Books and Popular Articles


Foss, K. (September 2020). Constructing the Outbreak: Epidemics in Media and Collective Memory. University of Massachusetts Press.

Foss, K. [Editor]. (September 2020). The Graduate Student Guidebook: From Orientation to Tenure-Track. Rowman & Littlefield.

Foss, K. [Editor]. (2019). Beyond Princess Culture: Gender and Children’s Marketing. Peter Lang Publishing.

Foss, K. [Editor]. (2018). Demystifying the Big House: Exploring Prison Experience and Media Representations. Southern Illinois Press University.

Breastfeeding and the Media: Exploring Conflicting Discourses That Threaten Public Health  Palgrave Macmillan. 2017

This book centers on the role of media in shaping public perceptions of breastfeeding. Drawing from magazines, doctors’ office materials, parenting books, television, websites, and other media outlets, Katherine A. Foss explores how historical and contemporary media often undermine breastfeeding efforts with formula marketing and narrow portrayals of nursing women and their experiences. Foss argues that the media’s messages play an integral role in setting the standard of public knowledge and attitudes toward breastfeeding. Tracing shifting public perceptions of breastfeeding and their corresponding media constructions from the development of commercial formula through contemporary times—such as attributions of blame that have negatively impacted public health approaches to breastfeeding—the book confronts the misperception that breastfeeding, and the failure to breastfeed, rests solely on the responsibility of an individual mother.

Television and Health Responsibility in the Age of Individualism.  Lexington Books. 2014.

Book cover

American society centers on individualism, celebrating personal choice even at the expense of collective progress. As part of this emphasis on agency, Americans value freedom for health decisions, and individual health professionals and consumers are held responsible for the nation’s health, often at the expense of improving the overall healthcare system. Such individualistic discourse, disseminated and reinforced through American media, has created resistance and hostility toward health policy initiatives such as the Affordable Care Act and other legislation aimed to improve American healthcare. Television and Health Responsibility in an Age of Individualism examines the relationship between entertainment and health responsibility in the United States. Through the analysis of contemporary television medical dramas, Foss explores how these media texts help shape and perpetuate ideologies that have and continue to encourage resistance to healthcare reform that shifts responsibility away from individuals to government and other institutions.  

Popular Articles

Pandemic Humor is Timeless,”, 28 July 2020.

##TyphoidMary – now a hashtag – was a maligned immigrant who got a bum rap,”  The Conversation, 24 April 2020.

Why I bought a boat: Juggling gender roles in the pandemic,” Southern Voices, 7 April 2020.

How Epidemics of the Past Changed the Way Americans Lived,” Smithsonian Magazine, 1 April 2020.

“Let’s Stick to the Facts on Coronavirus and Worry More About the Flu,” The Tennessean, 5 February 2020.

“Your Story: KIAI Into 40!,” Nashville Parent Magazine, January.

Foss, K. (2018, July 30). Breast-feeding is under warranted cultural pressure. Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Foss, K. (2018, July 25). US wrong to oppose breastfeeding public health resolution. The Tennessean.