Roshanna P. Sylvester is Associate Professor of Critical Media Practices and Digital Humanities. Her appointment is split between the Department of Critical Media Practices (College of Media, Communication, and Information) and the Herbst Program for Engineering, Ethics and Society (College of Engineering and Applied Science). Originally trained in Russian history (PhD Yale University), Sylvester specializes in the histories of gender, technology and culture and the history of childhood in the early space age.
Her first book, Tales of Old Odessa: Crime and Civility in a City of Thieves, explored identity creation and expression in the pre-revolutionary city through analysis of crime reporting in the popular press. Sylvester’s current project, A Sky Full of Stars: Girls and Space-Age Cultures in Cold War America and the Soviet Union focuses on letters from Soviet and American young people to the pioneering spacefarers Yuri Gagarin, John Glenn, and Valentina Tereshkova. External funding for the project has been provided by the Spencer Foundation, the American Philosophical Society and the Kennan Institute.