Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, department of English, assistant professor.
(Editor and compiler, with David Farah) Series Books and the Media or This Isn't All! An Annotated Bibliography of Secondary Sources, SynSine Press (Rheem Valley, CA), 1996.
American Sweethearts: Teenage Girls in Twentieth-Century Popular Culture, Indiana University Press (Bloomington, IN), 2006.
Contributor to books, including Disco Divas: Women and Popular Culture in the 1970s, edited by Sherrie Inness. Contributor to periodicals, including Feminist Media Studies, Comitatus, and Dime Novel Round-Up.
Ilana Nash serves as an assistant professor in the department of English at Western Michigan University, where her primary areas of interest include American literature, youth literature, gender, popular culture, and multicultural literature. She is the author of American Sweethearts: Teenage Girls in Twentieth-Century Popular Culture, a volume that addresses the various images of teenage girls as depicted in popular media in the twentieth century, focusing in particular on who was responsible for cultivating those images and how their motivations guided the end results. Nash states that the modern representations of girls and young women, often negative and exploitative, have their roots in these earlier images. The book looks primarily at the years between 1930 and 1965 and includes analyses of such iconic figures as Nancy Drew, Gidget, Patty Duke (in her fictional, television persona), and Junior Miss, characters that Nash considers to be part of a narrative cycle where the character appeared in a number of forms of media. Nash relates the various characters to the social and cultural events and outlook of their times, and where possible chronicles how the characters changed along with public perceptions and morals and from medium to medium. Margaret Foley, in a review for the Mothers Movement Web site, remarked: "A fascinating aspect of this approach is the way it allows one to see how different themes are incorporated or taken out and what type of political or cultural message is transmitted."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
California Bookwatch, May, 2006, review of American Sweethearts: Teenage Girls in Twentieth-Century Popular Culture.
Mothers Movement Web site,http://www.mothersmovement.org/ (April, 2006), Margaret Foley, review of American Sweethearts.
Online NewsHour,http://www.pbs.org/newshour/ (May 29, 2002), "In Memoriam: Mildred Benson," interview with author.
Western Michigan University Web site,http://www.wmich.edu/ (April 1, 2007), faculty biography.