Profile: Whitney Strub

Associate Professor and Director of Women's and Gender Studies

Department of History, Graduate Program in American Studies, Program in Women's and Gender Studies

Research Interests: Modern U.S. history; history of sexuality; LGBT/Q history; film; legal, political, cultural history.

Whitney Strub received his doctorate in U.S. history from UCLA, and taught at the University of Miami, California State University-Fullerton, UCLA, and Temple University before joining the Federated Department at Rutgers, where he is associate professor.

His first book, Perversion for Profit: The Politics of Pornography and the Rise of the New Right, was published in 2011 by Columbia University Press. It charts the use of antipornography campaigns as organizing devices in the mobilization of the modern conservative movement and its “family values” agenda, and also shows the failure of modern liberalism to adequately respond to reactionary sexual politics. His second book, Obscenity Rules: Roth v. United States and the Long Struggle over Sexual Expression (University Press of Kansas, 2013) charts the history of obscenity doctrine in patrolling the boundaries of sexual citizenship from the colonial era through the twenty-first century, but especially through the still-binding 1957 Supreme Court case Roth v. U.S., which established that obscene materials are not protected by the First Amendment.

Strub’s articles, covering such topics as censorship and race in Memphis, heteronormativity and obscenity prosecutions in Los Angeles, the filmmaker Pat Rocco's gay erotic softcore films of the late 1960s, and the fault lines of modern feminist activism, have also appeared in such venues as the Journal of the History of Sexuality, Journal of Women’s History, American Quarterly,Radical History ReviewJournal of Social History,, Salon, and Temple of Schlock

Teaching in History, American Studies, Women’s & Gender Studies, and LGBT Studies, Strub’s courses frequently focus on matters of gender, sexuality, law, culture, film, and politics. He also co-directs the Queer Newark Oral History Project.

  • Associated Programs

    Affiliate faculty member, American Studies and Women’s & Gender Studies Programs

  • Courses Taught

    American Legal History (two-semester survey)
    Introduction to LGBT Studies

    Visions of the City in American Cinema

    Senior Seminar: Gender and Sexuality in American History


    Radical Film History

    Law and Culture in American History
    Sexuality and American Culture (graduate seminar, History and American Studies)

  • Education

    Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, 2006     

  • Publications


    Perversion for Profit: The Politics of Pornography and the Rise of the New Right (Columbia University Press, 2011; paperback, August 2013)

    Obscenity Rules: Roth v. United States and the Long Struggle over Sexual Expression (University Press of Kansas, September 2013)

    Porno Chic and the Sex Wars: American Sexual Representation in the 1970s, co-edited with Carolyn Bronstein (University of Massachusetts Press, in press)

    Selected Articles/Chapters

    “The Homophile is a Sexual Being: Wallace de Ortega Maxey’s Pulp Theology and Gay Activism,” Journal of the History of Sexuality 25.2 (2016): 323-353

    “The Baraka Film Archive: The Lost, Unmade, and Unseen Film Work of LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka,” Black Camera 7.1 (2015): 273-287

    “Indexing Desire: The Gay Male Pornographic Video Collection as Affective Archive,” Out of the Closet, Into the Archive: Researching Sexual Histories, eds. Amy Stone and Jaime Cantrell (SUNY Press, 2015), 125-147

    “Queer Smut, Queer Rights,” New Views on Pornography: Sexuality, Politics, and the Law, eds. Lynn Comella and Shira Tarrant (Praeger, 2015), 147-164

     “A Community's Response to the Problem of Invisibility: The Queer Newark Oral History Project,” QED 1.2 (2014): 1-14 (co-written with Darnell Moore, Beryl Satter, and Timothy Stewart-Winter)

    “The New Right’s Antigay Backlash,” Understanding and Teaching U.S. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History, eds. Leila Rupp and Susan Freeman (University of Wisconsin Press, 2014), 265-278

    “Historicizing Pulp: Gay Male Pulp and the Narrativization of Queer Cultural History,” in Drewey Wayne Gunn and Jaime Harker, eds., 1960s Gay Paperback Originals: The Misplaced Heritage (University of Massachusetts Press, 2013), 43-77

    “Challenging the Anti-Pleasure League: Physique Pictorial and the Cultivation of Gay Politics,” Activism in Modern United States Print Culture, ed. Rachel Schreiber,  (Ashgate, 2013), 161-77

    “Slouching Towards Roth: Obscenity and the Supreme Court, 1945-1957,” Journal of Supreme Court History 38.2 (2013): 121-138

    “Mondo Rocco: Mapping Gay Los Angeles Sexual Geography in the Late-1960s Films of Pat Rocco,” Radical History Review 113 (Spring 2012): 13-34

    “Lavender, Menaced: Lesbianism, Obscenity Law, and the Feminist Antipornography Movement,” Journal of Women’s History 22.2 (June 2010): 83-107

    “The Clearly Obscene and the Queerly Obscene: Heteronormativity and Obscenity in Cold War Los Angeles,” American Quarterly 60.2 (June 2008): 373-398

    “Black and White and Banned All Over: Race, Censorship and Obscenity in Postwar Memphis,” Journal of Social History 40.3 (Spring 2007): 685-715

    “Perversion for Profit: Citizens for Decent Literature and the Arousal of an Antiporn Public in the 1960s,” Journal of the History of Sexuality 15.2 (May 2006): 258-291


  • Awards

    David J. Langum, Sr. Prize in American Legal History or Biography, 2014 (for Obscenity Rules)

    Audre Lorde Prize, American Historical Association Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender History, 2010 (for “outstanding article on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, and/or queer history published in English in the previous two years”)

    Mary Lily Research Grant, Duke University, April 2010

    Phil Zwickler Memorial Research Grant, Cornell University, August 2009

    Martin Duberman Visiting Fellowship, New York Public Library, July 2009

    Mary Kelley Prize, New England American Studies Association, 2007 (for best paper presented by non-tenure track scholar at annual NEASA conference)

    University of California Regents, Regent’s Fellowship, 2001-2006

    Historical Society of Southern California, Summer Research Fellowship, 2005

    Princeton University Library Research Fellowship, 2005

    Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library and Archives, Moody Fellowship, 2004

  • Expertise

    Modern U.S. history; history of sexuality; LGBT/Q history; film; legal, political, cultural history.

  • Files