George Chauncey is the Samuel Knight Professor of History and American Studies and has served in the past as chair of the History Department and the LGBT Studies Committee at Yale.  He is the author of Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940 and Why Marriage? The History Shaping Today’s Debate over Gay Equality, the co-editor of Hidden From History: Reclaiming the Gay and Lesbian Past, and numerous articles on the history of gender and sexuality. He is currently nearing completion of another book, The Strange Career of the Closet: Gay Culture, Consciousness, and Politics from the Second World War to the Gay Liberation Era.  He received his doctorate in history from Yale and then taught for fifteen years at the University of Chicago before joining the Yale faculty in 2006.  While at Chicago, he co-chaired a year-long Mellon Sawyer Seminar on Sexual Identities and Identity Politics in Transnational Perspective (selected papers were published in 1999 as a special issue of GLQ: Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies).  He also chaired The Future of the Queer Past, a four-day transnational history conference held at Chicago in September 2000 that drew together 200 historians from a dozen countries to present their work on some fifty panels.  Since 1993, he has participated as an expert witness in more than 25 gay rights cases, including Lawrence v. Texas (2003) and the two same-sex marriage cases the Supreme Court decided in summer 2013.


Joanne Meyerowitz is Arthur Unobskey Professor of History and American Studies and has served in the past as chair of the American Studies Program and the  LGBT Studies Committee at Yale. She is the author of How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States and Women Adrift: Independent Wage Earners in Chicago, 1880-1930, and the editor of History and September 11th and Not June Cleaver: Women and Gender in Postwar America, 1945-1960. Before joining the faculty at Yale in 2004, she earned her doctorate at Stanford, taught at the University of Cincinnati and Indiana University, and edited the Journal of American History, the leading scholarly journal in U.S. history.  From 2000-2004, she served on the Board of Trustees of the Kinsey Institute for Research on Sex, Gender, and Reproduction.  Her articles on gender and sexuality have appeared in the American Historical Review, Journal of American History, Journal of Women’s History, Gender and History, GLQ: A Journal of Gay and Lesbian Studies, and other publications.   Recent essays include “The Liberal 1950s? Reinterpreting Postwar U.S. Sexual Culture,” in Karen Hagemann and Sonya Michel, eds., Gender and the Long Postwar (2014), “‘How Common Culture Shapes the Separate Lives’:  Sexuality, Race, and Mid-Twentieth-Century Social Constructionist Thought,” Journal of American History (2010); and “Transnational Sex and U.S. History,” American Historical Review (2009).

Faculty Affiliates

Carolyn J. Dean, Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of History, is an intellectual and cultural historian of modern Europe, with a particular emphasis on France. She has written on the history of sexuality in interwar Europe and on historical method related to gender studies and queer theory. She is the author of several books, including Sexuality and Modern Western Culture and The Frail Social Body: Pornography, Homosexuality and Other Fantasies in Interwar France.

Crystal Feimster, Associate Professor of American Studies and African American Studies, is a scholar of nineteenth- and twentieth-century US women’s history and African American history who studies racial and sexual violence, social movements, war, law, and citizenship. She is particularly interested in how sexuality informs racial and gender politics in the American South. She is the author of Southern Horrors: Women and the Politics of Rape and Lynching. She is currently writing a book about rape and the American Civil War.

Greta LaFluer is Assistant Professor of American Studies. Her research and teaching focus on eighteenth-century North American literary and cultural studies, the history of science, the history and historiography of sexuality, and queer studies.  She is currently completing a book that brings together the history of sexuality and early environmental studies in the eighteenth-century Atlantic world. 

Kathryn Lofton is Professor of American Studies, Religious Studies, and History.  A historian of religion, she has written on late nineteenth-century evangelicalism, early twentieth-century modernism, the history of religious studies, transnational celebrity, and the relationship between religion and consumerism. She received the 2006-2007 LGBT Religious History Award for her essay, “Queering Fundamentalism: John Balcom Shaw and the Sexuality of a Protestant Orthodoxy,” Journal of the History of Sexuality (2008). Her essay, “ ‘Everything Queer?” will conclude a forthcoming collection, Queer Christianities: Lived Religion in Transgressive Forms, edited by Kathleen Talvacchia, Mark Larrimore, and Michael Pettinger. During her time at Yale, she has served as chair of the LGBT Studies committee as well as the Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Program.

Postdoctoral Fellows

The YRIHS is delighted to welcome Shaun Halper to Yale.  A Postdoctoral Associate in Judaic Studies, his research concerns the history of Jewish homosexual thought and activism, and he will participate in the activities of the Initiative. 

Shaun Jacob Halper is the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Postdoctoral Associate in Judaic Studies and Lecturer in History at Yale. He recently completed his PhD in History at the University of California, Berkeley, where he specialized in the history of the Jews in modern Europe and the state of Israel, as well as the history of sexuality. His dissertation, “Mordechai Langer (1897-1943) and the Birth of the Modern Jewish Homosexual,” is a study of the first distinctly Jewish and Zionist homosexuality formulated by Mordechai Langer in the 1920s in response to the anti-semitism that divided the German homosexual rights movement. Drawing on a wide-range of pre-modern Jewish sources as well as ideas and forms of argument used by contemporary homosexual authors, Langer outlined a history of male-male love among Jews since antiquity, he represented the male homosexual experience in Hebrew poetry, and he reconciled Judaism with homosexual­ity for the first time. Shaun began studying Jewish history and the history of sexuality at Columbia University, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude.