Scholar & Speaker & Strategist

Dr. Marcia Chatelain

Marcia Chatelain is a scholar, speaker, and strategist based in Washington, D.C.



My name is Marcia Chatelain, and I’m a scholar, speaker, and strategist based in Washington, D.C. I teach courses in African American life and culture at Georgetown University. When I’m not in the classroom, I’m on the road, talking to audiences about our nation’s pressing and pervasive social issues, including racism, universities and the history of slavery, as well as activist movements. I also enjoy discussing these issues in media and on podcasts.

Thank you for visiting my website. You can learn me about me, read some of my scholarship, and discover some of my consulting experience on topics from inclusive teaching and pedagogy to food justice. You can also use this site to invite me to your campus or community for a keynote lecture or a staff training. Don’t forget to visit my calendar to see when I will be appearing in your city next. Best, Dr. C


About Me

I am currently a Provost's Distinguished Associate Professor of History and African American Studies at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.  Previously, I was a Reach for Excellence Assistant Professor of Honors and African American Studies at the University of Oklahoma in Norman.  I am a proud native of Chicago, Illinois, and I'm an even prouder graduate of the following schools: St. Ignatius College Prep, the University of Missouri-Columbia (B.A. Journalism/Religious Studies), and Brown University (A.M. and Ph.D., American Civilization).  I am a scholar of African-American life and culture, and my first book South Side Girls: Growing up in the Great Migration (Duke University Press, 2015) reimagined the mass exodus of black Southerners to the urban North from the perspective of girls and teenage women.

My latest book, Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America  examines the intersection of the post-1968 civil rights struggle and the rise of fast food industry. The book will appear in early 2020 from Liveright, an imprint of W.W. Norton and Company.  


I have been honored to be named a Harry S. Truman Scholar (2000), Sue Shear Institute for Women in Public Life Amethyst Award recipient (2009), German Marshall Fund of the U.S. American Fellow (2011), Ford Foundation Diversity Fellow (2012), French American Foundation Young Leader (2015),  and National Endowment for the Humanities Faculty Fellow (2017-2018). My teaching has been recognized with Georgetown University's  Dorothy M. Brown Teaching Award (2014), the Edward Bunn, S.J. Award for Faculty Excellence (2015), and the College Academic Council's Faculty Award (2016). In 2016, the Chronicle of Higher Education named me a Top Influencer in Higher Education in recognition of my curation of #FergusonSyllabus, a response to the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014. I’m a 2019 Andrew Carnegie Fellow.

I’ am a co-host on the Slate podcast, “The Waves.”

Click here for my full curriculum vita.





Georgetown University
3700 O. Street, N.W.
ICC 624                                 
Washington, D.C. 20057

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Strategy: Areas of Expertise and Practice

In my life, teaching happens in a number of places.  In addition to my courses at Georgetown University, I frequently bring my classroom experiences to other campuses and organizations as a guest speaker or consultant.  Below are my areas of practice and expertise, and examples of my work, if you want to know how I can be of service to you or your institution.


Dr. Chatelain is a trained historian of 20th century African American history.  Her college-level courses focus on the African-American Great Migration, mid-century Civil Rights Movement, the history of African-American women. Dr. Chatelain has also created interactive Black History Month presentations for high school students in order to help them better understand the past.                           

Slavery and the University

Dr. Chatelain has been a resource to museums and historical societies as a guest educator and a content expert on exhibitions and programs.  As a member of the Georgetown Working Group on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation, she has helped bring the history of slavery and universities to communities across the country.


Dr. Chatelain has researched the fast food industry for years, as well as black food history.  Her course on "African American Food Culture" looks at how communities not only prepare foods and preserve their cultures, but also the politics of consumerism and advertising.  Her forthcoming book, From Sit-In to Drive Thru: Fast Food and Black America in an Age of Crisis will uncover the hidden history of the origins of today's health crises.                                        

inclusive teaching and Pedagogy

Dr. Chatelain believes that our classrooms are the place where social change is ignited.  In her experiences of teaching about race and social justice, she has developed practices that encourage honest, clear, and often transformative dialogue.  Dr. Chatelain enjoys sharing her teaching strategies with educators from K-16 about cultivating inclusive pedagogies. Dr. Chatelain has a particular interest in assisting Catholic schools in this work.

History of Girlhood

Dr. Chatelain's book South Side Girls is among a body of scholarship that takes the historical contributions of girls seriously.  In her book, Dr. Chatelain used an array of archives to bring the Great Migration alive by exploring how girls understood the world around them.  Dr. Chatelain previously served on the Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma and has been a supporter of a number of girls' leadership initiatives.

 student leadership

Since her days as a student activist, Dr. Chatelain has been a keen observer about how students have worked to transform their campuses and the world.  Now, as a college professor, she works with student leaders and activists on understanding their important role in realizing social change.


Writing: Books, Articles, and More

I research and write on a variety of topics.  As a historian, I think it's important to share my scholarship through public channels and reach broad audiences. I enjoy contributing to news outlets on timely topics. I welcome opportunities to write for newspapers, magazines, and online publications, so send me a note if you think I should pitch to you or you want to pitch a piece to me.  For more complex projects, I am represented by Michelle Tessler of the Tessler Literary Agency.


Speaking: Public Lectures and Media

Whether I am delivering a keynote lecture, sitting on a panel, or serving as an interviewer for one-on-one conversations, I use history as a lens to better understanding the present.  I enjoy participating in documentaries, appearing on television news programs, and lending my voice to podcasts. Below are links to a few of my media appearances.