Profile picture of Gretchen Soderlund

Gretchen Soderlund

Associate Professor of Media History
Director, Media Studies Program
Phone: 541-346-8922
Office: 309A Allen Hall
City: Eugene


Gretchen Soderlund earned her PhD in Communications Research from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she specialized in journalism history. She is an expert on the history of media coverage of sex trafficking. Soderlund's research examines the history of scandal in investigative reporting, media sensationalism, moral reform movements and the press, and the rise of journalistic objectivity. Recently she has written about conspiracy narratives in television and American political culture. She is the author of Sex Trafficking, Scandal, and the Transformation of Journalism, 1885-1917 (University of Chicago Press, 2013). Her articles have appeared in such journals as American QuarterlyFeminist Formations, The Communication ReviewHumanity, and Critical Studies in Media Communication. 

At the undergraduate level, Soderlund regularly teaches Gender, Media, and Diversity, Media History, and History of Investigative Reporting. Her graduate seminars include Historical Methods and Histories of the Press and Sexuality. 

Soderlund held a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Chicago and served for a year as Assistant Director of the University of Chicago’s Center for the Study of Communication and Society. She is currently Area Director of the Media Studies Program. 


  • PhD, Institute of Communications Research, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • BA, English, Virginia Commonwealth University



"Theorizing Sensationalism." Editor, special issue of Feminist Media Histories. 8:4 (Fall 2022), with co-editor Amanda Frisken. 

"Scandal and Sex Trafficking." in The Routledge Companion to Scandal. Routledge, 2019. 361-370.

"Futures of Journalisms Past (or Pasts of Journalism's Future)." Boundary 2.0 (August 2018).

“The Conspiratorial Mode in American Television: Politics, Public Relations, and Journalism in House of Cards and Scandal.” American Quarterly 69:4 (December 2017). 833-856, with co-author Patrick Jones.

"The Progressive Movement." In The International Encyclopedia of Political Communication. Heboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, 2016. 

Sex Trafficking, Scandal, and the Transformation of Journalism: 1885-1917. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013.

"Charting, Tracking, and Mapping: New Technologies, Labor, and Surveillance." Editor, special issue of Social Semiotics. 23:2 (May 2013).

“Approaches to Gender and Sexuality in Media History.” In Media History and the Foundations of Media Studies, John Nerone (Ed.), Wiley-Blackwell, 2012.

"The Rhetoric of Revelation: Sex Trafficking and the Journalistic Exposé." Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development. 2.2 (Summer 2011): 193-211.

"Journalist or Panderer? Framing Underage Webcam Sites." Sexuality Research and Social Policy Studies 5:4 (2008). 62-72.

"Communications Scholarship as Ritual: James Carey's Cultural Model of Communication." In Thinking With James Carey: Essays on Communication, Transportation, History. New York: Peter Lang, 2006. 100-117. 

"Rethinking a Curricular Icon: The Institutional and Ideological Foundations of Walter Lippmann. The Communication Review 8:3 (July/September 2005). 307-327.

“Running from the Rescuers: New U.S. Crusades Against Global Sex Trafficking and the Rhetoric of Abolition.” Feminist Formations 17:3 (Fall 2005). 64-87.

"Threat or Opportunity: Sexuality, Gender, and the Ebb and Flow of Traffic as Discourse." Canadian Woman Studies/ les cahiers de la femme. 22:3/4 (Spring/Summer 2003). 6-26. (Penelope Saunders, co-author).

"Covering Urban Vice: 'White Slavery,' The New York Times, and the Construction of Journalistic Knowledge." Critical Studies in Media Communication 19:4 (December 2002). 438-460.



  • J201: Media and Society
  • J320: Gender, Media, and Diversity
  • J387: Media History
  • J412: History of Investigative Journalism
  • J413: Media Studies Capstone Seminar
  • J610: Histories of the Press and Sensationalism
  • J643: Advanced Doctoral Seminar
  • J660: HIstorical Methods