Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Purdue University
Website URL
20th century political history, media history, the American presidency, politics and popular culture
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

Kathryn Cramer Brownell is an associate professor in American history at Purdue University.  Her research and teaching focus on the intersections between media, politics, and popular culture, with a particular emphasis on the American presidency.  Her first book, Showbiz Politics: Hollywood in American Political Life, examines the institutionalization of entertainment styles and structures in American politics during the twentieth century and the rise of the celebrity presidency.   She is now working on a new book that examines the political origins and implications of policy transformation regarding the cable industry from the Nixon administration through the Clinton years.  She also currently serves as a co-editor of Made by History at the Washington Post. 

Recent Publications


Showbiz Politics: Hollywood in American Political Life.  Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2014; (Paperback, 2018).

Book Chapters:

“’Ideological Plugola, ‘Elitist Gossip,’ and the Need for Cable Television.”  In Media Nation edited by Bruce Schulman and Julian Zelizer.  Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017, 160-175.

“The Making of the Celebrity Presidency.” In Recapturing the Oval Office edited by Brian Balogh and Bruce Schulman. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2015, 162-174.



“Nixoning the Moon.” Modern American History, Vol. 1, No. 1. . (January 2018): 135-139.

“Gerald Ford, Saturday Night Live, and the Development of the “Entertainer-in-Chief.” Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 46, No. 4 (December 2016): 925-942.

“’Movietime U.S.A’: The Motion Picture Industry Council and the Politicization of Hollywood in Postwar America.” Journal of Policy History. Vol. 24, No. 3 (July 2012): 518-542.

“’It is entertainment and it will sell bonds!’  16 mm film and the WWII war bond campaign.” Moving Image Journal, Vol. 10, No. 2 (Fall 2010): 60-82.

Media Coverage
Country Focus
United States
Expertise by Geography
United States
Expertise by Chronology
20th century
Expertise by Topic
American Presidents, Politics, Technology