Joli Jensen

Joli Jensen

Hazel Rogers Professor of CommunicationOliphant Hall 116
joli-jensen@utulsa.eduPersonal Page

Dr. Jensen’s research interests are in American cultural and social thought. Her first book, Redeeming Modernity: Contradictions in Media Criticism, (Sage 1990) analyzes how the media are blamed for the perceived ills of modern life. Her second book, Creating the Nashville Sound: Authenticity, Commercialization and Country Music (Vanderbilt 1998) explores how and why cultural genre change, in relation to concerns about culture and commerce. Is Art Good for Us? Beliefs about High Culture in American Life (Rowman & Littlefield 2002) questions our taken-for-granted assumptions about the transformational power of high culture. She argues that our faith in art as social medicine allows us to keep faith with the ideals of democracy while deploring popular culture. She draws on work by Tocqueville, Whitman, Dewey, and a variety of 20th century social critics to explore how the arts are good, even if they don’t do good.

She has also written a number of essays on media criticism, communication technologies, communication theories, the social history of the typewriter, and fans and fandom. A recent public lecture on Picasso’s fame is available at

Concern about widespread use of prescription medication for anxiety and depression has led to essays on undergraduates and mood medication (“Let’s Not Medicate Away Student Angst” Chronicle of Higher Education, June 15, 2003, B5) and on making wiser decisions about mood medications (“Emotional Choices,” Reason magazine, v. 35, no. 11, April 2004, p. 28-35). She has also written about religious identity (“On Being ‘Really Jewish’,” Being Jewish magazine, Passover 2007/5767). She is currently working on a collection of essays about aspects of authenticity.

Education and Degrees Earned

  • BA in Psychology and Zoology, the University of Nebraska (1975)
  • MS in Journalism, Institute of Communications Research at the University of Illinois (1977)
  • PhD, Institute of Communications Research at the University of Illinois (1985)

Previous Teaching Experience

  • University of Virginia, where she helped to develop a media studies program
  • University of Texas-Austin, where she represented American cultural studies perspectives in the department of Radio-TV-Film
  • Faculty of Communication at TU since 1991

Professional Affiliations

  • National Communication Association (NCA)
  • International Communication Association (ICA)
  • Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC)

Courses Taught at TU

  • Advocacy Journalism (COM 3163)
  • Mass Communication and Society (COM 2123)
  • Media and Popular Culture (COM 2893)

Awards & Recognition

  • 1984 National Endowment for the Humanities summer seminar grant: "American Television: form and function," UCLA
  • 1987; 1990 University Research Institute, Summer research grant
  • 1987-1988 F. J. Heyne Centennial Professorship in Communication Fellow
  • 1989 Teaching Excellence Award, College of Communication
  • 1989 Texas Excellence Teaching Award, Texas Ex-Students Association Foundation
  • 1993-1994 National Endowment for the Humanities University Fellowship: year-long research support for book on cultural democracy and the arts.
  • 1999 National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Research Fellowship: for revision of book manuscript on intellectuals and the arts.
  • 2002, Alumni Achievement Award: College of Arts and Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • 2005 Hazel Roger Endowed Professorship in Arts & Sciences, University of Tulsa.
  • University of Tulsa: Multicultural summer course grant (1998) Faculty Development summer research grant (1997); Women's Studies teaching seminar grant (1998); Women’s Studies summer research grant (1992)


  • Afterlife as AfterImage: posthumous reputation in popular music
    (Steve Jones, co-editor), Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., 2005.
  • Arts, Intellectuals and the Public: The Legacies and Limits of American Cultural Criticism, 1910-1950
    in American Cultural Studies, Catherine Warren and Mary Douglas Vavrus, editors, University of Illinois Press, 2002.
  • Fandom as Pathology: the consequences of characterization
    in Reader in Mass Communication Theory, Denis McQuail, editor, 2002 (reprint; originally published 1992).
  • Is Art Good For Us? Beliefs about High Culture in American Life
    Rowman & Littlefield, 2002.
  • Media In Society
    [under contract](with Richard Campbell and Douglas Gomery) upper division undergraduate textbook, Bedford/St. Martin’s Press.
  • Patsy Cline’s Crossovers: Celebrity, Reputation and Feminine Identity
    for A Boy Named Sue, edited by Kris McCusker and Diane Pecknold, University of Mississippi Press, 2005.
  • Popular Culture: Asking the Right Questions
    in Key Concepts in Critical and Cultural Studies, edited by Clifford Christians and Linda Steiner, University of Illinois Press (under contract).
  • "Posthumous Patsy Clines" and "Media, Meaning and Posthumous Reputation"
    in Afterlife as Afterimage: Posthumous Reputation in Popular Music, Joli Jensen and Steve Jones, editors, Lang Publications, Inc., 2005.
  • Should We Use Medication to Deal with the Angst of College and Young Adulthood?
    [reprint of “Let’s Not Medicate Away Student Angst”] in Taking Sides: Clashing Views in Lifestyle Development, Andrew M. Guest, editor, McGraw-Hill 2007.
  • Understanding Recalcitrant Audiences
    in Audiences and the Arts: Communication Perspectives, edited by Lois Foreman-Wernet and Brenda Derviin, Cresskill NJ: Hampton Press (in press).