Monica Kristin Blair joined the Center for Presidential History in Fall 2021. Blair’s current book project, “Private Schools, Public Money: The Modern History of School Choice” examines the role of race, region, and politics in the school privatization movement. Blair’s book argues that both Democratic and Republican politicians have broken down the monetary divide between public and private education while ensuring that schools labeled as non-public remained beyond the reach of the regulatory state.
Blair also specializes in public and digital history. From 2018 to 2019, she was the Lead Researcher for the American history podcast BackStory. In that role, Blair partnered with NPR’s Here & Now to research and write biweekly radio segments that historicized the news. As a 2017-2018 Praxis Fellow in the Digital Humanities, Blair co-created UVA Reveal, an augmented reality mobile phone application featuring public history exhibits that overlay the physical landscape of UVA. Blair has created public and digital history content for several other organizations, including Jefferson’s University—Early Life Project (JUEL), Participatory Media, the George A. Smathers Special Collections Library, and the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program.
Blair received her Ph.D. in United States history from the University of Virginia in 2021. She holds an M.A. in southern history from the University of Georgia and a B.A. in history from the University of Florida. Her work has been supported by the Jefferson Scholars Foundation, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation, the Raven Society, the Bentley Historical Library, and the Digital Scholars’ Lab, among others.