Peggy Tally

Margaret (Peggy) Tally joined SUNY Empire State College in 1993 as an assistant professor and was promoted to associate professor in 2000. She has taught a range of undergraduate and graduate programs in social science, including time spent teaching and coordinating curriculum for the college’s Verizon Corporate College Program. In 2002, Tally was awarded SUNY Empire State College’s Susan H. Turben Award for Excellence in Scholarship, the college’s highest scholarship award. 2018 she received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. She achieved the rank of full professor in 2007. 

Tally earned her Ph.D. in Sociology and M.A. in Philosophy, both from the New School for Social Research, and has a B.A. in government from Cornell University.

Dr. Tally was named a 2020 Distinguished Teaching Professor by the State University of New York Board of Trustees. She is SUNY Empire’s sixth faculty member to hold this title. 

SUNY’s Distinguished Teaching Professorship recognizes instructional faculty for outstanding teaching competence. At SUNY Empire, Tally teaches social and public policy to graduate students throughout New York State, including many first-generation college graduates furthering their careers in public service. 

“Dr. Tally is an exceptional educator, serving as a role model not only for her students but for her peers as well,” said SUNY Empire State College President Jim Malatras. “She embodies the tenets of a SUNY Empire education, helping to open doors and push her students to achieve their fullest potential. I congratulate her on this well-deserved honor.”

"Everyone in the School for Graduate Studies is overjoyed with the Board of Trustees’ decision to confer on Dr. Tally the rank of Distinguished Teaching Professor,” said Nathan Gonyea, Dean of the School for Graduate Studies. “Dr. Tally has long been a model of supportive, rigorous teaching and advising. She is beloved by her students for encouraging them to stretch beyond their current abilities to achieve new heights of intellectual achievement, and by her colleagues for her thoughtful and supportive mentorship. She is wise, collaborative, generous of time and expertise, and humble – in short, the epitome of a distinguished faculty member.” 

“Dr. Tally exhibits creativity and strong organizational abilities in every aspect of her work,” said SUNY Empire Provost Meg Benke, who has worked with Tally since 1993. “She has energy and commitment to teaching and scholarly leadership. In working with students with the highest need of support at the start of her career until now working with predominantly graduate students, Dr. Tally is one of our most significant teacher leaders and role models.” 

“I’m honored to receive this award, and I want to thank all the talented graduate students who’ve inspired me, and my graduate colleagues who support me,” said Tally. “I also wish to thank my dean and associate dean in the School for Graduate Studies, our provost and president at Empire State College, and our graduate professional staff, who help all of us serve our students every day. I view this as a collective award, representing how we have all worked to build a positive learning environment in higher education for our diverse and deeply deserving students.” 

“Dr. Tally takes the best of what can be done in the classroom and scales it to meet the needs and expectations of today’s students,” said Emily Burns Perryman, a graduate student in Social and Public Policy. “She has always been incredibly supportive, helpful, responsive and nurturing, while pushing each and every one of us to do our best.” 


  • B.A. in Government from Cornell University
  • M.A. in Philosophy from New School for Social Research
  • Ph.D. in Sociology from New School for Social Research


  • Distinguished Teaching Professor, SUNY Board of Trustees - 2020-11-09
  • SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Teaching, Empire State College - 2018-11-09
  • Empire State College Susan H. Turben Award for Excellence in Scholarship - 2002-11-09
  • Dean’s Teaching Fellowship, Eugene Lang College - 1991-11-09


  • The Limits of #Metoo in Hollywood: Gender and Power in the Entertainment Industry

    In October 2017, actress Alyssa Milano sparked the #MeToo movement. The ensuing protests quickly encompassed far more than Harvey Weinstein and the entertainment industry. They expressed women's outrage at male workplace behavior in every sector and social class and even helped elect a new generation of women leaders in 2018. But what has been the effect of #MeToo in the entertainment industry itself? This book traces the movement's influence on the stories being told, changing representations of women's lives and bodies, and the slow changes among the producers who shape the stories. Analyzing a broad set of TV and film genres--including crime, legal and medical dramas, comedies, horror, and reality programming--this book covers the complex ways that media respond to social movements: They sometimes give voice to brand-new or previously silenced stories, but as often make facile references that can blunt the potential for change, or even fuel cultural backlash.

    McFarland and Company, Inc.,  2021



  • The Rise of the Anti-Heroine in TV's Third Golden Age

    This volume offers a stimulating perspective on the status of representations of a new kind of female character who emerged on the scene on US television in the mid-2000s, that of the anti-heroine. This new figure rivaled her earlier counterpart, the anti-hero, in complexity and was multi-layered and morally flawed. Looking at the cable channels Showtime and HBO, as well as Netflix and ABC Television, this volume examines a range of recent television women and shows, including Homeland, Weeds, Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder, Veep, Girls, and Orange is the New Black as well as a host of other nighttime programs to demonstrate just how dominant the anti-heroine has become on US television. It examines how the figure has arisen within the larger context of the turn towards Quality Television, which has itself been viewed as part of the post-network era or the Third Golden Age of television, where new forms of broadcast delivery have created a marketing incentive to deliver more compelling characters to niche audiences. The book explores the historical circumstances and the industrial context in which the anti-heroine became the dominant leading female character on nighttime television, the book offers a fascinating study that sits at the intersection of gender studies and television. As such, it will appeal to popular culture, sociology, and cultural and media studies scholars.

    Cambridge Scholars Publishing 2016


  • Politics and Politicians in Contemporary Us Television: Washington as Fiction. (co-edited with Betty Kaklamanidou)

    Bringing together well-established scholars of media, political science, sociology, and film to investigate the representation of Washington politics on U.S. television from the mid-2000s to the present, this volume offers stimulating perspectives on the status of representations of contemporary US politics, the role of government and the machinations and intrigue often associated with politicians and governmental institutions. The authors help to locate these representations both in the context of the history of earlier television shows that portrayed the political culture of Washington and within the current political culture transpiring both inside and outside of "The Beltway." With close attention to issues of gender, race, and class and offering studies from contemporary quality television, including popular programs such as The West WingVeepHouse of CardsThe AmericansThe Good Wife , and Scandal, the authors examine how televisual representations reveal changing attitudes towards Washington culture, shedding light on the role of the media in framing the public's changing perception of politics and politicians. Exploring the new era in which television finds itself, with new production practices and the possible emergence of a new 'political genre', Politics and Politicians in Contemporary U.S. Television also considers the 'humanizing' of political characters on television, asking what that representation of politicians as human beings says about the national political culture. A fascinating study at the intersection of politics and television, this book will appeal to popular culture, sociology, and cultural and media studies scholars.

    Routledge, 2016

  • Millennials on Film and Television: Essays on the Politics of Popular Culture

    Betty Kaklamanidou (Editor)  Margaret Tally (Editor) 

    The millennials, the largest generation in America's history, may resist a simple definition; nevertheless, they share several common traits and an ever-increasing presence on film and television. This collection of new essays first situates the millennials within their historical context. Then it examines specific characteristics--as addressed in the television and film narratives about them, including their relationship to work, technology, family, religion, romance, and history. Drawing on a multiplicity of theoretical frameworks, the essays show how these cultural products work at several levels and, through a variety of means, to shape our understanding of the millennials.

    McFarland and Company, Inc., 2014

  • Hbo's Girls: Questions of Gender, Politics, and Millennial Angst

    Betty Kaklamanidou (Editor)  Margaret Tally (Editor)

    Young women today have achieved as much as, and in many cases far exceeded, males in both educational and occupational terms. While this presents many opportunities, it creates confusion regarding re-negotiating traditional gender roles. The fictional representation of young women in recent film and television shows demonstrates how these tensions, created by the specific sociopolitical climate of the post-recession era, are being worked out. One typical television show focused on intelligent young women caught up in these contradictions is Girls. The show explores the lives of four female friends living in Brooklyn two years after graduation as they try to support themselves with low-paying jobs and deal with various struggles around relationships, careers, and friendships. The HBO half-hour sitcom, created, written, and starring Lena Dunham, premiered on April 15th, 2012, after receiving a flood of initial buzz and criticism, both positive and negative. This collection is the first to discuss this innovative series's cultural, political, and social implications. The contributors examine Girls through various lenses: sexual, racial, and gender relationships between the male and female characters, as well as friendships between the young women. This variety of perspectives explains why Girls has had the profound cultural impact it has made in the short time it has been on the air.

    Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014

  • Television Culture and Women's Lives: "Thirtysomething" and the Contradictions of Gender 

    Margaret J. Heide

    Contemporary cultural theory, feminist criticism, and ethnography converge in this provocative study of the construction of meaning in mass culture. Television Culture and Women's Lives explores the complex relationship between the gender conflicts played out in the scripts of the popular television show Thirtysomething and the real-life conflicts experienced by "baby-boomer" women viewers.

    Women viewers often reinterpreted the program's conservative view on gender roles, seeing it instead as a protest against real dilemmas women face as they try to integrate career and family priorities. Heide's study confirms women viewers' close identifications with thirtysomething characters and positions audience responses against the backdrop of changes in women's lives in the 1980s and 1990s. Television Culture and Women's Lives accessibly treats fascinating issues related to cultural criticism, the relationship between mass media and audiences, and the struggles faced by women in late twentieth-century America.

    University of Pennsylvania Press (March 1, 1995)