Skip to main content

Karen Sternheimer, Ph.D.

Sociologist, Author, Commentator
Home  Books  In the News  Selected articles  Contact    

Karen Sternheimer is the author of several books examining the importance of popular culture in society. Connecting Social Problems and Popular Culture: Why Media is Not the Answer  (Westview Press, 2013), now in its second edition, explores how and why popular culture is often scapegoated for American social problems.

Celebrity Culture and the American Dream: Stardom and Social Mobility

(Routledge, 2011) examines how celebrity culture reflects American opportunities and changing views of the American Dream. Her celebrity culture blog offers a sociological viewpoint of contemporary celebrity.

She is also the author of Kids These Days: Facts and Fictions About Today’s Youth (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006), It’s Not the Media: The Truth About Pop Culture’s Influence on Children  (Westview Press, 2003), and is the editor and lead writer for the Everyday Sociology blog. She also contributes to The Huffington Post.

Dr. Sternheimer currently teaches in the sociology department at the University of Southern California, where she is also a distinguished fellow at the USC Center for Excellence in Teaching. Her research has focused on issues related to popular culture and youth, particularly fears relating to both. She is currently researching moral panics about popular culture throughout American history.

Her commentary has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Newsday, the San Jose Mercury News, the San Diego Union-Tribune and other newspapers around the country. In addition, she has provided commentary for CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, The History Channel, 20/20, The O’Reilly Factor, and many local news broadcasts, and has been a guest on numerous radio shows nationally and internationally, including NPR’s Marketplace, Bloomberg radio and Voice of America. Sternheimer has been interviewed for dozens of magazines and newspapers, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Variety, Child, and Ladies’ Home Journal, as well as for publications in China, Japan, and South America.

Professor Sternheimer holds a doctorate in sociology from the University of Southern California. She also earned a master’s degree in psychology from Pepperdine University and a bachelor of fine arts degree in drama from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in Los Angeles.

From Reason TV: Moral Panics and Video Games