Dr Maria Ponomarenko
Maria Ponomarenko completed her PhD in History at Stanford University, where she was a graduate fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center. She received her AB and AM in History and Economics from the University of Chicago.
Her dissertation, The Department of Justice and the Limits of the New Deal State, examined the history of the Justice Department during a pivotal moment of state expansion, from the New Deal through World War II. The study traced debates surrounding several initiatives – national policing, prison reform, antitrust enforcement, and civil rights – to explore how administration officials and members of the public grappled with new functions of the federal government and how power and responsibility were allocated between the national government and the states.
While at the United States Studies Centre, Maria will revise and expand her dissertation into a book-length study on the relationship between federal and local law enforcement in the Roosevelt years. The project situates early federal civil rights prosecutions in the context of national law enforcement policy. Doing so, she argues, suggests that the entire discourse on states' rights and local policing was far more pervasive and deeply rooted in this period than is currently understood, and extended beyond merely issues of race or Southern reaction against federal meddling in local affairs. The pattern of federal deference to state and local law enforcement organizations and priorities repeated itself across a number of policy areas, including policing, prison management, and drug enforcement.
Maria's broader research and teaching interests include federalism, and the legal and political history of the twentieth century United States.