College of Communication > Faculty & Staff > Faculty A-Z > Kelly Kessler

Kelly Kessler

A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, Kessler's work has drawn on two main areas: the intersection of genre and gender — most specifically masculinity and the Hollywood musicals of the post-studio system era — and the mainstreaming of lesbianism in television and film. Current projects engage with areas such as the legitimization of lesbian identity through L-Word fandom, and the classing and racing of the military in fictional television.

Kessler has contributed to works such as The Encyclopedia of Television, The Encyclopedia of Masculinity, and In Media Res – A Media Commons Project. Her investigations of the intersection of queerness and television and film narrative can be found in Film Quarterly, Televising Queer Women: A Reader, and The New Queer Aesthetic on Television: Essays on Recent Programming. Her book, Destabilizing the Hollywood Musical: Music, Masculinity and Mayhem​, was released by Palgrave Macmillan in 2010.

Kessler is the winner of DePaul University’s Quality Matters Star Award (2011).

Select Publications


  • Destabilizing the Hollywood M​usical: Music, Masculinity, and Mayhem​ Palgrave-Macmillan (2010)

Book Chapters

  • “Temporarily Kissing Jessica Stein: Negotiating (and Negating) Lesbian Sexuality in Popular Film” Feminism at the Movies, Eds. Hilary Radner and Rebecca Stringer, Routledge (2011)
  • “Mommy’s Got a Galpal: The Victimized Lesbian Mother and the Made-For-TV-Movie” Televising Queer Women: A Reader, Ed. Rebecca Beirne, Palgrave (2007)
  • “Politics of the Sit-Com Formula: Friends, Mad About You, and the Sapphic Second Banana” The New Queer Aesthetic on Television: Essays on Recent Programming, Eds. James Keller and Leslie Stratnyer, McFarland (2005)​

Journal Articles

  • “Showtime Thinks, Therefore I Am: The Corporate Construction of ‘The Lesbian’ on’s The L Word Site” Television and New Media Vol. 14.1 (2013)
  • “They Should Suffer Like the Rest of Us: Queer Equality in Narrative Mediocrity” in “In Focus: Writing and Producing TV in the Post-Network Era” Special Topics Section Cinema Journal, Vol. 50.2 (Winter 2011)
  • “Bound Together: Lesbian Film That’s Family Fun for Everyone” Film Quarterly, Vol. 56.4 (Summer 2003)

Scholarly Website/Blog Articles

Media Apperances