Her Stories

Daytime Soap Opera and US Television History

Her Stories

Console-ing Passions: Television and Cultural Power

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Book Pages: 400 Illustrations: 62 illustrations Published: March 2020

Author: Elana Levine

American Studies, Gender and Sexuality > Feminism and Women’s Studies, Media Studies > TV

Since the debut of These Are My Children in 1949, the daytime television soap opera has been foundational to the history of the medium as an economic, creative, technological, social, and cultural institution. In Her Stories, Elana Levine draws on archival research and her experience as a long-time soap fan to provide an in-depth history of the daytime television soap opera as a uniquely gendered cultural form and a central force in the economic and social influence of network television. Closely observing the production, promotion, reception, and narrative strategies of the soaps, Levine examines two intersecting developments: the role soap operas have played in shaping cultural understandings of gender; and the rise and fall of broadcast network television as a culture industry. In so doing, she foregrounds how soap operas have revealed changing conceptions of gender and femininity as imagined by and reflected on the television screen.


Her Stories is the definitive account of a sphere of televisual expression long overlooked and too often maligned, told clearly and compellingly by an accomplished historian and committed viewer whose research has left few stones unturned. A major contribution to our understanding of American television and its intersection with women's lives, traced across more than seven decades.” — Michele Hilmes, Professor Emerita of Media and Cultural Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison


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Elana Levine is Professor of Media, Cinema and Digital Studies in the Department of English at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. She is the author of Wallowing in Sex: The New Sexual Culture of 1970s American Television, also published by Duke University Press; editor of Cupcakes, Pinterest, and Ladyporn: Feminized Popular Culture in the Early Twenty-first Century; and coauthor of Legitimating Television: Media Convergence and Cultural Status.

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Table of Contents Forthcoming
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Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0801-9 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0766-1
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