Philip VanderMeer is an Emeritus Professor of History in the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies. His research and publications touch various areas of American political and social history. His work on urban and Southwestern history includes Desert Visions and the Making of Phoenix, 1860-2009 (2010), preceded by a history of postwar Phoenix, "Phoenix Rising (2002), plus several articles. His most recent work is a political biography of an outstanding Arizona figure, exploring the nature of political leadership and the changes in state government and federalism during the postwar era. This study of Burton Barr: Leadership and the Transformation of Arizona Politics was published in 2014. His current projects include a study of Phoenix area canals and an analysis of immigrant neighborhood and community development in Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1870-1930.
A second area of expertise is Gilded Age-Progressive Era politics. His study of The Hoosier Politician focuses on political careers and legislative behavior, while various articles examine the nature of third parties, bosses and political machines, a comparison of Congress and state legislatures and the 1952 presidential election. Most recently he coedited the Oxford Encyclopedia of American Political and Legal History (2012). His interests also include a social analysis of religion in America, reflected his book on Belief and Behavior (1991), and the development of the legal professional in the Midwest, a longterm research project from which he has produced numerous scholarly papers.
Before coming to Arizona State University in 1985, Professor VanderMeer received his doctorate from the University of Illinois and taught at Purdue University and the University of Texas at San Antonio. He has frequently taught graduate courses on community history and on urban history, and an undergraduate seminar on Southwestern urban history, as well as graduate seminars on 20th century Western political history and an undergraduate course on American political history since 1750. His other teaching areas include graduate and undergraduate courses on the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, and on quantitative methods. He has received five nominations for university or college teaching awards.
VanderMeer has served on the governing boards of the of Social Science History Association and the Society of Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, he has been on numerous committees for those organizations and the Organization of American Historians, and he has served as the Treasurer of SHGAPE and the Treasurer of Social Science History Association. In addition to serving on the Executive Board of the Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, he has been the editor of SSHA News and a book review editor for Computers and the Humanities, as well as for H-SHGAPE. He has held leadership positions associated with various H-NET discussion lists and has been a frequent referee for various journals and publishers, as well as serving on panels for the NEH and the Department of Education. Interested in developing various media, he has worked with publishers on web projects and on historical videos.
VanderMeer's service at ASU includes service as president of the University Senate and chair of the University Academic Council (2008–9), and continuing member of that council (2009 to 2011). He has served on numerous university and senate committees. In 2007–08, he served as president-elect of the Tempe campus Senate, and he had previously served a number of years in the Tempe and CLAS senates. He has extensive experience within the university, particularly on curricular matters, chairing the College Curriculum Committee and the University General Studies Council and as a member of the university's curriculum committee. He has served various roles within the History Department, including associate chair, and head of the History Faculty 2011 to 2013.
At present he is serving on the Council of the Emeritus College, and he is also a member of the ASU University Senate.
Ph.D. University of Illinois