Debra Minkoff joined the faculty of Barnard in 2005, after teaching at the University of Washington in Seattle. She also has taught at Yale University and held visiting positions at the University of Munich and the Humboldt University of Berlin.
Professor Minkoff’s work focuses on the organizational dimensions of social movements and political activism in the U.S. Her earlier research traces the civil rights and feminist movements, developing a new approach that emphasizes the ecology of national political and civic organizations. She has written on such topics as the structure of protest cycles in the U.S., organizational change and failure among national political organizations, and the role of national social movements in American civil society. More recently her research has investigated such questions as how funding by elite foundations shapes the field of organizations seeking to consolidate the gains of the feminist and civil rights movements, and how much variety exists in the organizational models available for citizen advocacy at the national level in the U.S.
Her article "Conceptualizing Political Opportunity" (with D. S. Meyer) received the 2005 Best Published Article Award from the American Sociological Association Section on Collective Behavior and Social Movements.
At Barnard, Professor Minkoff’s teaching includes such courses as "Social Movements, Funding Social Change: A Research Practicum, and the Junior Colloquium."