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Kathryn Cramer Brownell

Photo of Kathryn Cramer Brownell

Promoted to Associate Professor
Department of History

Kathryn Cramer Brownell received a Ph.D. from Boston University and a bachelor’s from the University of Michigan. She wants to use the social and cultural turn in American political history to generate new discussions of the American presidency, political parties, and the policy-making process.

Brownell’s first book – Showbiz Politics: Hollywood in American Political Life (University of North Carolina, 2014) examines the institutionalization of Hollywood styles and structures in American politics from the 1920s through the 1970s. She is now working on a book project that focuses on the rise of cable and the influence of 24-hour news on American political life from the 1970s through the 1990s.

Brownell also coedits the “Made by History” website for the Washington Post. A collaboration between historians at Purdue, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Virginia, “Made by History” publishes articles that add historical context and insights to the world of current events.

An assistant professor in history at Purdue since 2013, Brownell has been a Faculty Fellow with the Purdue Center for Instructional Excellence (2015-16) and with the university’s Institute for Civic Communications (2014-15). She also won the history department’s John C. Teaford Faculty Teaching Award in 2014.

She teaches courses on recent American history, the American presidency, and American politics and media. She has also served as faculty adviser to Phi Alpha Theta, started a “New Directions in American Political History colloquium series, and developed a certificate program in history communication. As part of the program, she published a YouTube video series on “The History of Media in Presidential Elections” utilizing the C-SPAN video library.