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
- Fall 2016:
- Monday 10:30-11:30,
- 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. My manuscript on 1970s popular culture, After Aquarius Dawned, will be published in the spring of 2017.
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, 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.