My research interests focus on American cultural and intellectual history in the 19th and 20th Centuries. I also study the construction of racial identity and the politics of racial representation.
Since 2005, I have taught courses such as Cultural History in America from 1830-present, American History Since 1865, The Historian's Craft, and the History of American Music. I have published articles on race relations and popular culture during World War II in American Quarterly (2004) and the Journal of American History ( December 2002) , where I regularly review books. My first book, Black Culture and the New Deal: The Quest for Civil Rights in the Roosevelt Era (University of North Carolina Press, 2009) describes the employment of state-sponsored cultural programs as a form of racial policy during the 1930s and 1940s. Here, I focus on how radio, film, theatre, and other cultural arenas became central to the state’s institutional development, as officials recognized the growing need to publicly acknowledge African Americans.
My new project is a biography of singer, vaudevillian, and cabaret superstar Sophie Tucker. Best known for “My Yiddishe Mama” and “Some of These Days,” Tucker rose to celebrity in the 1910s and 1920s and continued to perform in venues across the U. S. and in Europe until her death in 1966. My interests in Tucker address my larger fascination with the relationship between the culture industry and the construction of racial and ethnic identities. Tucker serves as an ideal figure for understanding a period of incredible transformation in the American mass media, as well as the various ways in which ethnic groups—in this case American Jews—shaped their own religious/cultural practices to adapt to modern America. Tentatively titled Sophie Tucker and the transformation of Modern America, this project brings Tucker’s influence to the fore in the first five decades of the 20th Century, giving her serious scholarly treatment she has not yet received in a book.
Press link http://uncpress.unc.edu/browse/book detail?title_id=1633
C-SPAN2 Book Interviews of Dr. Sklaroff's new book, "Black Culture and the New Deal: The Quest of Civil Rights in the Roosevelt Era"
Professor Sklaroff's c.v. is located here.