Beth Bailey

Beth Bailey
  • Foundation Distinguished Professor
  • Director, Center for Military, War, and Society Studies
  • Military and US society; War and Society; History of Gender and Sexuality; Recent US History.

Contact Info

Wescoe Hall, Room 3636
Office Hours: In Person
Tuesday | 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
& by appointment


Beth Bailey is a Foundation Distinguished Professor in the Department of History. She joined the KU History Department in 2015. She previously taught at Temple University, the University of New Mexico, and Barnard College, Columbia University, with visiting assistant professorships at KU and the University of Hawai’i and a Fulbright at the University of Indonesia.


Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1986
M.A., University of Chicago, 1982
B.A., Northwestern University, 1979


Her current research project examines how the U.S. Army, as an institution, addressed calls for racial justice and tried to manage pervasive racial conflict during the broader unrest of the Vietnam War era. Bailey is an historian of the recent United States. Over the past decade and a half, her research has been primarily in the field of military, war, and society; she has also written extensively on the history of gender and sexuality in the modern United States.

Bailey’s research has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the American Council of Learned Societies, and she has twice received the Army Historical Foundation Distinguished Writing Award. She was elected to the Society of American Historians in 2017, and has given talks or been a visiting scholar in Australia, China, France, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Lebanon, the Netherlands, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the UK.

In 2021, Bailey was named an Andrew Carnegie Fellow.

Selected Publications

Managing Sex in the U.S. Military: Gender, Identity, and Behavior (co-edited, Nebraska, 2022)

America’s Army: Making the All-Volunteer Force (Belknap/Harvard, 2009)

Sex in the Heartland (Harvard, 1999) 

The First Strange Place: Race and Sex in World War II Hawaii (with David Farber, The Free Press, 1992)

From Front Porch to Back Seat: Courtship in Twentieth Century America (Johns Hopkins, 1989)

Pearl Harbor and the Attacks of December 8, 1941: A Pacific History (co-edited, Kansas, 2019)

Understanding the U.S. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (co-edited, New York University Press, 2015)

America in the Seventies (co-edited, Kansas, 2004)

A People and a Nation (Managing Author)

The Columbia Guide to America in the 1960s (Co-Author)

A History of Our Time (Co-Editor)