Heather Hendershot is a professor of film and media at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She studies conservative media and political movements, film and television genres, and American film history. Hendershot is particularly interested in the complicated relationship between “extremist” and “mainstream” conservatism and in how that relationship is negotiated by conservative media.
At Radcliffe, Hendershot is examining how William F. Buckley Jr.’s Firing Line (1966–1999) staked a new claim for both “respectable” conservative broadcasting and “respectable” right-wing conservatism, at a time when conservative broadcasting was generally seen as extremist.
Hendershot is the editor of Nickelodeon Nation: The History, Politics, and Economics of America’s Only TV Channel for Kids (New York University Press, 2004) and the author of Saturday Morning Censors: Television Regulation before the V-chip (Duke University Press, 1998), Shaking the World for Jesus: Media and Conservative Evangelical Culture (University of Chicago Press, 2004), and What's Fair on the Air? Cold War Right-Wing Broadcasting and the Public Interest (University of Chicago Press, 2011). For five years, she was the editor of Cinema Journal, the official publication of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies. She has held fellowships at New York University, Princeton University, and Vassar College, and she has also been a Guggenheim Fellow. Hendershot earned her PhD from the University of Rochester.