Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Assistant Professor of History, Lake Forest College
Website URL
Political Economy, Labor, Work, Capitalism, Inequality, Education, Higher Education, Urban, Gender, Immigration
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Lake Forest College. I completed a PhD in History at Harvard University in 2017. My scholarship focuses on the historical construction of work, education, and labor markets in the modern U.S., and how these processes have given rise to a society with one of the highest levels of social inequality across the Global North.

My book, The Education Trap: Schools and the Remaking of Inequality in Boston (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2021), examines how education became a central means of social mobility at the same moment that it became a new infrastructure for reproducing and legitimizing social inequality. While many analyses of inequality focus on the post-1970s period, this book takes us back to the transformation of pathways into employment in the early twentieth century, exemplified in the city of Boston. While schools helped many working-class and second-generation immigrants, especially women, achieve social advancement, employers used schools as tools to undercut worker power and elites used advanced educational credentials to control access to the most lucrative professional jobs. Rather than the antidote to spiraling inequality, this book shows how a blind faith in education can obscure the ways it has fostered and legitimated concentrated wealth and power.

I teach courses on U.S. political and economic history, urban history, the history of education, immigration, gender and sexuality, and social movements and inequality. I received by A.B. from Harvard College in 2008 with a concentration in Social Studies. Before beginning graduate school, I was a high school history teacher in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. In 2011 I received an MPhil in Political Thought from the University of Cambridge.

Recent Publications

Groeger, Cristina Viviana. The Education Trap: Schools and the Remaking of Inequality in Boston (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2021).

Groeger, Cristina V. “A ‘Good Mixer’: University Placement in Corporate America.” History of Education Quarterly 58, no. 1 (2018): 33-64.

Groeger, Cristina V. “The Long History of Segregation and Desegregation in the Urban South.” Journal of Urban History 44, no. 4 (2018): 775-781 .

Groeger, Cristina V. “Harvard’s Microcosm of Labor Inequality.” Public Seminar (2017).

Groeger, Cristina V. “Introduction: Learning Democracy in the New Gilded Age.” Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era 16, no. 4 (2017): 385-387.

Groeger, Cristina V., ed. “John Dewey’s Democracy and Education at 100.” Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era 16, no. 4 (2017).

Groeger, Cristina V. “Radicalism and Conservatism.” In Wiley-Blackwell Companion to the Gilded Age and Progressive Era: The Making of Modern America, 362-378. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell: ed. Christopher Nichols and Nancy Unger, February 2017.

Groeger, Cristina V. “Boston Research Map: Demography and Class, Work and Education in Boston, 1880-1930.” Boston Area Research Initiative (BARI) and Harvard Center for Geographic Analysis, 2015.

Media Coverage
Country Focus
Expertise by Geography
United States
Expertise by Chronology
19th century, Modern, 20th century
Expertise by Topic
Capitalism, Children & Youth, Economic History, Gender, Higher Ed, Labor, Migration & Immigration, Pedagogy, Politics, Urban History, Women