Heather Hendershot studies conservative media and political movements, film and television genres, and American film history. She has held fellowships at Vassar College, New York University, and Princeton University, and she has also been a Guggenheim fellow.
Hendershot is particularly interested in the complicated relationship between “extremist” and “mainstream” conservatism and in how that relationship is negotiated by conservative media. Her courses emphasize the interplay between industrial, economic, and regulatory concerns and how those concerns affect what we see on the screen (big or little). Students are encouraged to consider the ways that TV and film writers, directors, and producers have attempted creativity and innovation while working within an industry that demands novelty but also often fears new approaches to character and narrative.
Hendershot is the editor of Nickelodeon Nation (2004) and the author of Saturday Morning Censors (1998), Shaking the World for Jesus (2004), and What's Fair on the Air? (2011). For five years she was the editor of Cinema Journal, the official publication of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies. During the 2014–2015 academic year, she was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University where she wrote Open to Debate: How William F. Buckley Put Liberal America on the Firing Line (2016). She is currently working on two research projects, one on Georgia Governor Lester Maddox and another on media coverage of the Chicago 1968 Democratic National Convention.