This is Dr. Bronstein's second quarter as an American Studies Affiliated Faculty and we are honored to highlight her research and achievements in this faculty profile. Dr. Bronstein came to DePaul in the fall of 2000 as an Assistant Professor while she was finishing her dissertation at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Bonstein started off by teaching widely across the Communication Department curriculum, including new courses in the emerging public relations and advertising program, such as CMN 391: Public Relations Cases
and CMN 391: Writing for Public Relations
. She had a professional back ground in public relations and government affairs, but her academic training was focused in media studies, critical cultural studies, and feminist studies. As the program grew, she transistioned into other classes that better reflected her research interests and specializations.
As a feminist media scholar, Dr. Bronstein is interested in questions such as: how does the media represent women? For example, how is a "feminine" person supposed to behave? What is a "girl" supposed to look like? What is "feminine beauty" and what does that look like? On the flip side of that, she is also particularly interested in how women respond to these media representations, especially grassroots groups of feminist activists.
She investigated these issues in her book Battling Pornography: The American Feminist Anti-Pornography Movement, 1976-1986
, published by Cambridge University Press in 2011. This book is the definitive history of the American feminist anti-pornography movement. Dr. Bronstein wanted to understand where the anti-pornography movement came from, and she found it was the culmination of almost ten years of feminist activism against media violence. The core of this book investigates the history of grassroots feminist groups all over the country which started out not opposing pornography, but opposing media materials such as violent ads.
Dr. Bronstein is currently co-editing a new book coming out soon, published by the University of Massachusetts Press: Porno Chic and the Sex Wars: American Sexual Representations in the 1970s
. She is co-editing the book with Dr. Whitney Strub. The book analyzes pornography in the U.S. in the 1970s and epicts the ways in which different groups across the country accommodated the proliferation of pornography.
In addition to all her work as a professor and researcher, Dr. Bonstein has recently completed her first year as the Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives and Enrollment for the College of Communications. As Associate Dean, she oversees enrollment, which involves course scheduling, making sure students have the opportunity to take the classes they need to graduate on time, and ensuring that the curriculum is timely and relflects the society and industries that students are entering. She also works on strategic initiatives, especially around external visibility of the college and making sure that we are communicating all of the great student work and studeny outcomes in the College of Communication to the public.
Dr. Bronstein is also the Founding Faculty Director of the OpEd Project
at DePaul. The OpEd Project is a national thought leadership project that trains faculty, primarily women and/or people of color, to translate their research expertise into popular op-eds and essays for the public. In this way, instead of sharing their expertise and research only with other academics, their knowledge enters the public sphere and enables faculty to participate actively in the important conversations and debates of our times. Dr. Bronstein founded the OpEd Project at DePaul in 2012. This past year, the third cohort completed its training, and there are now 60 members of the DePaul community, primarily faculty members, who are OpEd Project alumni. Together, they have published more than 150 thought pieces.
Dr. Bronstein is excited to be working with the American Studies Program and would like to work on cross-listing more Communication courses with American Studies.It is important to have interdisciplinary majors that allow students to delve deeply into their areas of interest and passion. There are so many different points at which you can enter into the field of American Studies, and this major invites intellectual questions and explorations. Also, we have a fascinating national culture that is made up of so many different traditions, histories, people, races and religions, and American Studies provides a way to organize investigations that try to explain this strange and unique nation, and how it has come to be. Media studies are a very impportant component of American Studies, especially as media has become our dominant source of enteratinment and information, eclipsing interpersonal experience to a large degree. I'm very much looking forward to becoming more involved with the American Studies Program.