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.  Ten years on from the book's publication, I recently reflected on Hedda Hopper in the wake of the 45th president of the United States.

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.  Now out from NYU Press is "Let Us Vote": Youth Voting Rights and the 26th Amendment.  2021 marked 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.  I recently presented an overview lecture on my book, with a focus on the state of Ohio, and published on the youth franchise movement as a "sixties movement."  This 2018 opinion piece links this research project to current youth activism, particularly to prevent school shootings, in the USA.  This 2020 opinion piece discusses the ongoing suppression of youth voting rights and how the 26th Amendment can be used to counter it.  This 2021 opinion piece marks Congress passing the amendment fifty years ago.  Here's an excerpt and an early review.  I also just published my recommendations on the 5 best books on the history of voting rights 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.

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.

Based on my latest book "Let Us Vote!" and marking the 50th anniversary of the 26th Amendment in 2021, here's a post on resources and ideas for teaching this topic and my lesson plan using primary sources from the New York Times. I've also put together an Instructor's Guide for teaching my book, and Achieving the 26th Amendment: A History with Primary Sources, co-edited with Rebecca de Schweinitz, is forthcoming from Routledge.

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 737 Rethinking History

Postgraduate supervision

PhD students

Tim Lawler, 'The Relationship between Human Rights and the US Presidency' (co-supervised with Dr. Maria Armoudian), in progress.

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.

Helen Morten, 'Dietary Advice, Health and Wellness in Late 20th Century New Zealand' (co-supervised with Professor Linda Bryder), in progress.

Josephine Olson, 'Postfeminism and Health: Body Management in 1970s Vogue (co-supervised with Professor Bernadette Luciano), in progress.

Jordan Scordino, 'Fighting, Surviving, and Understanding: Developing Responses to HIV/AIDS in New Zealand, 1983-1993' (co-supervised with Professor Linda Bryder), in progress.

Tom Wilkinson, 'A Reckless Leap Into the Blind Future? American Responses to the Space Race, 1957- 1967' (co-supervised with Dr. Joseph Zizek), in progress.

Nathan Hōne Williams, 'Growing Up Ngāti Kahu' (co-supervised with Associate Professor Aroha Harris), in progress.

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

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

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

MA and BA Honours students

Lynne Barkle, 'From Suffrage to Feminism: The Influence and Impact of the United States of America’s First Ladies (1929-1969) through the Lens of Biography,' in progress.

Casey Da Silva, 'Jeanne Córdova: A Lesbian Activist in the 1970s,' in progress.

Alex King, 'Three Texts of Twelve Years a Slave,' in progress.

Lucy Waddington, 'American Media Portrayals of the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp,' in progress.

Rebecca Wadsworth, ‘"Behind Every Great Man": Celebrity, Gender, and the Fight for Space,' in progress.

Hanna Lu, 'The John Birch Society: Conspiracy and Conservatism in the post-World War II United States,' 1958-75,' completed in 2021.

Lachlan Mitchell, 'Goodbye, Mr. Griffith: Student Activism Rejecting Birth of a Nation’s Racist Legacies,' completed in 2021.

Tom Stephenson, '"Fire me yr cosmic data": Little Magazines of the Beat Generation,' completed in 2021.

Tom Wilkinson, '"Who wants to go to the moon anyway?" : American Responses to Soviet Success in the early Space Race, 1957 – 1963,' completed in 2021.

James Brown, 'Reign and History' (co-supervised with Associate Professor Lindsay Diggelmann), completed in 2020.

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

Lucy Thorogood-Francks, 'Auckland History Teachers’ Association and New Zealand History, 1990-2019,' completed in 2020.

Ross Wardrop, 'The White House Under Siege: Bill Clinton and Surviving Scandal,' completed in 2020.

Maria Wheeler-Hughes, 'Charles “Pretty Boy” Floyd: Man, Myth, and Memory,' completed in 2020.

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

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

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



I serve as the adviser for the BA (Honours), Postgraduate Diploma (Arts), and 180-point MA programmes in History.

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

Recent protests of systemic police violence in the USA spurred me to offer a historical perspective in this interview on Radio New Zealand and op-ed piece for Newsroom.

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 currrently serve as ANZASA president. 

I'm an active member in the UoA Branch of the Tertiary Education Union, former academic co-president, secretary, and member of the Branch Committee.  Join us!

As a dual-citizen of Aotearoa and the United States, I'm a member of both the New Zealand Labour Party and Democratics Abroad New Zealand.

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Frost, J. (2016). Jonathan Stubbs, Historical film: A critical introduction [Book review]. Film and History, 46 (1), 65-66.
  • 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, 1 (2), 139-165.
  • 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


Contact details

Office hours

Mondays 1-3 and by appointment, including via Zoom


Primary office location

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

Web links