I am a teacher and scholar of United States history and critical gender and sexuality studies, with broad interests in erotic and intimate life across the life course, “lay” and “expert” social theorizing, geographies of governance and regulation, and economic culture, particularly in the twentieth century. I hold a Ph.D. in American Studies and graduate certificate in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Yale (2018), and am currently a Lecturer on History and Literature at Harvard.
I am at work on my first book, The Business of Sex: A History of Pornography and U.S. Commercial Culture since the 1950s. The book analyzes how, between the 1950s and 1980s, several generations of small- and medium-enterprise owners in the sex text, image, and device industries drew upon the repertoires of postwar business culture and 1960s and 1970s social movements to build the modern adult entertainment industry and, in the process, expand the moral boundaries of the consumer marketplace.
My newest projects join recent efforts to revive the history of aging. I am in the early stages of a book-length project that explores the interplay between changing understandings of sex in old age and the material infrastructures that supported and shaped erotic life for twentieth-century Americans of all ages, including residential architecture and planning, the gendered and racialized organization of labor and leisure, and state investments in health and longevity. I am also co-editing (with Amanda Ciafone and David Serlin) an issue of the Radical History Review on “Critical Histories of Aging and Later Life”.
In addition to my individual research, I have been a contributor to two public history projects that seek to leverage digital platforms to stimulate new conversations about the past. I am currently an editor at Notches, a collaborative and international history of sexuality blog. Between 2017 and 2019, I was a producer for Sexing History, a podcast that examines how the history of sexuality shapes our present.