Brendan Shanahan

Brendan Shanahan's picture
Postdoctoral Associate, Center for the Study of Representative Institutions, MacMillan Center; Lecturer, History
Fields of interest: 

U.S. History; Citizenship and Nationality; Canadian History; Political/Policy History; Socio-Legal History; Gender History

Brendan Shanahan is a socio-legal historian focusing on U.S. immigration and citizenship policy in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  His manuscript project, “Making Modern American Citizenship,” explores the birth of modern U.S. citizenship in a series of late-nineteenth to mid-twentieth century disputes over the political and economic rights of American citizens vis-à-vis noncitizens (from the right to vote and be counted for the purposes of representation to the right to work and/or obtain a professional license).  It interrogates federal citizenship disputes, battles between and among unions, professional associations, employer organizations, and immigrant rights advocates, and above all debates over and the administration of a growing regime of state-level “citizen only” policies.  His dissertation won the 2019 “Outstanding Dissertation Award” of the Immigration and Ethnic History Society. 
Shanahan is a Postdoctoral Associate at the Center for the Study of Representative Institutions at the MacMillan Center and Visiting Lecturer in the Yale History Department.  He comes to Yale from UC Berkeley where he recently taught history courses focusing on immigration, politics and policy, and civil rights in the post-Civil War United States.  He received his PhD and MA from UC Berkeley (in 2018 and 2013 respectively), and his BA from McGill University in Montreal in 2011.  He is also trained in, writes about, and looks forward to soon teaching Canadian history.  
This fall he is teaching HIST 127J: “Building the Twentieth-Century American State.”  To reach him, please email: