George Chauncey

Samuel Knight Professor of History & American Studies

Office: HGS 239 | HGS 2684
Phone: (203) 432-1364 | (203) 436-8100
Email: george.chauncey@yale.edu

George Chauncey joined the came to Yale in the fall of 2006 as professor in the fields of twentieth-century US history and lesbian and gay history.  He is also the co-director of the Yale Research Initiative on the History of Sexualities and has served as the chair of  LGBT Studies at Yale.  He received his doctorate in history from Yale in 1989 and then taught for fifteen years at the University of Chicago, as well as for shorter stints at Rutgers, New York University, and the École Normale Supérieure in Paris.  In 2012 he was awarded the Sidonie Miskimin Clauss Prize for Teaching Excellence in the Humanities. 

Professor Chauncey is best known for his book Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940 (Basic, 1994), which won the Organization of American Historians' Merle Curti Prize for the best book in social history and Frederick Jackson Turner Prize for the best first book in any field of history, as well as the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and Lambda Literary Award. He has also published Why Marriage? The History Shaping Today's Debate over Gay Equality (Basic, 2004) and co-edited three books and special journal issues. He is currently completing another book, The Strange Career of the Closet: Gay Culture, Consciousness, and Politics from the Second World War to the Gay Liberation Era.

Since 1993, George Chauncey has participated as a historian in approximately twenty gay rights cases, including Lawrence v. Texas (2003), for which he organized and was lead author of the Historians' Amicus Brief, and Romer v. Evans (1996) and Perry v. Schwarzenegger (the on-going challenge to California’s Proposition 8), in which he testified at trial as an expert witness on the history of antigay discrimination.  He has also served as historical consultant to numerous public history projects, including exhibitions and lecture series at the New York Public Library, Chicago History Museum, and New-York Historical Society, and several documentary films.  He is the recipient of fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the National Humanities Center, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis, and the Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library.