Stephanie Coontz

Stephanie CoontzEvergreen Faculty Member


B.A., History, University of California, Berkeley, 1966
M.A., European History, University of Washington


Stephanie Coontz


Contact via email

Biographical Note

Stephanie Coontz teaches history and family studies at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. She also serves as Co-Chair and Director of Public Education at the Council on Contemporary Families, a non-profit, nonpartisan association of family researchers and practitioners based at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her work has been featured in many newspapers such as The New York Times, as well as scholarly journals such as Journal of Marriage and Family, and she is frequently interviewed on national television and radio.

Publication Types

Author Non-Fiction
Scholastic, Academic Research

A Strange Stirring

Latest Publication Title

A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s

Publication Excerpt

Based on exhaustive research and interviews, and challenging both conservative and liberal myths about Betty Friedan, A Strange Stirring reveals how a generation of women came to realize their dissatisfaction with domestic life didn't reflect a personal inadequacy but rather a social and political injustice. Coontz examines women's changing status from the 1920s through the 1950s, compares the dilemmas of working-class and middle-class women, white and black, in the early 1960s, and illuminates the new mystiques and new possibilities facing men and women today.

Additional Publications

The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap.
The Way We Really Are: Coming to Terms with America's Changing Families. Editor, American Families; A Multicultural Reader
Marriage, A History: From Obedience to Intimacy, or How Love Conquered Marriage.

Recent essays

"The Myth of Male Decline," The New York Times, September 29, 2012.
"Can this royal marriage survive?," CNN, April 30, 2011.
"Economic Disparity Takes Toll on Marriage," The Philadelphia Inquirer, January 9, 2011.
"Gay marriage isn't revolutionary. It's just the next step in marriage's evolution," The Washington Post, January 7, 2011.
"Taking Marriage Private," The New York Times, November 26, 2007.
"The Family Revolution," Greater Good Magazine, Fall 2007.
"Too Close for Comfort," The New York Times, November 7, 2006.
"A Pop Quiz on Marriage," The New York Times, February 19, 2006.
"Why Marriage Today Takes More Love and Work - From Both Partners," The Christian Science Monitor, June 28, 2005.
"Our Kids Are Not Doomed," Los Angeles Times, May 9, 2005.
"For Better, For Worse: Marriage Means Something Different Now," The Washington Post, May 1, 2005.
“Why 'Mad Men' is TV's Most Feminist Show,” The Washington Post, October 10, 2010.
“The M.R.S. and the Ph.D.,” The New York Times, February 11, 2012.

How did Evergreen help you in your career?

To its credit, TESC emphasizes teaching over research and  publication, insisting that faculty members make teaching their number one priority. Ironically, that was an immense boon to my career as a writer. Because there was no pressure to "publish or perish," I could spend 12 years researching and writing my first book on family history, which was at the time a new field. Along the way, the opportunity to teach with faculty from different disciplines exposed me to new ideas, new sources, and new methodologies. Without the experience of team-teaching, I could never have developed the interdisciplinary overview of family history and sociology – with smatterings of anthropology, philosophy, evolutionary theory, and literature -- that has allowed me to write 6 books on these topics and to have the honor of serving as Director of Research and Public Education at the Council on Contemporary Families.