Jill Watts is a Professor of History at California State University San Marcos where she teaches United States Social and Cultural History, African American History, Film History, and Digital History. In addition to her forthcoming book The Black Cabinet: The Untold Story of African Americans and Politics During the Age of Roosevelt, Professor Watts is also the author of Hattie McDaniel: Black Ambition, White Hollywood; Mae West: An Icon in Black and White; and God, Harlem USA: The Father Divine Story. Her books on Hattie McDaniel and Father Divine have been optioned for film.
Professor Watts was raised in her father’s hometown of San Diego and grew up in the neighborhoods of Emerald Hills and Southeast San Diego. After earning a B.A. in History from UCSD, Professor Watts received an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California Los Angeles. Before returning to San Diego County to teach at California State University San Marcos, she taught at UCLA, Weber State University, Cornell University, and Santa Monica College. She was a fellow at Cornell University’s Society for the Humanities and, in 2017, was selected as a Brakebill Distinguished Professor at California State University San Marcos. She has served as the History Department’s Chair, the coordinator of the History Graduate Program, the program director of Film Studies, and the co-director of Women’s Studies.
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