Charles Ponce de Leon

Charles L. Ponce de Leon, Ph.D.

Dr. Ponce de Leon

Professor of History and American Studies
BA, UC Santa Barbara
Ph.D., Rutgers University (United States History)
Contact Information
California State University, Long Beach
1250 Bellflower Blvd., MS 1601
Long Beach, CA 90840-1601

Bio and Research Interests

Born and raised in Palo Alto, California, I received my BA from UC Santa Barbara, where I was a college journalist and worked in community radio. I went to graduate school at Rutgers University and received a Ph.D. in United States History. I have taught at Princeton University and Purchase College, a branch of the State University of New York. In 2008, I moved to CSULB, where I am now Professor of History and American Studies.

I am a specialist in U.S. cultural and intellectual history. My fields of expertise include mass media and the commercial culture industries, American intellectual life, and modern U.S. political culture. I have written books on the origins of celebrity in the U.S. and Elvis Presley and articles and review-essays on a variety of subjects. My most recent book, a history of television news in the US, was published in 2015. I am currently working on a history of Rolling Stone magazine, emphasizing its role as a forum for cultural and political debate and its evolution as a species of “hip capitalism.”


Ph.D. Rutgers University
B.A. University of California, Santa Barbara

Selected Publications

That’s the Way It Is: A History of Television News in America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015.

Fortunate Son: The Life of Elvis Presley. New York: Hill and Wang, 2006.

Self-Exposure: Human-Interest Journalism and the Emergence of Celebrity in America, 1890-1940. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001.

“Can Cultural History Ever Be Cool?,” Reviews in American History 46 (June 2018): 307-313.

“How Pivotal Were the Seventies?,” Reviews in American History 40 (March 2012): 128-138.

“Press and Politics,” in The Princeton Encyclopedia of American Political History. Michael Kazin, ed. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009.


  • History 173: Recent U.S. History
  • History 379: The Twenties, Depression, and World War Two
  • History 380A: The United State in the Liberal Era, 1945-1968
  • History 380B: The United States Since 1968
  • History 477B: American Cultural History Since 1877
  • History 499: Senior Seminar in United States History