Susan Murray is a historian of 20th century media who studies the ways that technologies and mediums were imagined, packaged, and sold to consumers and industry. Her research has been supported by fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities (2015-16), American Council of Learned Societies (2013-14), the NYU Center for the Humanities (2013-14), and the American Association of University Women (2004-5). She is the author of Bright Signals: A History of Color Television (Duke University Press, 2018), which was awarded the 2019 Katherine Singer Kovacs Book Award by the Society for Cinema and Media Studies and the 2019 Michael Nelson Book Prize by the International Association for Media and History. Her work has appeared in journals such as Public Culture, Screen, The Journal of Visual Culture and Technology and Culture as well as popular outlets such as The Atlantic and Newsweek. She is currently researching her next book project: a history of the development and use of closed-circuit television in a range of contexts including medicine, education, manufacturing, policing, business, and the military.
- Closed Circuits, Distant Bodies: A History of the Operational, Instructional, and Surveillance Strategies of CCTV (working title), in progress.
- Bright Signals: A History of Color Television, Duke University Press, 2018.
- Reality TV: Remaking Television Culture, co-edited with Laurie Ouellette, NYU Press, 2004 & 2009.
- Hitch Your Antenna to the Stars: Early Television and Broadcast Stardom, Routledge, 2006.
Listen to my interview with Steven Johnson about TV technology on an episode of American Innovations.
Recent articles and chapters
- “’All to See Where Few Can Be:’ Color Television as Electronic Surgical Amphitheater in Post-War Medical Education,” Technology and Culture, vol. 61, no.3, July 2020.
- “Medical School of the World: Education and Public Service through Postwar Medical Television,” Television History, the Peabody Archives, and Cultural Memory, ed. Jeffrey Jones and Ethan Thompson (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press) 2019.
- “The Politics of Reality TV,” Media and Society, 6th edition, eds. David Hesmondhaugh and James Curran (London: Bloomsbury) 2019.
- "Reviving the Technical in Television Histories," Companion to the History of American Broadcasting (New York: Blackwell) 2018.
- "Never Twice the Same Color: Standardizing, Calibrating and Harmonizing NTSC Color in the early 1950s," Screen, vol. 56, issue 4, Winter 2015.
- "Reality Celebrity: Branded Affect and the Emotion Economy," co-authored with Laura Grindstaff, Public Culture, vol. 27, issue 1: Winter 2015: 109-136.