Image of Prof. Ken Bindas wearing grey shirt

Kenneth Bindas

Professor and former chairperson (2008-16)
Office Location:
305 Bowman Hall
Contact Information


Being born and raised into a working-class family in Youngstown, Ohio, and witness to the steel era decline in the seventies and eighties encouraged me to study the negotiation of power between governments, business, and the people. Using culture and oral history as the lens to view the Depression era and the 1960s, my research and teaching has focused on how the people redefined themselves, their government, and society in this era of swirling change. 


Using the replication of text, images, and ideology, my most recent book, Modernity and the Great Depression: The Transformation of American Society (Kansas University Press, 2017) examines the acceptance and legitimation of modernism during the 1930s to suggest a secular reformation lay at the heart of the Depression era and had profound influence on the decades that followed.


My current research involves the intersection of Wonder and Fear during the Depression era and how these ideas came to define the modern American experience.


Depression era America; Music in American life;1969s; Oral history & Memory studies: Cultural history; Intellectual history.

Research Methods

qualitative and oral history


  • The New Deal & American Society, 1933-1941. Routledge Press, Seminar Studies in American History Series, anticipated release, Spring, 2022.
  • “Defining Modern Las Vegas: Helldorado and the West, 1934-1945,” Nevada: Historical Society Journal, (Fall, 2020).
  • “’Somebody is Really Up There!’: The 1969 Moon Landing as Historical Marker for an Era,” Journal of American Culture (Fall 2019).
  • “The Crossroads of Identity: Psychology’s (Re)Action to the Great Depression,” The Social Science Journal, (March, 2020).
  • “Great Lakes or Middle West: The 1936-1937 Great Lakes Exposition and Regional Identity,” Studies in Midwestern History, 3 (July, 2017), 25-43
  • Regional History as Cultural Identity, co-editor, Fabrizio Ricciardelli (Viella Press, 2017)
  • Modernity and the Great Depression: The Transformation of American Society (University Press of Kansas, 2017)
  • The Civilian Conservation Corp and the Construction of the Virginia Kendall Reserve, 1933 -1939. (Kent State University Press, 2013)
  • "Re-Remembering a Segregated Past: Race in American Memory," History & Memory 22 (Spring Summer, 2010), 113-134.
  • Remembering the Great Depression in the Rural South, University Press of Florida; First edition (May 27, 2007, paper, 2009)
  • Swing, That Modern Sound, University Press of Mississippi (September 2001, paper, 2003)
  • All of This Music Belongs to the Nation: The Summer’ Federal Music Project and American Society, 1935-1939, University of Tennessee Press (1995, Paper, 2002)
  • America's Musical Pulse: Popular Music in the Twentieth-Century Society, Praeger Paperback (September 30, 1992, paper 1993)


Oral History Association; American Historical Association; Organization of American Historians; Ohio History Association; American Studies Association.


  • 2014 Oral History Association Oral History in a Non-Print Format Award
  • 2012 Outstanding Research and Scholar Award, Kent State University