Buzzfeed culture writer Anne Helen Petersen to deliver April 26 convocation

April 19, 2019

Popular journalist Anne Helen Petersen, a senior culture writer for Buzzfeed News, will deliver Carleton College’s weekly convocation address on Friday, April 26, from 10:50-11:50 a.m. in the Skinner Memorial Chapel. Her presentation—“What Do You Do with a PhD in Celebrity Gossip?”—explores the celebrity gossip industry and discusses how celebrity images can reflect important aspects of American culture.

Based in Missoula, Montana, and a writer at Buzzfeed since 2014, Petersen’s work centers around culture, celebrity, feminism and the Mountain West. She is also the author of two books, which take an academic approach to gossip and celebrity culture and are rooted in cultural, political and gender history. Her first book, 2014’s “Scandals of Classic Hollywood: Sex, Deviance, and Drama from the Golden Age of American Cinema,” details the rise of celebrity culture in the 1920s and was featured in The Boston Globe, TIME magazine, National Public Radio’s Pop Culture Hour, and The L.A. Times. Her second book, “Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud,” explores how we associate female celebrities with controversy and “unruliness” and was named one of NPR’s Best Books of 2017.

Prior to her work with Buzzfeed, Petersen was a visiting assistant professor at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, where she taught classes in television, stardom, feminist media studies and theory. She was also a columnist at The Hairpin, a general-interest culture and current events website aimed at women.

Petersen received her PhD in media studies from the University of Texas-Austin, where she wrote her dissertation on the industrial history of celebrity gossip. She received her MA from the University of Oregon in English and film studies and her BA from Whitman College in rhetoric and film studies.

This event is sponsored by Carleton College Convocations. For more information, including disability accommodations, call (507) 222-4308. The Skinner Memorial Chapel is located at First and College Streets in Northfield.