to be broadcast worldwide. She is actively involved in a number of public history projects including the Ellis Island National Museum, the Women's History Museum and Leadership Center planned for lower Manhanttan, and the South Street Seaport Museum. Newer interests include a history of collectors and collecting and a history of "single persons." Along with Professor Rudolph Bell, she co-directed two projects at the RCHA, one on "singleness" and another on the "gendering of children" during 2003-2005. Recent dissertations she has directed include several topics related to immigration including women's citizenship, Japanese picture brides, and immigrant language usage. One of her recent advisees, Carol Williams, won the OAH Scott-Lerner prize for best women's history dissertation for her work on photography, race, and gender in the northwest territory.

Awards, Fellowships, Grants

  • Society for Visual Anthropology, American Anthropological Association, film on Mead
  • National Science Foundation Fellowship, 1996
  • National Science Foundation 1996, 2000
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Grants 1983, 1987, 1990, 1991, 1994
  • Wenner Gren 1991
  • Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship 1976
  • Howard M. Marraro Prize, American Historical Association Prize 1977

Selected Publications

  • Women on Their Own: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Being Single, co-edited with Rudolph M. Bell (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2008, paperback 2010)
  • Ellis Island and the Peopling of America: The Official Guide (New Press, 1997, 1999)
  • Immigration Reconsidered: History, Sociology, Politics (Oxford University Press, 1990)
  • Family and Community: Italian Immigrants in Buffalo, 1880-1930 (Cornell University Press, 1977, 1984)

Courses Offered


  • Gender and Technology in History
  • Race, Sexuality and The Other
  • Research Seminar in Women's History
  • Colloqium in Women's History
  • Anthropology and History
  • Research Seminar in American History
  • Labor History


  • 512:278 Popular Music in American History
  • 506:212, 988:212 Women in Europe and the United States, 1780-present
  • History Seminar: Biography as History
  • Honors Seminar: Collectors and Things
  • Honors Seminar: Single Women,the Internet and Earlier Transformations in Information Technology

Professional Affiliations

  • American Historical Association
  • Organization of American Historians
  • Immigration History Society
  • Co-director RCHA (2003-2005)
  • Italian Studies Committee
  • University Honorary Degree Committee 2004
  • Graduate Vice Chair, History Department, 1992-1994
  • Chair, Women's Studies Program, 1978-81

Contact Us

Ruth Dill Johnson Crockett Building
162 Ryders Lane
New Brunswick, NJ 08901

P  848/932-9331
F  732/932-1335
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