Dr. Kathryn Cramer Brownell is a historian of twentieth-century United States working at the intersection of political and cultural history with a particular interest in how media and popular culture influence American political institutions, electoral strategies, and voter experiences. Her first book, Showbiz Politics: Hollywood in American Political Life, examines the institutionalization of Hollywood styles and structures in American politics from the 1920s through the 1970s. She is now working on a new book project that examines the rise of cable and the influence of 24 hour news on American political life from the 1970s through the 1990s.
An associate professor at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN, Dr. Brownell teaches courses on recent American history, the American presidency, and American politics and media. She is also involved in a number of new initiatives, including working as faculty adviser to Phi Alpha Theta, beginning a “New Directions in American Political History” colloquium series, serving as a Faculty Fellow at the Purdue Institute for Civic Communication, and developing a certificate program in “History Communication.” As part of this initiative, she recently published a YouTube video series featuring the C-SPAN Video Library on “The History of Media in Presidential Elections.”
She is currently accepting graduate students and can advise on a range of topics in twentieth century American history, but her expertise is in American political history, communications, and cultural history.