Kathryn Brownell

Kathryn Cramer Brownell

Dr. Kathryn Cramer Brownell is an author and assistant professor of history at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN where she teaches courses in 20th century American history. She received her B.A. from University of Michigan and her Ph.D. from Boston University. Her research and teaching focus on American political history, the American presidency, and intersections of media, politics and popular culture in modern America.

Conventional wisdom holds that John F. Kennedy was the first celebrity president, in no small part because of his innate television savvy. But, as Kathryn Brownell shows, Kennedy capitalized on a tradition and style rooted in California politics and the Hollywood studio system. Since the 1920s, politicians and professional showmen have developed relationships and built organizations, institutionalizing Hollywood styles, structures, and personalities in the American political process. 

  • In a superb book that will command immediate attention, Brownell takes familiar material and mixes it with new findings in such a way as to make the seemingly familiar new. One of the most sweeping studies of Hollywood and politics, Showbiz Politics places the evolving relationship between show business and those seeking the White House at the center of modern American politics.

    Steven Ross University of Southern California

About

Dr. Kathryn Cramer Brownell is an author and assistant professor of history at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN where she teaches courses in 20th century American history. She received her B.A. from University of Michigan and her Ph.D. from Boston University. Her research and teaching focus on American political history, the American presidency, and intersections of media, politics and popular culture in modern America. Her most recent book, Showbiz Politics: Hollywood in American Political Life, examines the institutionalization of entertainment in American politics.

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