A specialist in twentieth century politics, women's history, and mass culture, she has published two books: THE BIG VOTE, which analyzes how massive, non-partisan voter turnout campaigns in the 1920s helped establish new norms of "expert citizenship" and "consumer citizenship"; and OBAMA, CLINTON, PALIN, a collection of essays by top-ranking historians that takes the long view on the historic 2008 presidential election.
Her next book is a study of the disfranchisement of American women after the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution in 1920 granted them suffrage. In 2012 the project was awarded a President's Research Enhancement Grant, the largest humanities research grant offered by Wayne State, and in 2014 the project won support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her previous work has won the support of grants from four presidential libraries and the Bunting Institute at Harvard University. Between 2004 and 2007, she spearheaded a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to improve K-12 history teaching in northwest Ohio.
Professor Gidlow’s teaching has been featured on C-SPAN's "Lectures in History" series, and in 2014 she was awarded Wayne State's Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award. She has presented talks on U.S. politics and women, past and present, at Cornell University, the Gerald Ford Presidential Museum, the New York Historical Society, The Henry Ford, and elsewhere.