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 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 newest book is Producer of Controversy: Stanley Kramer, Hollywood Liberalism, and the Cold War published in November 2017. You can read a review here or listen to this podcast about the book.

An interracial movement of the poor (2001)Teaching History with Message Movies (2018)

A 2018 profile in Ingenio as well as a History News Network interview provide general overviews of my career as a historian thus far.

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

My focus now is on the campaign for youth voting rights in the United States, which culminated in the 26th Amendment to the Constitution in 1971.  The book is tentatively titled "Let Us Vote": Youth Voting Rights and the 26th Amendment.  2021 will mark the 50th anniversary of this enfranchisement of 18-20 year olds, the last significant expansion of US voting rights and supported by a broad and bipartisan coalition.  My opinion piece links this research project to current youth activism, particularly to prevent school shootings, in the USA.

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.

I also collaborated on a digital project for teaching and learning the history of women's suffrage in Colorado, which--like New Zealand--celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2018.  This movement's historical lessons for politics today appear here.

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; one is available here as a pdf: “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. 

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

My courses include:

HISTORY 208 African-American Freedom Struggles

HISTORY 308 African-American Freedom Struggles

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

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

HISTORY 370 Special Topic: The Practice and Politics of History (summer school 2020)

HISTORY 737 Rethinking History (2020)

Postgraduate supervision

PhD students

Tessa Mazey-Richardson, 'Youth Suicide in New Zealand Aotearoa: a socio-cultural history of responses to youth suicide, 1960-2000' (co-supervised with Professor Linda Bryder), in progress.

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

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

Hannah Cutting Jones, 'Changing Foodways in the Cook Islands, 1870-1970' (co-supervised with Professor Linda Bryder), completed in 2018.

Stephanie Yu, 'Lora Jo Foo: A Biographical Examination of Her Life and Work, 1970-2010' (co-supervised with Dr Melissa Inouye, Asian Studies), completed in 2019.

MA and BA (Hons) students

James Brown, 'Reign and History' (co-supervised with Associate Professor Lindsay Diggelmann), in progress.

Katie Cammell, 'The Motunui-Waitara Claim and Māori Environmental Activism' (co-supervised with Dr. Aroha Harris), completed in 2020.

Tessa Mazey-Richardson, 'American Women and Politics in Seventeen Magazine, 1944-1984', completed in 2018.

Caitlin Abley, 'Rage Against the Mainstream: Subversive Journalism in American Underground Newspapers', completed in 2018.

Hannah Smith, 'Self-Taught: Teaching African American History post-Brown', completed in 2018.

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

Ross Wardrop, 'The White House Under Siege: Bill Clinton, “Cronyism” and The Management of Scandal', in progress.


I am the adviser for BA (Honours) and Postgraduate Diploma for Semester 1 2020.

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.

Committees/Professional groups/Services

I am the co-president (academic) of our Tertiary Education Union branch at The University of Auckland. I recently co-hosted the 2019 Conference of the Australian and New Zealand American Studies Association (ANZASA) in 14-16 July 2019; the theme of the Conference was "Community, Conflict, and the 'Meaning of America.'"  I just was elected ANZASA president.  I also recently published this piece on the 50th anniversary of the 1969 moon landing.

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Frost, J. (2015). Putting participatory democracy into action. In R. Flacks, N. Lichtenstein (Eds.) The Port Huron statement: Sources and legacies of the new left's founding manifesto (pp. 148-160). Philadelphia: University of 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: 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

Office hours

Office Hours: By appointment.

Primary office location

ARTS 1 - Bldg 206
Level 7, Room 721
New Zealand

Web links