Director of the Carolyn T. and Robert M. Rogers Center for the Study of the Presidency.
Associate Professor of History
Nicole Hemmer is a political historian specializing in media, conservatism, and the presidency. Her scholarship and teaching focus on the interplay of social movements, electoral politics, and political culture in order to probe the complexities of political identity and practice in the 20th century United States.
Her latest book, Partisans: The Conservative Revolutionaries Who Remade American Politics in the 1990s, is a bold reinterpretation of the Reagan presidency and the conservative movement. Partisans shows how, at the end of the Cold War, the politics of Ronald Reagan gave way to a new kind of post-Cold War conservatism, one with roots in the Old Right of the 1930s and 1940s as well as modern innovations in interactive media and congressional brinkmanship. Her first book, Messengers of Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politics, uncovered the generation of media activists who built the conservative movement from the 1940s to the 1970s.
Hemmer has also contributed to a number of edited collections, including Barry Goldwater and Remaking of the American Political Landscape, Media Nation: The Political History of News in Modern America, A Field Guide to White Supremacy, and The Presidency of Donald Trump: A First Historical Assessment.
In addition to her scholarship, Hemmer writes regularly for a number of national and international outlets. Currently a columnist at CNN, she has regularly contributed to the New York Times, Washington Post, Vox, US News & World Report, and The Age in Melbourne, Australia. She also hosts two history podcasts, Past Present and Radiotopia's This Day in Esoteric Political History. She was the producer and host of A12: The Story of Charlottesville, a six-part podcast series on the white-power violence in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017. In 2017, she co-founded Made by History, the historical analysis section of the Washington Post. She is also cofounder of the American Political History Conference.
Before coming to Vanderbilt, Hemmer was a research associate with the Obama Presidency Oral History Project at Columbia University. She came to Columbia from the University of Virginia, where she was an assistant professor in presidential studies.