Carol Nackenoff teaches American Politics, Constitutional Law, Environmental Politics, and Political Theory. Her interest in the Alger story and the American dream of success is also in evidence in several publications in law and political science journals revisiting Louis Hartz's Liberal Tradition in America and considering the liberal tradition in law.
Nackenoff is co-editor and contributor to Jane Addams and the Practice of Democracy, a book on new directions in Jane Addams scholarship across the disciplines. Her interest in Addams stems from her engagement with activists and thinkers who offered alternative visions for American democracy and who were often critical of atomistic individualism. Her chief current research project is a manuscript on the contested meaning of citizenship in the United States from 1875-1925, a period that witnessed extensive conflict over the extent and terms of incorporation of women, African Americans, Native Americans, workers and immigrants into the polity.