Prough earned a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from Duke University in 2006. She joined the Valpo faculty in 2005 and previously served as interim dean of Christ College in 2017–2018.
In her role as dean, Jennifer Prough is responsible for the strategic leadership, management, and guidance of Christ College. As a Christ College and Valparaiso alumna, Prough is deeply devoted to the transformative experience that a cohort-based, interdisciplinary honors education, delivered by a dedicated faculty, can provide. In recent years, Christ College has built momentum a curriculum revision process, ensuring students hailing from all colleges are primed for success in Christ College, their individual majors, both at Valpo and beyond. Moreover, Prough aims to continue the work of developing a high caliber and more diverse community in the college.
Prough’s research and teaching interests focus on issues of representation and the ways that cultural meanings are produced, managed, experienced, and interpreted through mass culture. Her first book entitled Straight from the Heart: Gender, Intimacy, and the Cultural Production of Shōjo Manga (University of Hawai’i Press, 2011) examines the production of Girls’ comics in Japan through ethnographic analysis. Her forthcoming book Kyoto Revisited: Heritage Tourism in Contemporary Kyoto (spring 2022) seeks to understand the ways that tradition, history, and culture are produced, packaged, promoted, and consumed in the Kyoto tourist industry.
In addition to teaching in the First Year Program and Interpretation: Self, Culture, Society, Prough has taught seminars on: urban Japan; Japanese visual culture; anime and ecology; tourism; living together with difference; and what robots teach us about being human. Throughout her time at Valpo she has also been involved with the Chinese and Japanese Studies program.
Jennifer Prough is married to CC alumnus Andrew Richter Ph.D. ’90, professor of physics and astronomy and chair of the Physics and Astronomy Department at Valpo.