Carnegie Mellon University

Kathy Newman

Kathy M. Newman

Associate Professor, English

  • Baker Hall 145N
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213


Newman's primary interest is in the relationship between mass culture and the masses—the dialectical relationship between our institutions of television, film, radio, the internet and our social/political formations. Her first book on these questions, Radio-Active: Advertising and Activism 1935-1947, was published by University of California Press in 2004. She is also a regular blogger for Working Class Perspectives. Her larger body of work engages critical theory, historical materialism, literature, visual art, and music. She has published articles on Civil War medical photographs, the image of the graduate student in popular culture, black radio stations in the South in the 1950s, and the challenges of being a junior professor ("Nice Work if We Can Keep It"). She is currently finishing a book that combines cultural analysis with labor history, How the Fifties Worked: Mass Culture and the Decade the Unions Made. During the 2017-2018 school year she is working with the Humanities Center at CMU to curate a year of lectures, performances and art that engage with capitalism as an economic and social system as we approach the 200th birthday of Karl Marx (May 2018). When she is not professing she is a wife, a mother, a political activist and a political artist!


Newman's research focuses on the history of technology, consumer behavior, and cultural texts that relate to politics and public policy—including energy policy.