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 http://channel.walkerart.org/detail.wac?id=3970
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
- National Communication Association (NCA)
- International Communication Association (ICA)
- Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC)