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Nancy MacLean

Duke University

Based in

United States
North America

Nancy MacLean is the William H. Chafe Professor of History and Public Policy at Duke University, where her scholarship and teaching focus on political economy, social movements, and, increasingly, climate obstruction. She is the author of several award-winning books, most recently, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America, her most climate-relevant to date. Her scholarship has received more than a dozen major prizes and awards, and has been supported by fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Humanities Center, the Russell Sage Foundation, and the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowships Foundation. Lately, she has been sounding the alarm on the imminent threat of a constitutional convention, which would devastate environmental protections and stop U.S. action on climate change, and research for a forthcoming book about the Atlas Network, the key nexus of climate obstruction.

Country(ies) of Specialty

United States

Focus areas of expertise


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Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America  (New York: Viking/Penguin/Random House, June 2017). Updated in 2023 with a new Preface.


“Enchaining Democracy: The Now Transnational Project of the Radical Libertarian Right,” for The Condition of Democracy, vol. I, Neoliberal Politics and Sociological Perspectives, ed. Jürgen Mackert, et al. (Routledge, 2021).

“’Since We Are Greatly Outnumbered’”: Why and How the Koch Network Uses Disinformation to Thwart Democracy,” for A Modern History of The Disinformation Age: Communication, Technology, and Democracy in Transition, eds. Lance Bennett and Steven Livingston (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2020).

 “The Koch Network: Ideology and Politics in the Twenty-First Century,” in The Political Economy of the New Deal and Its Opponents, eds. Romain Huret, Nelson Lichtenstein, and Jean-Christian Vinel (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2020).