Research Interests

  • Twentieth-century U.S. history

  • Political and legal history

  • History of the carceral state

  • History of sexuality, LGBTQ studies, and queer theory

  • Modern transatlantic history

Book Projects

Project 1: Bad Queers: LGBT Americans and the Carceral State, 1948–2003

My first book project examines the invention of a criminal underclass of queer Americans—LGBT people who engaged in particularly stigmatized forms of gender and sexual expression. Between 1948 and 2003, social activists and state officials created a new legal system of gender and sexual hierarchy that legalized a category of “good” LGBT subjects while still criminalizing many other less good ones. I explore why LGBT political and legal historians have not foregrounded the experiences of bad queers in their narratives about this period, and show how my focus on bad queers sheds new light on the trajectory of LGBT rights and the expansion of the criminal justice system.


“The Invention of Bad Gay Sex: Texas and the Creation of a Criminal Underclass of Gay People,” Journal of the History of Sexuality 26, no. 1 (2017): 53–87.

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“The Creation of the Modern Sex Offender,” in The War on Sex, ed. David Halperin and Trevor Hoppe (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2017), 247–267.

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