Allison McCracken received her PhD in American Studies from The University of Iowa, with a focus in media studies and twentieth century U.S. cultural history. She is the author of Real Men Don't Sing: Crooning in American Culture (Duke University Press, 2015). She currently teaches classes in American popular culture and media, social media, gender/sexuality studies and American Studies methods. Her courses include American Popular Culture, 1890s-1930s; Television and American Identity; Sex, Gender and Social Media; The History of Sex in the United States: Late Victorians to the Present; The American Experience (Methods); LGBTQ Lives, 1969-Present (Sophomore Seminar); American Culture in World War II (Focal Point); and the American Studies Senior Capstone. She is currently doing work on feminine-gendered and queer fan communities at conventions and on the social media platform Tumblr.
Real Men Don't Sing: Crooning in American Culture, Durham: Duke University Press, 2015
--Named one of the “Great Reads of 2015” by NPR
--Winner, Best First Book, Society for Cinema and Media Studies, 2016
--Winner, Irving Lowens Book Award, Society for American Music, 2016
--Winner, Woody Guthrie Prize, International Association for the Study of Popular Music- United States
--Choice, Outstanding Academic Title, 2016
Description: Real Men Don't Sing: Crooning in American Culture. The crooner Rudy Vallée's soft, intimate, and sensual vocal delivery simultaneously captivated millions of adoring fans and drew harsh criticism from those threatened by his sensitive masculinity. Although Vallée and other crooners reflected the gender fluidity of late-1920s popular culture, their challenge to the Depression era's more conservative masculine norms led cultural authorities to stigmatize them as gender and sexual deviants. In Real Men Don't Sing, Allison McCracken outlines crooning's history from its origins in minstrelsy through its development as the microphone sound most associated with white recording artists, band singers, and radio stars. She charts early crooners' rise and fall between 1925 and 1934, contrasting Rudy Vallée with Bing Crosby to demonstrate how attempts to contain crooners created and dictated standards of white masculinity for male singers. Unlike Vallée, Crosby survived the crooner backlash by adapting his voice and persona to adhere to white middle-class masculine norms. The effects of these norms are felt to this day, as critics continue to question the masculinity of youthful, romantic white male singers. Crooners, McCracken shows, not only were the first pop stars: their short-lived yet massive popularity fundamentally changed American culture.
Articles and Book Chapters
“A History of Fandom in Broadcasting.” Companion to the History of American Broadcasting. (Companions in Cultural Studies series). Ed. Aniko Bodroghkozy. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell (forthcoming, 2017)
“At Stake: Angel’s Body,
Fantasy Masculinity and Queer Desire in Teen Television.” Undead
TV: Essays on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Eds. Lisa Parks and Elana Levine.
Durham: Duke University Press, 2007
“The Audience and the
Internet”. The Television History Book.
Eds. Michele Hilmes and Jason Jacobs. New York and London: British Film
“Real Men Don’t Sing Ballads:
The Radio Crooner in Hollywood 1929 - 1933.” Soundtrack Available: Cinema and Popular Song. Eds. Pamela
Robertson Wojcik and Arthur Knight. Durham: Duke University Press, 2001
“Scary Women and Scarred Men:
Suspense, Gender Trouble, and Postwar Change (1942-1950).” The Radio Reader: Essays in the Cultural History of U.S. Radio Broadcasting. Eds.
Michele Hilmes and Jason Loviglio. New York: Routledge, 2001
“Study of a Mad Housewife:
Psychiatric Discourse, the Suburban Home, and the Case of Gracie Allen.” Small Screens, Big Ideas: Television in the
1950s. Ed. Janet Thumim. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2001
“'God’s Gift to Us Girls': Crooning, Gender, and the Re-Creation of American Popular Song, 1928-1933.” American Music 17 (Winter 1999): 365-395
Recent Online Publications
Interviewed by International Association of the Study of Popular Music about my book, Real Men Don’t Sing, by Victor Szabo; posted online: April 17, 2016
“Sinatra the Crooner: 100th Anniversary,” Duke University Website, December 11, 2015
“Feature” book excerpt from Real Men Don’t Sing, Popmatters.com, September 24, 2015:
Organizer and Editor, “Hannibal Week,” In Medias Res, on line scholarly site, September 21-25, 2015
"Long Live Abigail Hobbs!": The Significance of Hannibal's Deviant 'Daughter': Antenna, on-line Media Journal of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, August 26, 2015
"Branding Hannibal: When Quality TV Viewers and Social Media Fans Converge," Antenna, on-line Media Journal of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, August 24, 2015
‘Public’ Education: Reflections from
GeekGirlCon, Seattle, October 11-12” Antenna, on-line Media
Journal of the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Discourses: Through a Feminist Lens”
Antenna, on-line Media Journal of the
University of Wisconsin, Madison. July 16, 2014
“Redefining the Performance of Masculinity at LeakyCon Portland,” Antenna, on-line Media Journal
of the University of Wisconsin, Madison. August 11, 2013
“From LGBT to GSM: Gender and
Sexual Identity Among LeakyCon’s Queer Youth” (LeakyCon Portland)” Antenna, on-line Media Journal of the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
August 6, 2013
"LeakyCon Portland: Where the Fangirls Are" Antenna,
on-line Media Journal of the University of Wisconsin, Madison. July 29, 2013
Kurt and the Casting Couch” Antenna, on-line Media Journal of the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
October 19, 2011
The Countertenor and the Crooner, Part 1” Antenna, on-line Media Journal of the University of
Wisconsin, Madison. May 3, 2011
The Countertenor and the Crooner, Part 2” Antenna, on-line Media Journal of the University of
Wisconsin, Madison. May 10, 2011
The Countertenor and the Crooner, Part 3” Antenna, on-line Media Journal of the University of
Wisconsin, Madison. May 17, 2011
Girls Will Be Boys: Cross-Dressed Women, Lesbians, and American Cinema. Laura Horak. New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 2016. Journal of American History (forthcoming)
Fic: Why Fanfiction is Taking Over the World. Anne Jamison. New York: BenBella Books 2013. Cinema Journal (Volume 54, Number 3), Spring 2015