Suzanne Leonard

Professor and Program Director for Gender and Cultural Studies

Suzanne Leonard is Professor of Literature and Writing, Director of the Graduate Program in Gender and Cultural Studies, and co-coordinator of the university’s interdisciplinary minor in Cinema and Media Studies. She is also co-chair of the board that oversees the Graduate Consortium in Gender, Culture, Women, and Sexuality.

Leonard is the author of Wife, Inc.: The Business of Marriage in the Twenty-First Century (2018); Fatal Attraction (2009); and co-editor of Fifty Hollywood Directors (2014) and Imagining We in the Age of I: Romance and Social Bonding in Contemporary Culture (2021). The latter book was awarded awarded MeCCSA’s (Media, Communication, and Cultural Studies Association) Outstanding Achievement Award for the best edited collection of 2021.

Leonard regularly instructs undergraduate and graduate classes on American film and television studies, feminist media studies, women's literature, gender and cultural theory, literary interpretation, and 20th and 21st century American literature.

Professor Leonard is most interested in the intersections between feminism and popular culture, and her published work has examined topics including: public feminisms, postfeminism and reality television, white feminism, The Real Housewives franchise, chic noirs, the treatment of the adultery plot in feminist novels; Lily Tomlin; political spouses and The Good Wife; celebrity culture; and working women in American film and television.

Professor Leonard has been featured in The Boston Globe, The New York Times, The Guardian, USA Today, and a variety of media outlets, including The Los Angeles Review of Books, NPR and the podcast Public Intellectual with Jessa Crispin.
 

Education

  • Ph.D., English, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • B.A., Dartmouth College

Courses

  • Gender and Power in Literature
  • The Art of Film
  • Approaches to Literature
  • The Invented Self in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century U.S. Fiction
  • Introduction to Literary Theory
  • Introduction to Film and Media Theory
  • Studies in Film Genre (Melodrama)
  • Feminist Media Studies
  • Feminism and Literature
  • Introduction to Gender and Cultural Studies

Research/Special Projects

Books

Wife, Inc.: The Business of Marriage in the Twenty-First Century
https://nyupress.org/9781479874507/wife-inc/

Suzanne Leonard’s book project, Wife, Inc., examines 21st century wives in female-centered media culture. It includes chapters on online dating, reality wedding shows, housewives (real and fictional), and wronged political wives.

Imagining We in the Age of I: Romance and Social Bonding in Contemporary Culture
https://www.routledge.com/Imagining-We-in-the-Age-of-I-Romance-and-Social-Bonding-in/Harrod-Leonard-Negra/p/book/9780367483272

This recently edited collection examines how global shifts in gender and sexuality, work and mobility patterns and especially technology have destabilized conceptions of intimacy and coupledom. The book examines contemporary formulations of romance in a variety of cultural contexts and with attention to the impact of COVID-19. 

Publications/Presentations

Select Recent Publications

"Fealty, Fortune and the Wives of #MeToo," LA Review of Books, January 25, 2019.
https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/fealty-fortune-and-the-wives-of-metoo/

"Weddings, Anti-Heroines, and Postfeminist Cynicism." The Wedding Spectacle Across Contemporary Media and Culture: Something Old, Something New. London: Routledge, 2019. 53-65.

"What Roseanne Barr Meant to Media Studies." Television & New Media, Special 20th Anniversary Edition 21.6 (Fall 2020): 596–601.

"The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills: Franchising Femininity." How to Watch Television. Second Edition. New York: New York University Press, 2020. 278-286.

"What are White Feelings?" Anti-Feminisms in Media Culture. Eds Diane Negra and Michele White. London: Routledge, 2022.

Suzanne Leonard in the News

Sex and the City Cast

Professor Suzanne Leonard Discusses “Sex and the City’s” Toxic Masculinity in Los Angeles Times

“Audiences [today] are much more aware of the dangers of toxic masculinity, and that doesn't read as sexy anymore. I think you have more sophisticated feminist viewers,” says Leonard.


Headshot of Suzanne Leonard

Why the World Needs Simmons: Insights on Contemporary Feminism from Professor Suzanne Leonard

Suzanne Leonard , Professor of Literature and Writing, and the director of the MA in Gender and Cultural Studies, teaches courses on Feminist Media Studies, Women's and Gender Studies, and American Literature at Simmons. The co-editor of Imagining We in...


Shout-outs from Students and Alums

Rayna Danis, student in the gender and cultural studies and public policy masters program

Rayna Danis ’22MA, ’22MPP Makes an Impact with the Joint Master's in Gender and Cultural Studies and Public Policy

Rayna Danis '22MA, '22MPP never expected to get her masters, but then she found her passion for affecting inclusive policy change. We spoke with Rayna about the joint master's program and how it's helping her on this journey.


Headshot of Giavanna Worthy

Giavanna Worthy '20MA: Simmons Helped Me Steer My Interests Into Clear, Feasible Goals

When Giavanna Worthy entered the gender and cultural studies masters program, she wanted to expand on her interests. Now, not only is she an HIV Prevention Instructor with the YWCA, but she also played a key role in diversifying the hit CBS series, "Survivor."


Headshot of Lola Getz

Lola Getz '21 Seeks to Carry on Gwen Ifill's Legacy

Congratulations to Lola Getz '21, recipient of the Ifill Scholarship!