College of Communication > Faculty & Staff > Faculty A-Z > Carolyn Bronstein

Carolyn Bronstein

Carolyn Bronstein is an award-winning teacher and scholar who teaches in our Media Studies and Public Relations and Advertising programs. She holds affiliate appointments in the Department of History and the American Studies program at DePaul. Bronstein teaches courses on the history of mass communication, biography, youth media, social and cultural effects of media and technology, and media representation of feminist campaigns and social movements.

Bronstein is a feminist media scholar with research interests in gender and sexuality studies, the histories of 20th and 21st century American sexual representation, women's movement history, media and new technologies, and the structural conditions affecting women's participation in cultural and creative industries. Her academic work is shaped by interdisciplinary training, drawing from communication theory, media history and gender and sexuality studies.

Much of Bronstein's work contributes to debates about the role of pornography in American society since the 1970s and fluctuating views of sexuality and sexual communication as potential sites of empowerment as well as vulnerability. She is the author of Battling Pornography: The Feminist Anti-Pornography Movement, 1976-1986​ (Cambridge University Press, 2011), winner of the 2012 Emily Toth Award for Best Single Work in Women's Studies from the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association. She is coeditor of Porno Chic and the Sex Wars: American Sexual Representation in the 1970s (U Massachusetts Press, 2016), which expands knowledge of the historical production and consumption of pornography beyond the mainstream heterosexual male audience. Her current work examines threats to online sexual speech from federal law and the content moderation policies of technology and information companies, and she is writing a biography of Bob Guccione, Penthouse magazine and the General Media empire that focuses on its contributions to contemporary American sexual culture and rhetoric. In addition to her academic writing, she contributes commentary on American sexual culture to journalism outlets such as The Atlantic and the Washington Post.

Bronstein serves on the editorial boards of Journalism and Communication Monographs and Advertising and Society Quarterly. She is Series Editor for the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) Scholarsourcing book series with publisher Peter Lang (2018-present). At DePaul, she codirects the OpEd Project, a national thought leadership and journalism initiative that trains underrepresented faculty to share their research to inform and influence public conversation and policy.

Before receiving her doctorate, Bronstein earned a B.A. in Communication (1989) and an M.A. in Journalism (1990) from Stanford University. In 2022, she received the Harold L. Nelson Award from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for distinguished contribution to journalism and mass communication education. She received the 2017 Donna Allen Award for Feminist Advocacy from the Commission on the Status of Women of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

Area(s) of specialization and interest: American women's media history, feminism and pornography, sexual representation, advertising and gender representation, and feminism and news.​

Selected Writing

"Hugh Hefner's Safe Sex"(The Washington Post)
"Why the New Movie About 'Deep Throat' Could Be Important"(The Atlantic)
"The Origins of Anti-Pornography Feminism" (This Side of the Pond)
"Feminists Against Pornography" (Berfrois)
"Battling Pornography" (DePaul Distinctions)


Battling Pornography Book Reviews