Associate Professor Jennifer Frost

PhD in US Women's History (Wisconsin-Madison)

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Associate Professor


I am a United States women's historian, focused on social, cultural, and political developments in the twentieth-century United States. My first book, An Interracial Movement of the Poor: Community Organizing and the New Left in the 1960s, was published by New York University Press in 2001 and named a Choice Outstanding Academic Title. The 50th anniversary of the events in this book prompted this article

My second book, Hedda Hopper's Hollywood: Celebrity Gossip and American Conservatism, came out in 2011, also from NYU Press, and was named one of the Five Best Books on Hollywood and Politics in the Wall Street Journal. You can read a review here or listen to this podcast about the book. Hedda Hopper's Hollywood is referenced in an article about the making of Trumbo, a 2015 film with Helen Mirren playing Hedda Hopper. You can watch the trailer for Trumbo here or listen to my recent interview on Radio NZ about the movie.

An anthology of essays, co-edited with Kathleen Feeley, entitled When Private Talk Goes Public: Gossip in United States History came out in 2014. Please see this brief introduction to the book and our television interview about the book. My co-editor also was interviewed about the book on New Books in American Studies.  My newest book is Producer of Controversy: Stanley Kramer, Hollywood Liberalism, and the Cold War out in 2017.  You can read an early review here.

Research | Current

  • Twentieth-century United States history
  • United States women's history, social movements, and popular culture
  • History of USA in the sixties
  • History of Hollywood, politics, and celebrity culture

I am currently working on a project with Tom Atkins on the campaign for youth voting rights in the United States, which culuminated in the 26th Amendment to the Constitution in 1971.  We aim to have the book published in time for the 50th anniversary of the enfranchisement of 18-20 year olds, the last significant expansion of US voting rights and supported by a broad and bipartisan coalition.

Teaching | Current

I am committed to the scholarship of teaching and learning, which began with a scholarly article based on active learning strategies I developed in the classroom while teaching in the United States: J. Frost, “Integrating Women and Active Learning into the U.S. History Survey,” The History Teacher 33 (May 2000), pp 321-328.

With the help of a Teaching Improvement Grant in 2008, I conducted research on student assessment in History 208/308 on assessing student outcomes in history at the tertiary level. I have published three  articles from this research, most recently: Frost, J. “Using ‘Master Narratives’ to Teach History: The Case of the Civil Rights Movement,” The History Teacher 45, 437-446, 2012. As part of my commitment to teaching, I co-coordinate the Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Secondary) - History and sit on the Executive Committee of the Auckland History Teachers’ Association. 

Connecting my research and teaching on Hollywood film, a co-authored book, Teaching History with Message Movies. is forthcoming in early 2018.  Teaching History 111: Racial Histories furthered my interest in comparative New Zealand-United States history and led to this recent opinion piece.

HISTORY 108 Rise and Fall of the USA

HISTORY 111 Racial Histories

HISTORY 241 Making Sense of the Sixties: the USA 1954-1973

HISTORY 341 Making Sense of the Sixties: USA 1954-73

Postgraduate supervision

PhD students

Hannah Cutting Jones, 'Changing Foodways in the Cook Islands, 1870-1970' (co-supervised with Professor Linda Bryder).

Josephine Olson, 'Fashionable Dynamics: International Vogue in the 1970s' (co-supervised with Professor Bernadette Luciano).

Rebecca Weeks, ‘American History by HBO’ (co-supervised with Dr Allan Cameron in Film, Television and Media Studies), completed in 2017.

Stephanie Yu, 'Lora Jo Foo: A Biographical Examination of Her Life and Work, 1970-2010' (co-supervised with Dr Melissa Inouye, Asian Studies)

MA and BA (Hons) students

Caitlin Abley, ''Rage Against the Mainstream: Subversive Journalism in American Underground Newspapers'

Tessa Mazey-Richardson, 'American Women and Politics in Seventeen Magazine, 1944-1984'

Hannah Smith, 'Self-Taught: Teaching African American History post-Brown'

Maria Adriana Wheeler-Hughes, 'Cultural Accounts of a Lawless Man: Charles “Pretty Boy” Floyd  Represented in Life and Death

Areas of expertise

Twentieth-century United States history; United States women's history, social movements, and popular culture; History of USA in the Sixties; History of Hollywood, politics, and celebrity culture.

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Frost, J. (2015). Putting Participatory Democracy into Action. In R. Flacks, N. Lichtenstein (Eds.) (pp. 148-160). UNIV PENNSYLVANIA PRESS.
  • Frost, J. (2013). Challenging the ‘Hollywoodization’ of the Holocaust: Reconsidering 'Judgment at Nuremberg' (1961). Jewish Film & New Media: An International Journal, 1 (2), 139-165. Related URL.
  • Frost, J., de Pont, G., & Brailsford, I. (2012). Expanding Assessment Methods and Moments in History. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 37 (3), 293-304. 10.1080/02602938.2010.531247
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Genevieve de Pont, Ian Brailsford
  • Frost, J. (2011). Movie Star Suicide, Hollywood Gossip, and Popular Psychology in the 1950s and 1960s. Journal of American Culture, 34 (2), 113-123. 10.1111/j.1542-734X.2011.00768.x
  • Frost, J. (2011). Hedda Hopper's Hollywood: Celebrity Gossip and American Conservatism. New York: New York University Press. Pages: 304.
  • Frost, J. (2011). Hollywood Gossip as Public Sphere: Hedda Hopper, Reader-Respondents, and the Red Scare, 1947-1965. Cinema journal, 50 (2), 84-103. Related URL.
  • Frost, J. (2010). Dissent and consent in the "Good war": Hedda Hopper, Hollywood gossip, and World War II isolationism. Film History: An International Journal, 22 (2), 170-181. 10.2979/FIL.2010.22.2.170
  • Frost, J. (2008). Hedda Hopper, Hollywood Gossip, and the Politics of Racial Representation in Film, 1946-1948. Journal of African American History, 93 (1), 36-63.


Contact details

Primary location

New Zealand

Web links