Tilly, Louise.

Alternative names
Americans
English

Biographical notes:

"The social history I envision studies past economic, political, and social structures, as well as collectivities [...]. It studies the connections between and among structures, processes of change, and human action. It posits an interdependence of structure and action-human agents produce structures, intentionally or not, even as structures facilitate or constrain human action […]. [Narrative and structural analyses] are needed to describe past structures and events and to explain their connections; together, they communicate the essence of history."

Louise Tilly, American Historical Association Presidential Address, 1993.

Louise Tilly is an historian who utilizes history and sociology to explore the effects that large-scale social change have on particular constituencies such as women, families, and manual laborers. Much of Tilly's research focuses on how work, food, family systems, and gender were affected by economic and social movements in France and Italy. Women, Work, and Family, written in collaboration with Joan Wallach Scott, Tilly's "Paths of Proletarianization: The Sex Division of Labor and Women's Collective Action in Nineteenth Century France," and, her "Gender, Women's History, and Social History," along with many other books and articles, have become part of the canon for teaching social history.

Louise Audino was born on December 13, 1930, in Orange, New Jersey. After attending public schools in Queens, New York, and Teaneck, New Jersey, she began her studies in history at Douglass College of Rutgers University. She received her BA in 1952 and went on to obtain a Master's degree in history from Boston University in 1955.

In the 1950s, Louise married the historical sociologist Charles Tilly, with whom she had four children. In 1974, Tilly completed her PhD in history at the University of Toronto and began teaching at Michigan State University. She became a full professor and the first director of Women's Studies at the University of Michigan in 1975. In 1979, Tilly was awarded a fellowship at the Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies at Princeton University. After nearly a decade in Michigan, Tilly was recruited, along with her husband, to found a new graduate program in historical studies at the New School for Social Research.

The Tillys, along with Aristide Zolberg and Ira Katznelson, created the Committee on Historical Studies, dedicated to a multi-disciplinary approach to the study of history. At the New School for Social Research, Tilly served as the Michael E. Gellert Professor of History and Sociology from 1984 to 2002 and as chair of the Committee on Historical Studies from 1994 to 1996. She served as Directeur d'Études Associées at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris in 1979, 1980, 1988, and 1991.

Beyond her teaching and research responsibilities, Tilly served as president of several professional organizations: the American Historical Association in 1983, the Social Science History Association from 1981 to 1982 and the Social Science Research Council from 1983 to 1986. Tilly also chaired the Higby Prize Committee, the Committee on Quantification in History, the panel on Technological Change and Women's Employment, and, was a member of the National Resource Council, the National Academy of Science Committee on Women's Employment and Related Social Issues, and, the Council of the Association. During the Clinton administration, Tilly worked as a member of the National History Standards Project, endeavoring to update and improve the teaching of history in American public schools.

From the guide to the Louise A. Tilly papers, Tilly (Louise A.) papers, 1960-1998, (bulk 1974-1995), (John Hay Library)

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