Dr. Jessamyn Neuhaus
Professor of History
Who studies, analyzes and historicizes U.S. popular culture? Why, people who love pop culture of course! I am an avid popular media consumer, and as a scholar and historian, I believe that studying popular culture is an essential part of understanding both the past as well as our contemporary society. Knowing how to critique popular culture makes all of us more knowledgeable participants in U.S. politics, education, the marketplace and home life.
I love my work as a teacher scholar, and I’m always exploring new ways to facilitate student learning and intellectual growth in classes such as “The Apocalypse in Pop Culture,” “Race, Ethnicity, and Pop Culture,” “Superheroes in U.S. History,” “The Prom,” “U.S. Youth Culture,” “Zombies in Pop Culture.” Most recently I taught a Cardinal Foundations Seminar called “Vampires in Church: Conversations about Pop Culture” about the Netflix limited series Midnight Mass.
My research has focused on the history of gender, especially prescriptive and normative discourse, and I have authored two monographs in this field: Manly Meals and Mom’s Home Cooking: Cookbooks and Gender in Modern America (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003) and Housework and Housewives in Modern American Advertising: Married to the Mop (Palgrave-MacMillan, 2011). I am also a scholar of teaching and learning, and my book Geeky Pedagogy: A Guide for Intellectuals, Introverts, and Nerds Who Want to be Effective Teachers was published in 2019 by West Virginia University Press in their Teaching and Learning in Higher Education series. In 2022, I edited a collection titled Picture a Professor: Interrupting Biases about Faculty and Increasing Student Learning in the same WVUP series. My current book project, under contract with WVUP, is about what to do when things go wrong in the college classroom. I’ve also published numerous book chapters and articles in anthologies and scholarly journals, including Advertising & Society Review, Journal of American History, The History Teacher, Journal of Popular Culture, Journal of Women’s History, Studies in Popular Culture, Teaching History, and Transformations: The Journal of Inclusive Scholarship and Pedagogy.
My most important task as a college instructor is to create a classroom environment where students can learn to take their own ideas seriously. I respect students’ ability to create knowledge and to effectively bring their own experiences and questions to bear on the study of history. I love my work as a teacher and a scholar, and I hope to impart to all my students, no matter what their future career or professional goals, a sense of how truly rewarding and beneficial academic study and intellectual growth can be.
I currently serve as the full-time director of the SUNY Plattsburgh Center for Teaching Excellence and I regularly give presentations and workshops on teaching. As an advocate for teaching and learning that celebrates infinite diversity in infinite combinations, my mission as an educational developer is to help faculty nerd out about teaching and to use their big smart brains for increasing pedagogical self-efficacy.