Location: Holland Hall 513 C
Professor of History
Ph.D., UCLA, 1986
20th-century America, women’s history, popular culture
Spring 2014 Office Hours
Monday 1:30 – 3:00,
Thursday 1:00 – 3:00,
& by appointment
I grew up in a large, loud Greek-American family in the San Francisco Bay Area, smack in the midst of all the cultural and political turbulence of the Sixties. I attended the University of California at Berkeley as an undergraduate, starting out as a Design major and graduating with a degree in History. I wrote my honors thesis on Woodrow Wilson and the Russian Civil War. I entered graduate school at UCLA in the midst of a recession. At orientation, the graduate adviser cheerfully warned us that there were no jobs in History. I persisted through the twists and turns of a graduate degree, loving a process a lot of people find difficult or tedious or just too long. I also loved the intellectual stimulation and the lifestyle; plus, at UCLA I met and married Michael Fitzgerald. My dissertation looked at radical intellectuals of the 1930s. When I graduated, I had a new spouse, a decent resumé, a modest amount of student debt, and no job.
I followed Michael Fitzgerald to St. Olaf College and, eventually, we both got full-time tenured jobs here. I published a revised version of my dissertation in 1995 as The Long War: The Intellectual People’s Front and Anti-Stalinism, 1930-1940 and a second book, The American Civil Liberties Union and the Transformation of American Liberalism in 2006. I have also published essays, mostly on gender and popular culture, in Impossible to Hold: Women and Culture in the 1960s, Disco Divas: Women and Popular Culture in the 1970s, and The Sitcom Reader: America Viewed and Skewed. I’m currently revising a manuscript called After Aquarius Dawned: Mainstreaming 1960s Revolution in 1970s Culture. A couple of my recent articles are a piece on 1970s singer-songwriters and the ways their songs and their biographies helped baby boomers imagine relationships that weren’t defined by dating, going steady, or marriage (Journal of American History, December 2010) and one that looks at men’s “peacock” fashions – think Nehru jackets and love beads – in the 1960s (The Sixties, December 2012). I have also been contributing to documentary filmmaker Richard Wormser’s history of the American Communist Party and done some book reviews and essays.
I teach in the History Department and the American Studies program, along with American Conversations and, on occasion, the Media and Film Studies program. I am currently the chair of the History Department. In my spare time I am still wife to Michael Fitzgerald and mother to two young adult sons, Alex and Nate. In my free time, I can be found in my kitchen (latest obsession: risotto), on a potter’s wheel at the Northfield Arts Guild, at the Northfield Food Shelf, out running, or, if I’m lucky, traveling. I also indulge in “cultural research,” which other people might call watching TV and films, reading magazines, and listening to music. I believe that our culture is one big research opportunity that everyone should consider critically and thoughtfully and that is a viewpoint I always try to bring into each course I teach.