Professor of History
- Rolvaag Memorial Library 277 F
Ph.D., UCLA, 1986. Area of expertise: Twentieth-Century United States History, United States Women's History, Cultural History.
- Office Hours
- Spring 2016:
- Monday 2:00-3:00,
- Thursday 1:00-3:00,
- and 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. Like any stereotypic Californian, I grew up hiking, biking, swimming, and sailing. I was fairly clueless about my future, my career trajectories being either professional potter or marine biologist. I earned my bachelors’ degree in History at the University of California at Berkeley. I wrote a 96-page undergraduate honors thesis on Woodrow Wilson and the Russian Civil War that I sometimes still use to demonstrate to students how not to write a long History paper. 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 (new edition coming soon!). I’m currently finishing up a manuscript called After Aquarius Dawned: Bringing Sixties Values into the Seventies Mainstream. 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 teach in the History Department and the American Studies program, along with American Conversations. Most of my classes overlap into gender issues and count toward the Women’s & Gender Studies major/concentration. I also teach a lot of media-related courses, so some of what I teach verges into the territory of the Media & Film Studies concentrations. In my spare time I am still wife to Michael Fitzgerald and mother to two young adult sons, Alex and Nate, both of whom, I am happy to say, are gainfully employed. In my free time, I can be found 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.